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Meet Apple's youngest app developer

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 17-06-2016 Jefferson Graham

SAN FRANCISCO - She's the star of the WWDC. 

Young Anvitha Vijay created an iPad/iPhone app about animals back home in Melbourne, Australia, Smartkins Animals, and applied to win one of the coveted Scholarships to attend the Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference here.

To her delight, Apple said yes, and now she's signing autographs, posing for selfies with grown-up app developers and hangin' with Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

"He's really good," Vijay says, in an interview here. "Really nice."

Cook himself gave Vijay a shout-out during his Monday keynote as the youngest developer ever to attend WWDC, one of 350 mostly high school and college students invited by Apple to attend the conference for free. 

At WWDC, scholarship winners get to attend coding and programming sessions, and mix and mingle with app developers, to learn from veterans. 

"It was like a dream to be here and meet so many people," Vijay says. "I've just touched the tip of the iceberg in coding, there's so much to learn."

She started coding at age 7 by watching YouTube instructional videos, and was motivated to make an app to teach her younger sister how to identify the names of animals. She's working on a new app, GoalsHi, to give students more confidence in the classroom. 

Working the WWDC room like a pro, Vijay finishes the interview by walking up to developers at WWDC and handing out her business card, which has her name and a motto: "I want to make a difference in people's lives through technology."

Back home, she used her mom's iPhone (under mom's name) because you have to be 13 to get an iTunes account.

What does she want to be when she grows up? "I want to be an innovator, to build things that people will learn and benefit from."

Asked to name her favorite app, "besides mine?" she cites Piano Tiles app, which was created in China, in 2014. "It's a game with buttons," she says. 

Follow USA TODAY tech columnist and #TalkingTech host Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham. 

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