Apple launches App Store development program focusing on UK women

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Tim Cook has launched a new UK-based App Store Foundations Program, saying it's part of addressing the lack of women in technology.

Apple has previously been praised for its representation of women in its recent events, and simultaneously slammed for how women employees are treated. It has also been part of joint efforts to improve diversity in the industry.

Now Apple has launched a new App Store Foundations Program in the UK, which is specifically intended to support women developers. Speaking to BBC News, Cook said that technology "will not achieve nearly what it could achieve" unless the industry becomes more diverse.

"I think the essence of technology and its effect on humanity depends upon women being at the table," he said. "Technology's a great thing that will accomplish many things, but unless you have diverse views at the table that are working on it, you don't wind up with great solutions."

Cook said there are "no good excuses" for there not being more women in technology.

"Businesses can't cop out and say 'there's not enough women taking computer science — therefore I can't hire enough'," he continued. "We have to fundamentally change the number of people that are taking computer science and programming."

Apple has previously been praised for its representation of women in its recent events, and simultaneously slammed for how women employees are treated. It has also been part of joint efforts to improve diversity in the industry.

The App Store Foundations Program is Apple's latest effort toward getting more people into the technology industry, and into coding.

"The UK has a thriving developer community and we're thrilled to play a role in supporting it," Jen Walsh, senior director of the App Store and Services, International, said in a press release. "Crucial to the continued innovation and progress of the App Store is ensuring there is a diverse set of developers that can build brilliant apps to meet the needs of users around the world."

"The launch of the App Store Foundations Program here in the UK," continued Walsh, "with its focus on female developers, will help nurture the existing community of female founders here and inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps."

Apple claims that the iOS app economy supports over 440,000 jobs across the UK. It says that the country is the leading provider of iOS app jobs in Europe, which itself now supports 2.3 million jobs in total.

The UK Program is an extension of previous European ones that have reportedly supported over 1,000 developers. It provides what Apple describes as a "tailored curriculum in which they work closely in one-to-one and group sessions with App Store leaders."

How the Program helps UK developers

Developers in the Program learn technical topics to do with coding and Apple's APIs, plus building their marketing and monetization. Apple has not specified how long the program lasts, but does say that the developers will continue to have access to Apple experts after it ends.

Apple has also not specified how many developers are on the program so far, but it has described three, including Frolo, an app for single parents. Frolo users share advice and arrange meetups.

"We're thrilled to partner with experts at Apple as part of the App Store Foundations Program," Zoe Desmond, founder of Frolo, said. "Our goal is to provide our users with the very best experience, and the team has no doubt that with Apple's backing can we not only make this possible, but also grow to reach even more users as we expand the services we offer."

The new UK program follows multiple previous Apple education initiatives, most recently including its second "Impact Accelerator" for minority-owned businesses.