Swift Playgrounds Will Soon Be Able to Program and Control Robots, Drones, and Toys

Apple today announced that Swift Playgrounds, its iPad app aimed at making learning how to code interactive and fun, will be able to program and control robots, drones, musical instruments, and other toys when the latest version of the app is released at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

swift playgrounds children playing robots
Swift Playgrounds version 1.5, set to be released on June 5, will support several popular Bluetooth-enabled devices, including LEGO's MINDSTORMS Education EV3 robot, Sphero's SPRK+ robotic ball and BB-8 droid, UBTECH's Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, Dash by Wonder Workshop, Parrot drones, and other toys.

“More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

Apple invited a small group of reporters to its Cupertino headquarters to demo the functionality, including Engadget, which put together a brief video showing off the programmable toys in action.


Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge to begin with. Kids and adults alike learn how to code by completing a collection of coding lessons and challenges, and the ability to program and control robots, drones, and musical instruments will make it all the more fun. The app uses Apple's own programming language, Swift.

Swift Playgrounds is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, and iPad mini 2 or newer.

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Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
91 months ago
But all MacRumors readers care about is whether or not you'll be able to use Swift Playgrounds to control the production of new Macs.



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Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mikethemartian Avatar
91 months ago
Does anyone remember the Logo programming language?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
91 months ago
Does anyone remember the Logo programming language?
Yes, did that on my Commodore 64. Swift (from the screen shots) reminded me a lot of Logo.
I do! :)
I used it at school 25 years ago, it was funny and helped a lot learning about simple programming patterns.
Yes, that was what I first learned on in 3rd grade on an Apple IIe. I did it faster and quicker than my peers so the teacher didn't let me do any more thinking I'd be a distraction. So she put me on a reading course on the computer. Not as much fun.
I managed to dig this out of my closet. It predates me by over a decade, but I remember it fondly:



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Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
91 months ago
Something that would get huge cheers from the crowd on Monday would be Xcode for iPad. I wonder if that will ever happen.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Appleaker Avatar
91 months ago
Its really cool to have a 1st party Apple app to do this.
Again, it seems like they could be making time for certain other announcements at WWDC.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
91 months ago
Sounds like this got cut from the presentation at the last minute because they kept going over on time—that's exciting news! My daughter is still a toddler but I'm definitely going to teach her to code and apps like this are going to be super useful. I think in the future knowing a programming language will just be like knowing any other language and maybe even necessary for most jobs.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)