From Apple press relase:
Swift is a powerful new programming language for iOS and OS X® that makes it easier than ever for developers to create incredible apps. Designed for Cocoa® and Cocoa Touch®, Swift combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages. By design, Swift helps developers write safer and more reliable code by eliminating entire categories of common programming errors, and coexists with Objective-C® code, so developers can easily integrate Swift into their existing apps. Xcode® Playgrounds make writing Swift code incredibly interactive by instantly displaying the output of Swift code.
Overlooked so far (I know, it hasn’t been that long) are the educational implications of Swift. Swift playgrounds are an amazing innovation in introducing new developers to concepts of programming that are often overlooked, and not well understood by new developers.
Swift does something I wish I had when I was in high school: A way to program that’s interactive and fun — not just a text file.
Swift promises to make programming Cocoa apps easier and quicker than it’s predecessor Objective-C, all while retaining the same power and capabilities of a high-level language. While it requires OS X or iOS, it still has a much farther reach than MATLAB could ever hope to achieve. Currently, a home license will run about for home use, and for a full commercial license. In contrast, Swift will be on every updated OS X computer by next year for free — and Apple has no indication of dropping support any time soon. For a hobbyist with a Mac that wants a simple way to program, the choice is clear.
Swift’s benefits aren’t just monetary either. For a person with no experience programming, the ability to build a full app on Apple’s ecosystem with a minimal amount of programming is incredibly promising. Imagine being a new programmer and you’ve finally built something you want to share. With Swift, the transition to Playground to stand-alone app is near seamless, something MATLAB can’t really do.
WWDC is a gathering of people who build software applications for Apple hardware devices—from the iPhone and the iPad to the Mac—and with its new language, dubbed Swift, Apple is apparently providing a much faster and more effective means of doing so, significantly improving on its current language of choice, Objective-C. With something that Apple calls an “interactive playground,” Swift is even exploring a highly visual kind of programming that may go beyond other mainstream languages. All those developers went nuts not only because they love Apple, but because the new language could make their lives that much easier.