Apple announced a new version of its Swift Playgrounds development app at WWDC 2021 in June with major improvements. Although the company has never said when it will be available, Apple is now inviting some developers to try out Swift Playgrounds 4 before the official release of the update.
According to 9to5Mac’s According to sources, Apple has in recent weeks invited developers to join the beta program Swift Playgrounds 4 via TestFlight. Developers must agree to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to gain access to the beta app, which means they cannot publicly share details about Swift Playgrounds 4.
For those unfamiliar, Swift Playgrounds is an Apple app that helps developers and students learn the company’s Swift programming language. Here’s how Apple describes the app:
Swift Playgrounds is a great way to learn to code directly on a Mac or iPad. With Swift Playgrounds 4 coming later this year, users will be able to create a visual application design with SwiftUI. Application projects can be opened and edited in Swift Playgrounds or Xcode, and when ready, users can create the right app and send it directly to the App Store directly from their iPad.
This year, Apple will finally allow developers to build and submit their Swift Playgrounds projects directly to the App Store, which is huge for iPad users. One of our sources who has access to Swift Playgrounds 4 shared some screenshots 9to5Mac, which show how developers can submit their projects to the App Store Connect without having to create an application using Xcode on a Mac.
Interestingly, when preparing an application to submit to the App Store Connect, users can quickly create an icon by selecting a color and symbol. A custom icon can also be set from an image file, and the app automatically scales it to the appropriate resolution.
Swift Playgrounds 4 also allows users to view and see changes in real time as they type. Live editing also works when a developer shares a project with someone else via iCloud Drive, so multiple people can work on the same project at the same time. Users can even test the app in full screen, explore SwiftUI controls, search all files in the project, use quick inline code suggestions, and easily switch between Swift Playgrounds and Xcode (or vice versa).
It’s worth noting that, according to our source, some of the app’s features require iPadOS 15.2 – which remains available as a beta for developers. This suggests that Swift Playgrounds 4 could be released alongside iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 later this year or early 2022.
You can download the current version of Swift Playgrounds for free on the App Store. The tool is also available for iPadOS and macOS.
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