Back in 2016, Apple released Swift Playgrounds, an app to introduce basic programming concepts to young developers, allowing them to hone their craft in the Swift programming language and build content for the App Store. Over the years, the firm has been enhancing this concept iteratively with each new version of Swift Playgrounds. Now, Apple has started testing Swift Playgrounds 4 privately with some developers, and details have started to leak.
According to 9to5Mac, Swift Playgrounds 4 has made its way to Testflight and select developers are being issued invites provided that they accept non-disclosure agreements (NDA). Naturally, this has not kept leaks at bay and information about the update has started seeping out. The app description for Swift Playgrounds 4 currently reads as follows:
Swift Playgrounds is a great way to learn to code right on a Mac or iPad. With Swift Playgrounds 4, coming later this year, users will be able to create the visual design of an app with SwiftUI. App projects can be opened and edited in Swift Playgrounds or in Xcode, and when they’re ready, users can build a real app and submit it directly to the App Store right from their iPad.
A major plus point in this release of Swift Playgrounds is that developers will be able to publish their apps directly to the App Store via the app instead of relying on Xcode. This essentially means that you can publish apps directly from your iPad instead of relying on a Mac. Developers also have the option to create custom icons for their store listing.
In terms of development-related features, live editing enables users to see their changes being implemented in real-time and are also reflected to other developers if you share your project via iCloud Drive. Apps can be viewed in full screen, and you can also switch between Xcode and Playgrounds.
One caveat highlighted in the leak is that some of the app's capabilities seem to be locked behind iPadOS 15.2, which is currently only available as a beta. This means that we could see Swift Playgrounds 4 arrive late this year - as implied in the store description - or sometime early next year, to align with the general release of the OS version.