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Apple's Cocoa Allows Kids to Be Interactive Internet Developers - 12/1996

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INTERNET WORLD--NEW YORK--Dec. 9, 1996--Expanding its Internet strategy into the home and educational markets, Apple Computer, Inc. today announced that a technology preview version of Cocoa, an interactive media authoring tool for children (age eight and above) and adults, is available for free download on the Apple website.

Cocoa allows children to build simulations, games, and interactive worlds, and share them on the Internet, quickly and easily. Cocoa teaches logical reasoning similar to that needed for programming, without requiring children to learn a complicated programming language.

"Just as Apple's QuickTime has provided custom, media-rich web content for technically savvy developers, Cocoa brings multimedia into the reach of kids and nontechnical adults," said Larry Tesler, vice president of Apple's AppleNet division. "Cocoa lets authors add interactivity and animation to their web pages using a unique and patented 'show me' interface."


Internet Authoring for Kids

Authors age eight and up can use Cocoa as an Internet authoring tool. An author can create characters and objects and incorporate them into simulations such as games, animations, nonlinear stories, and interactive worlds. The characters and objects act and relate to each other according to rules shown to them by the author. As a simulation is run, the objects find themselves in different situations, and the author shows them how to react to these situations. Their reactions involve movement, animation, playing sounds, and creating or deleting other objects.

Cocoa offers a friendly, familiar Macintosh interface, incorporating drag and drop functionality and a built-in painting tool. The programming is accomplished by simply demonstrating an object's desired reactions. The system then writes all the code automatically and transparent to the user. An element of randomness can be added to the simulations, making them run differently every time. When these worlds are embedded in web pages, every time the web page is visited, a completely novel experience can be generated.

Using this technology, children can leverage the World Wide Web to build a huge, ever-evolving interactive story, completely designed and implemented by kids telling the story differently every time through. By sharing Cocoa worlds they have developed across the Internet, authors can build a library of characters and rules from which increasingly sophisticated simulations can be built.


Cocoa: Ideal Learning Tool

Cocoa is the product of many years of research conducted by Apple's Advanced Technology Group. Over 75 schools and institutions in North America and Europe were involved in extensive user testing with hundreds of children. Most of the testers have learned to use the basic features of Cocoa in less than 20 minutes. Cocoa is offered as a visual alternative to other user programming tools.

Because Cocoa can be used by teachers, parents, and kids it is ideal for teaching problem solving and introductory programming. It can also be used by teachers as a customizable teaching aid, as well as curriculum developers looking to provide interactive CDs as an adjunct learning tool to traditional textbooks.


Price and Availability

The technology preview versions of the Cocoa Player plug-in for Netscape Navigator and the Cocoa Authoring tool are available free on the Apple website (cocoa.apple.com) for the Macintosh. The technology preview versions of these products are available for a temporary period, are unsupported and not fully tested. Final product versions are planned for late 1997; pricing has not yet been determined for these upcoming products.

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognized innovator in the information industry and leader in multimedia technologies, creates powerful solutions based on easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, online services, and personal digital assistants. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) develops, manufactures, licenses and markets solutions, products, technologies and services for business, education, consumer, entertainment, scientific & engineering and government customers in over 140 countries.