Apple brings AR to Swift Playgrounds programming app for iPad
Apple's iPad programming app now lets students place Swift Playgrounds' virtual characters into the real world.
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Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Apple has brought augmented reality to its Swift Playgrounds app designed to teach kids the basics of programming and maybe even groom them into the next generation of iPhone developers.
The move means kids can incorporate Swift Playgrounds' cartoon characters -- protagonists who follow students' programming instructions -- into their Swift Playgrounds projects. The technology uses Apple's ARKit technology.
Apple announced the move Tuesday at Lane Tech High School in Chicago, where it unveiled a new, more powerful iPad as part of an effort to reclaim clout in the education market. For decades, Apple computers and then iPads were popular learning tools, but in recent years, inexpensive laptops powered by Google's secure and easy-to-manage Chrome OS software have proved very popular in schools.
Helping kids learn is nice, particularly today when there's a broad effort to help kids more with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. But Apple stands to gain, too, as today's students become tomorrow's customers. That's especially true with iPads, the leading product in the once-hot tablet category that's now more notable for declining sales.
Apple undertook a 10-year study called Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow to track its products in schools, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said at the event. It "showed engagement increased exponentially for students and teachers who had access to our products," he said.
Also at Tuesday's event, Cook touted Apple's work Everyone Can Code initiative, which includes classes at its stores to teach programming using Swift Playgrounds.
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