Apple is showing its commitment to encouraging and securing great developers by opening up its very own iOS Developer Academy at the University of Naples Frederico II in Italy.
The first of its kind, the iOS Developer Academy (opens in new tab) is taking in 200 students and will teach them the art of making a great app for the iOS platform, covering areas such as coding, app design and startup creation over a period of nine months.
Thanks to a joint investment of €10 million (around £9 million/ US $11 million/ AU $14 million) from the university itself and Apple, the course is being offered completely free, with each student receiving the latest iPhone, iPad, and Macbook so that they all have the necessary tools to succeed.
Competition to get onto the course was fierce; 200 students might have been taken but over 4000 applied over an 11 day period when the course was announced, taking an online test and an interview as part of the selection process. The plan is to expand the course next year, taking in 400 students instead.
To create a good learning environment for the students currently on the course, Apple has apparently been quite involved in updating the university campus, designing its own open-plan classroom which will bring learning and rest together.
Leopoldo Angrisani, a professor at the university who helped organize the program, told the Guardian "Apple thinks that all of these activities, learning and rest and so on, have to stay very close to each other, because this is the best way to ensure that the concepts are absorbed and understood very well."
When the program was first announced, Apple's CEO Tim Cook said (opens in new tab) that "Europe is home to some of the most creative developers in the world" and that Apple was "thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success."
Apple's ecosystem has already created 1.4 million jobs in Europe, and this academy structure could add to what Cook called "unlimited opportunities" with the company across the continent.
Apple will be hopeful that the Naples Developer Academy proves to be a success as the company already has plans to expand its Developer University program to countries around the world as it continues to improve and add to its continually growing app store.