Instructor Paul Hegarty attributes the course popularity to the appeal of Apple products and the instant gratification of creating apps for mobile devices. "There's something about developing for the iOS platform that's really exciting and fun because it runs on devices that everybody has in their purses or pockets, " he said.The offering includes the same course lectures and slides that Stanford students experience, but without the Stanford credit or access to instructors. Still, for burgeoning developers, iTunes U is an excellent opportunity to get world-class instruction for free.
"There aren't a lot of courses you can take that when you get to the end, to your final project, you can take it out of your pocket and show your friends."
Hegarty said that his students develop a wide array of applications for the iPhone and iPad, including many that improve or automate their daily lives. Those include apps that manage laboratory experiments, keep track of food choices at campus eateries, or access the works of Shakespeare. Games and social networking applications are also popular.
The university notes that the two Stanford prerequisite courses, Programming Methodology [Link] and Programming Abstractions [Link], are also available on iTunes U.
iPhone Application Development is available free on iTunes [Link].