During Apple's opening keynote address at this week's Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook gave a shout-out to Anvitha Vijay, the youngest ever developer to attend WWDC.
Aged just nine, Vijay applied for and won one of 350 coveted Apple scholarships to attend the conference's coding and programming sessions, which are typically dominated by high school and college students. According to Fortune, the number of women who applied for Apple's scholarship also tripled this year compared to 2015.
A resident of Melbourne, Australia, Vijay was selected for a scholarship after she created an iOS app called Smartkins Animals, which lets young users have fun exploring the sights and sounds of over 100 animals. Prior to WWDC, the app had been downloaded "a few hundred times".
"It was like a dream to be here and meet so many people," Vijay said, speaking to USA Today. "I've just touched the tip of the iceberg in coding, there's so much to learn."
Vijay, who has Indian heritage, began teaching herself coding skills at the age of seven by watching YouTube instructional videos and using her mum's iPhone (users have to be aged at least 13 to hold an iTunes account). She said she was motivated to make an app using Xcode to teach her younger sister how to identify the names of animals.
"I want to be an innovator, to build things that people will love and benefit from," said Vijay as she handed WWDC attendees her business card, on which reads the motto: "I want to make a difference in people's lives through technology."
Vijay has now progressed to Apple's more advanced Swift programming language to develop a new app she's calling GoalsHi, which aims to give students more confidence in the classroom.
During Apple's WWDC keynote, the company revealed a new educational app called "Swift Playgrounds", which aims to introduce users to a new way to learn to code with Swift on an iPad.
The free app, due to be released with iOS 10 this fall, features custom "learn to code" lessons that focus on crafting visual cues around numeric coding data to slowly introduce kids into the world of coding.
All iPad Air and iPad Pro models will be compatible with the app, as well as iPad mini 2-and-later devices.
Top Rated Comments
Amazing to see someone so young with such ambition and drive.
But to be clear it's obvious she is an exceptional child and invited based on her accomplishments. I don't know any 7 year kid intellectually curious or disciplined enough to learn code off of YouTube videos so that at 9 they have a published app. It's great she got this opportunity to expand her talent and skills.
She is just lovely school kid with supportive parents and teachers and a flair for coding. Why pull the race card on a nine-year-old little girl? It's just arrogant and tasteless.