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Legos, drones, robots come alive with Swift Playgrounds

Learning to code with Apple's Swift Playgrounds gets even better with real-world toys.

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James Martin

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1 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Apple's updated Swift Playgrounds app will let kids code for robots and drones. 

"It combines coding with robotics in the physical world, which is something that's very different from what we've been able to do before," said Cheryl Thomas, Apple's vice president of software engineering operations.

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2 of 11 James Martin/CNET

The software teaches kids (and adults) how to code for iPhones and iPads. And starting June 5, it will work with third-party drones, robots and electronic musical instruments, too.

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3 of 11 James Martin/CNET

"Education's in our DNA," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of product marketing for apps, markets and services. "Those aren't just words to us. It's really been important to us to figure out how technology can transform teaching and learning in the classroom."

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4 of 11 James Martin/CNET

With some quick programming that took less than an hour to compile, this little robot started dancing to Psy's "Gangnam Style," mimicking motions displayed on the iPad's screen.

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5 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Companies working with Apple on Swift Playgrounds includes Lego with its Mindstorms Education EV3 robots; Parrot's Airborne and Rolling Spider drones; Skoogmusic's Skoog tactile cube that lets kids create music with their hands; Sphero's SPRK+ rolling ball robot; and Wonder Workshop's Dash robot.

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6 of 11 James Martin/CNET

One of Parrot's Rolling Spider drones alongside an iPad running Swift Playgrounds that will be used to make it fly.

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7 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Apple's updated Swift Playgrounds app will let kids code for robots and drones. 

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8 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Swift Playgrounds version 1.5 marks the first time Apple has worked with third-party device makers for the app.

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9 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Some device makers -- like Parrot and Wonder Workshop -- previously made their own experimental activities that Swift Playgrounds users could download from their websites or via Twitter.

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10 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Used by more than a million unique active users, according to Apple, Swift Playgrounds is now available in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and "simplified Chinese."

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11 of 11 James Martin/CNET

Apple first announced Swift Playgrounds at WWDC last year to get kids excited about coding.

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