Earlier this year, Apple promised to open source Swift, the programming language that has largely replaced Objective-C as the language of choice for creating iOS apps. Now Apple has fulfilled that promise, releasing the language under the Apache 2.0 license. Using Apple's tools, the language can be used to create apps for iOS, OS X and Linux, and developers are free to create versions for other operating systems like Windows and Android.
"The context here is the battle for mobile programming languages and mobile runtimes," said Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC. "Over time, the industry benefits from consolidation around a few strongly adopted languages because it allows better labor mobility across companies and projects. Android got a lot of traction early on leveraging Java. We have seen Microsoft open source its C# stack to broaden the appeal and Apple is essentially on the same trajectory. In the long run, developers will have multiple language options for developing cross-platform native apps so they can better leverage their skills."