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Apple reveals record developer earnings and updates its Swift Playgrounds coding app

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Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference doesn’t start till next week but the company has already revealed the incredible amount of developer earnings and the expansion of the Swift Playgrounds programming language.

The 28th WWDC kicks off in San Jose next week where Apple will announce the latest software updates for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

It’s the biggest gathering of developers who attend the conference to learn about the latest software features and development opportunities.

And it’s also where Apple has unveiled some of its latest hardware.

Past conferences have seen iPhones and MacBooks announced with rumours suggesting more hardware is in store this year.

Apple announced its global developer community has earned more than $70 billion since 2008 when the App Store was launched.

The App Store is where customers have downloaded billions of the world’s best apps and in the past 12 months alone, downloads have increased by more than 70 per cent.

“People everywhere love apps and our customers are downloading them in record numbers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Seventy billion dollars earned by developers is simply mind-blowing. We are amazed at all of the great new apps our developers create and can’t wait to see them again next week at our Worldwide Developers Conference.”

One area which has seen remarkable growth is the App Store’s active paid subscriptions which have increased by 58 per cent since last year across a wide range of services including popular choices like Netflix and photo editing apps like Over and Enlight.

Developers’ app creations are being used by customers in 155 countries with the health and fitness category experiencing more than 70 per cent growth year-on-year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote
Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in 2016

The photo and video category also experienced incredible growth at nearly 90 per cent.

But Apple also has its eye on future developers with the upgrade to the Swift Playgrounds educational coding app for iPad which is being used by students and beginners who are learning to code.

Now users will be able to code using robots, drones and musical instruments.

Apple is already working with leading device creators to allow the easy connection to Bluetooth enabled robots with the Swift Playgrounds app.

“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 favourite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

Swift Playgrounds already allows users to program and control popular devices including Lego Mindstorms, Sphero SPRK+ and Parrot’s Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones.

It also works with robots including UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit and Dash by Wonder Workshop.

Swift Playgrounds 1.5 with support for third-party devices will be available on the App Store from June 6 as a free download.