Apple’s first ever iOS app development center opens in Italy today

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Earlier this year, Apple announced it would be building its first ever iOS App Development Center in Naples. Today, as reported by The Guardian, the center is scheduled to open to students. The center is located in the city’s University of Naples Federico II, which was first opened in 1225, making it one of the oldest universities in the world. The free course organized by Apple is nine months long and taught in English, with the intention of giving students the “practical skills and training” to create their own iOS apps.

According to The Guardian, 4,000 individuals from around the world applied for the course in an 11-day period, with just 200 being accepted. Apple has reportedly been “very, very” involved in the project, helping to design the academy’s large, open-plan classrooms, and micromanaging details right down to the lighting and the color of the walls. However, if The Guardian‘s photos are anything to go by, this won’t be the supremely polished layout of an Apple store, but something far more practical.

Each student enrolled in the course will be given a free iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. The world will mostly be in groups, with competition between teams reportedly a “fundamental part of the class.” The course is open to applicants from around the world, but, according to The Guardian, most of the initial intake will be made up of southern Italians.

Plans for the academy came about after a meeting between Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, in January. Renzi’s government has lauded the collaboration as a sign of its continuing interest and investment in the south of the country. Typically, economist and sociologists have divided Italy in two, with a prosperous, industrial North contrasted with a poor, agricultural South. Cook told local papers in January that he admired the “entrepreneurial spirit” of Naples and thought Apple could “make more of a difference there.”

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