On its surface, Swift Playgrounds, the “learn to code” iPad app that Apple launched today, is as kid-friendly as programming gets. The app features adorable monsters, brightly colored digital worlds, and lessons on the fundamentals of commands and loops.
But the app is much more than that. Playgrounds is also a robust sandbox for professional developers, with built-in capabilities, like access to iPad’s hardware, designed to appeal to grown-ups.
We take a look at Apple’s competitors in this crowded education space, and ask whether Playgrounds has a shot at convincing developers to embrace the Swift programming language that Apple introduced in 2014.