At WWDC 2021 in June, Apple introduced a new edition of its Swift Playgrounds programming package with major changes. Although no release date has been specified, Apple is currently inviting developers to try Swift Playgrounds 4 ahead of the official release of the software.

According to 9to5Mac sources, Apple has just begun soliciting developers to join the Swift Playgrounds 4 beta program via TestFlight. To gain access to the beta program, developers must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which states that they will not discuss Swift Playgrounds 4 publicly.

Swift Playgrounds is a piece of Apple software meant to help developers and students learn the Swift programming language. Apple describes the app 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.

This year, Apple will finally allow developers to build and submit Swift Playgrounds projects straight to the App Store, which is great news for iPad users. One of our sources with access to Swift Playgrounds 4 shared some screenshots with 9to5Mac, showcasing how developers may submit their projects to App Store Connect without having to build the app in Xcode on a Mac.

While preparing an app for submission to App Store Connect, users may quickly build an icon by picking a color and a symbol. A custom icon from an image file can also be selected, and the application will scale it to the proper resolution.

Users may also see and monitor changes as they type in real time using Swift Playgrounds 4. When the developer shares the project with someone else via iCloud Drive, live editing is enabled, allowing several people to work on the same project at the same time. Users may also explore SwiftUI controls, search across all files in a project, get speedy inline code recommendations, and easily transition between Swift Playgrounds and Xcode (or vice versa).

It’s worth mentioning that, according to our source, some of the app’s features require iPadOS 15.2 – which is still available as a developer beta. Swift Playgrounds 4 might be released later this year or early in 2022, alongside iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2.

Swift Playgrounds’ most recent version is free to download from the App Store. The software is compatible with both iPadOS and macOS.