Apple Makes an Education Push Of Its Own

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Mobile, iOS with 36 Comments

Apple Makes an Education Push Of Its Own

With both Microsoft and Google announcing major new education initiatives in recent weeks, Apple today tossed its hat into the ring as well. The consumer electronics giant is now offering a full-year mobile app development curriculum for high school and community college students.

“Apple today launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy,” the Apple announcement notes. “The curriculum is available as a free download today from Apple’s iBooks Store.”

Dubbed App Development with Swift, the offering is described as a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.

And the curriculum has already been adopted by six community colleges systems—the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College, and San Mateo Community College District—which together serve a base of over 500,000 students, Apple says. Select high schools across the United States will also begin teaching the App Development with Swift curriculum starting this fall.

Apple is in a unique position here: Swift is easier to learn than most other popular software development languages, and the firm has a tool called Swift Playgrounds that makes the language even more approachable for children and beginners.

But this course also requires Macs, which could be a stumbling block in an age in which educational institutions are increasingly turning to less expensive devices like Chromebooks.


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Comments (36)

36 responses to “Apple Makes an Education Push Of Its Own”

  1. red.radar

    Is there a technical reason you have to develop IOS apps on Mac OS? Seems like to broaden the appeal here they need to make it so you develop apps from the web or on a PC at the least.

  2. ButhainahFahimah

    I think apple and Microsoft both are doing a great job for education and this effort is extremely outstanding I am glad to read this post. The app development curriculum is a great way to educate students and there is a lot demand of distance learning degrees and online education is a trend and now most popular among the people.

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  17. lordbaal1

    And need a $1,000 computer for it.

  18. nbplopes

    For me, Tim Cook is not the man for the job. His strategy is a very profitable one but also looks very fragile. Unless there is something hidden from everyone, out of some X files episode, the bottom line is that the only thing that is preparing for the future is a massive Apple monument. This when SJ left Apple with what it look liked to be the keys for the near future.

    The Education market is a very complex one. Without attacking the challenges of the education market at its core Apple or Microsoft will not stand a chance IMHO. Apple iOS App Market is rich in educational apps, it is lovely, developer got on board, they solved problem 1. But Apple does not seam to be doing its part in the next phase.

    1) The education of student cannot be confined to one ecosystem. Meaning that the apps need to be able to run across ecosystems (iOS, Android, Windows). The same for any other kind of content such books (iBook). Apple is doing very little to make this easy. As PWA mature, developers will switch and Apple will be pressed to support PWAs in iOS. If the company resists it will be known for that, if it does not resist, than it can be in a position to influence and improve. Let's see what kind of CEO TC really is when he is forced to deal with this.

    2) We have been using touch for almost a decade. By now its quite certain that a mouse and keyboard is still the best way to approach the computer for certain tasks that require fine grain control of the screen, such as editing text, spreadsheets and so on. If the iPad is to be one personal device for education than better do this now than later.

    3) with 2) supporting iPads between $300 and $500, not just Pro.

    The problem for business in Education is how to make a successful business model around devices and software with this constraints? Google seams to be there, but I don't see any financial business reports from them in this sector. On the other hand the price of the device is the main barrier of entry and for that matter Google is pulling a MS by offloading the lower margin part of the business to hardware OEM keeping the higher margin part with their Cloud. Apple "cannot" do this.

    So the only option for Apple is to target market share growth. But Apple has never been a company whose business model is built with a focus on market share. Case in case, that even with a small market share in the PC, it sill creates more barriers for entry by rising prices.

    So don't know how serious is Apple with the present and future of Education. The more I look at it the more I think that the company is to much interested for now. The iPad looked like it was the thing, but Apple seams to have failed to solve fast the challenges of using an iPad in the classroom. Its not just about the content, never was. If that was the case, Windows would still be king across the board has it was until 2009 since it terms of software it had the most diversified and dense catalog in the market back than.

    MS is still the champion in that market. But signals are that institutions are willing to switch to another system offering easier management capabilities and better performance for the low price. I think MS is preping ARM for that purpose too.

  19. Angusmatheson

    Apple was the computer in ththe classroom during my childhood in the 80s. I don't see how that slowed the growth of the PC. Then later Apple really decreased in the classroom, replaced by PCs. The fact that kids in the late 90s didn't use Apple products in school didn't seem to stop them from buying iPods then iPhones & Android phones after. Youth has no trouble changing to the newest technology. It is the older user who clings to the familiar. We all know the 60 year old who clings to windows 7 because they know how to use it. I think too much is made of winning the education market. It is embarrassing to everyone else how much better Google's offering are. And the idea of using iPads in the classroom was ridiculous - which should have been obvious to everyone (I talking to you LA school district). But who wins education will not shape who wins the next technological evolution.

  20. Michael Rivers

    This is exactly what was missing from Google's and Microsoft's education "pushes": programming. You can't really learn to program from a machine that can only run "apps" from a walled garden. You need a real damn computer.

  21. Waethorn

    Swift is just okay. Doesn't beat the simplicity of Scratch though.

  22. CaedenV


    How about the ability to have a school acct to register/manage all our devices instead of needing 1 acct for every 10 devices! Without spending a bunch of money we don't have and won't spend on the app store!


      In reply to CaedenV:

      They already do and it's existed for a few years - look up Mobile Device Management and the Volume Purchase Plan for Education. If you're using an AppleID on ten devices and installing apps then you're committing software piracy. You need to pay for each copy of the app when installed to 'multi-user' devices (ie. shared in a school). AppleIDs are purely for personal use, ie. the only user of the devices is one person.

  23. dcdevito

    Swift is such a nice language, Apple's only misstep is not making it available on Windows. But iOS's dominance allows that to happen I guess.

    • danmac

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Technically swift and LLVM are open source, so anyone can bring it to Windows, and Microsoft could even include it in Visual Studio.

      The only thing that requires a Mac is Xcode and the iOS apis, which I think would be a nail in the head of Apple, because most of the people buying Macs now that creatives are leaving are iOS developers.

      Edit: I did a lookup and there is a product called RemObjects Silver that works as a plugin for VS and adds Swift support. I haven't actually tried it yet, but I plan to download it on the weekend and give it a go.

  24. snow.steve22


    Xamarin certainly didn't think so... Neither does MS, I'd guess. The iOS emulator is in beta now and the hardest part to get right is not the UI but rather the hidden restrictions that Apple puts on outside apps (you can do this but not THAT...) It will be a real moving target to get that kind of emulation right.

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    Apple is simply the best, thanks...