A closer look at smarter keyboard in iOS 7

By , Jun 20, 2013

iOS 7 (Keyboard, prediction)

The iOS virtual keyboard has seen little changes since the iPhone’s inception six years ago. Apart from a few  baby steps here and there, each new major iOS release has brought little in terms of improving the typing experience on iPhones, iPads and iPods.

In turn, developers have readily stepped up their game with a number of keyboard-focused tweaks for jailbroken devices in order to, you know, just keep pace with Android. Virtual keyboard in iOS 7 is of course translucent and like other frosty panels seen throughout the system shows heavily blurred content underneath to an arguably stunning effect.

Apart from the visual updates, we have noticed a few under-the-hood improvements in iOS 7 seemingly aimed at making the iPhone’s predictive keyboard smarter. Go past the fold for the full breakdown…

Smarter auto-correct

In iOS 7, auto-correct appears to be able to fix misspellings in a combination of words, as depicted on the screenie top right. Specifically, iOS 7 would offer to change “well see” to “we’ll see” upon hitting the space bar after “see”.

In pre-iOS 7 releases, the virtual keyboard would only offer auto-correct suggestions for a word immediately preceding space. As a bonus, keyboard shortcuts seem to be part of the auto-correct dictionary in iOS 7.

For example, I added “iDownloadBlog” to the iOS dictionary in Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Misspelling that or any other custom word or phrase added to your dictionary now actually corrects it, as seen below.

iOS 7 (Keyboard, Shortcuts 001)iOS 7 (Keyboard, Shortcuts 002)

Keyboard overhaul

As for the iOS 7 keyboard makeover, when brought up it now acts as a frosty, translucent panel. As you can see right below, in Messages app green chat bubbles are heavily blurred behind the keyboard, which adds a sense of depth.

iOS 7 (Keyboard, Transluency)

Pictures don’t do the justice as translucency and blurring looks stunning when seen in motion. Another visual tweak: the Dictation icon is slightly re-worked and the Dictation interface now shows real-time audio waves moving across the screen instead of purple dots like before.

iOS 7 (Keyboard, Dictation, Siri waveform)

iOS 7 virtual keyboard on iPad

If an alleged video and screenshots of the iOS 7 Beta 1 running on the iPad simulator in Xcode are an anything to go by, the virtual keyboard on iPads has a great new black variant in Spotlight.

ios 7 ipad spotlight

There’s as well a Private Browsing button as part of the keyboard in iOS 7 Safari on iPad.

ios 7 ipad safari 2

For what it’s worth, going private in Safari on the iPhone and iPod touch requires hitting the New Tab button.

And this, my friends, is pretty much all there is to the virtual keyboard in iOS 7.

Keyboard in OS X Mavericks

As for OS X Mavericks, it’s re-worked a shortcut which simplify accessing special characters by hitting the Command-Option-T (or ⌘-⌥-T) combo when entering text in any app.

A redesigned palette now lets you click through text widgets, special characters and emoticons with ease. There’s even a handy clock button where your recently used special characters are just a click away – a lot like the emoji keyboard in iOS.

OS X Mavericks (special characters panel)

As observed by TipsandTricksinMavericks, you can drag away this panel to turn it into its own window. Oh, and emoticons are now being sent via the Unicode standard, allowing for greater cross-platform compatibility.

OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 will also increase Bluetooth integration with native support for Human Interface Devices over Bluetooth such as keyboards, mice and game controllers.

And by letting Bluetooth-connected devices use Notification Center and retrieve full alerts, accessory makers could theoretically create Bluetooth keyboards for iPads that could go months and even years between battery changes and incorporate built-in LCD screens to display alerts when an iPad is in sleep mode or not at hand.

Summing up

With even Google’s stock keyboard offering prediction and trace typing and third-party options like Nuance’s Swype, TouchType’s SwiftKey and CooTek’s TouchPal enhancing the experience, pressure is mounting on Apple to open up the stock iOS keyboard to third-parties.

And if that happens, Android developers are ready to fill the void at a moment’s notice. SwiftKey maker TouchType, for example, said “if and when the keyboard is liberalized, we would jump on it with the greatest speed we could bring to the table”.

And let’s not forget Nuance, whose Swype keyboard input method is very popular on Android devices. Nuance partners with Apple on Siri voice recognition and we know they talked to Apple over implementing Swype technology, so there’s at least some hope that Apple is considering its options.

In my opinion, the day when you’ll be able to install a third-party iOS keyboard from the App Store will definitely come, even if it’s not on the horizon yet.

Let me know your thoughts on Apple’s efforts to improve the typing experience in iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks down in the comments.

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  • mhchehade

    Please apple release ios 7 to the public asap please

    • sdhn97

      They’re trying their hardest to finish this quickly enough but good enough. Patience my friend.

    • felixtaf

      If u r running the beta, you wont ask for this… Plenty things to workout before a public release. Am running BETA and I have issues like occasional crash, bugs, poor battery life, unresponsive phone for about 10 mins etc. All these issues will be fixed before a public release. So we have to wait for the final refined product.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I’m with you here! I haven’t had that many problems running iOS 7 however there’s a lot of apps that are crashing / have broken functionality which means even if iOS 7 was perfect you’d still have to wait for developers to update their apps…

      • felixtaf

        Agree. I have lots of apps.. Most of them working, but with broken functionality, few are flawless and few are crashing. Dev beta is for developers to update their app and Apple to improve their OS… Most of the popular apps will be updated to support iOS7 bt the time of public release..

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        Honestly, I’m getting all the bugs and crashes but the battery life has actually leveled off for me. I could go all day on heavy use for about 15 – 16 hours and have about 10% battery left. When I first installed iOS 7, I would be at about 10% about 7 hours into my day. Now, I’m getting about 12 hours or so on one charge. Not as good as iOS 6, but maybe, potentially better when Apple releases it in the fall. Coding apps is a lot of fun though so I’m very happy going through the SDK kit and checking out the APIs. It’s really cool stuff and a lot of devs are going to implement some cool stuff come fall.

    • Jerry

      Write a post that does not make sense, everybody will like it…

      • Bobby McBobson

        It makes perfect sense! How does it not make sense? It’s the average number of days after each beta.

    • Maxim∑

      credit: cultofmac, John Brownlee

      we calculated the average time it took for an iOS x.0 beta release to move on to the next beta. Here’s what we found:

      Beta 1 – lasts 14.75 days
      Beta 2 – lasts 15.4 days
      Beta 3 – lasts 15 days
      Beta 4 – lasts 18.6 days
      Beta 5 – lasts 17.8 days
      Beta 6 – lasts 11 days
      So if Apple keeps to this schedule with iOS 7, here are the iOS 7 release dates we’re looking at:
      Beta 2 – Monday, June 24th
      Beta 3 – Wednesday, July 10th
      Beta 4 – Thursday, July 25th
      Beta 5 – Monday, August 12th
      Beta 6 – Friday, August 30th
      Gold Master – Tuesday, September 10th
      iOS 7 Final – Friday, September 20th

      • Ian

        Copying…

      • 3aloo1

        thanks for this info because now i am placing reminders on my ipad

    • Yash Gorana

      There are going to be several betas. It’s likely that they are going to release it to public in September-October along with the launch of 5S.

  • mhchehade

    I lost my jailbreak to test ios 7 beta man i’ll try to be patient ! Lol

    • http://sciencedem.blogspot.com editor

      You’re not alone. It takes a while to psychologically adjust to the trauma of losing a jailbreak for an early iOS7 ; but in time even 7 will be jailbroken. Patience my friend…..

      • Bobby McBobson

        I have my SHSH blobs… hee hee

      • felixtaf

        Thats useless if u have an iPhone 5, iPhone 4s or iPod touch 5… Only useful if u have an iPhone 4 , 3gs or iPod touch 4g

      • Bobby McBobson

        Yeah I know, I have an iPod 4g.

      • http://theeyesofmarch.wordpress.com/ Timothy

        In which case you can’t have updated to iOS 7, though… Or am I missing something?

      • Tom

        I’m not so sure that I miss my jailbroken iOS 6.1 that much. The main tweaks that I used like SBSettings, Inteliscreen X and a flashlight shortcut toggle have been incorporated into iOS 7. The only thing I miss is Bite’s quick reply to text messages.

    • Gorgonphone

      lol poor you

      • Bobby McBobson

        It seems that in every comment you say you write ”lol”.
        Lol actually means ”little old lady” you know.

      • Gorgonphone

        Omg why are you following me ? Thats creepy

      • Bobby McBobson

        lol Noo of course not hahaI just scroll down on this article and when I see your comments, there is always ”lol” at the end, But not all the time. I mean lol is cool and there’s nothing bad with saying lol. lol

      • genXhippie

        lol, good one. ;)

      • Bobby McBobson

        thanks

  • burlow

    it sort of does this now on iOS 6 – if you spell pro, it won’t capitalize. if you spell macbook pro, it corrects both words to MacBook Pro.

  • Kieran hardy

    Anyone know how he’s got battery percentage on Ios 7?

    • qosmio

      Same way as you have always been able too… Settings,General,Usage and then flip the switch…

      • Kieran hardy

        I’ve not been able to do it in the past with my iPod touch without a jailbreak, Thanks though

      • qosmio

        Your welcome… I have never had a iPod touch, so sorry if you thought I was being rude .

      • Kieran hardy

        Nah i was just confused I didn’t think you were rude, turns out apple didn’t put percentage as a feature in the Ipod touch

      • Tony Klapatch

        Never have been able to with the iPod touch unless you jailbreak or apply a plist edit hack. I don’t see why Apple hasn’t included it yet.

  • http://sciencedem.blogspot.com editor

    Beta 2 might well come out as soon as Monday

    • Gorgonphone

      ehh

      • Bobby McBobson

        ok

    • JayDee917

      You have any other insider info you’d like to share?

  • jabohn

    The keyboard shortcut is not new to Mavericks. It was already there in Mountain Lion. The Emoji was already accessible before Mavericks too.

  • Palmer Paul

    I don’t have the translucent keyboard in messages. For me, its just a white background. Might be cause I have an iPhone 4 :(

    • mehrab

      Yeah.

    • Gorgonphone

      yup not enough ram on thee fro that effect..lol

      • Palmer Paul

        lol…can’t get Parallax wallpapers, Dynamic wallpapers, or the 3D effect on the wallpapers either.

  • J. Rockwell

    Jonathan Ive’s iOS 7 design is the sexiest UI I have seen in a long time. I am waiting in anticipation, and hope the jailbreak community is able to release an untethered jailbreak quickly after iOS 7′s release.

    • Gorgonphone

      Jonathan Ive’s iOS 7 design is the ugliest UI I have seen in a long time. I am waiting on apple to change it, and hope the jailbreak community is able to release an untethered jailbreak quickly after iOS 7′s release so that i can change the look.

      • Rafael Damasceno

        Why are people even downvoting you? You gave your honest opinion, which is no different from mine and a whole bunch of other people. Bunch of hypocrites.

      • Gorgonphone

        cause they are typical humans afraid of the truth and comfortable ignorant.. and also apple clearly have some moles planted deeply n IDB to defend IOS7 no matter how bad it is..lol

      • Bobby McBobson

        no

      • Indian Food

        How can there be truth in an opinion? Nothing is the truth unless it’s factual.

      • brooks whiffen seale

        Translucency is down right beautiful.. but the over abundance of white and random icons is annoying

      • http://173.58.214.169/ That’s what Siri said!!!

        Be careful of what you post on iDB.
        people these days do not like opinions! sad.

    • GuyBey0ndC00L

      UI design is sexy but the icons are too bright, ugly, don’t make sense, colors are off. But overall UI is sexy and will get better. Remember its only a beta it will get better.

      • EpicFacepalm

        I think all these 3D animations, Transparency effects etc. are going to use lots of battery, but that’s the only thing I liked. Other than that, overall UI is too white. Pure white over transparency hurts my eyes. Finally I can’t see buttons’ borders, and I don’t like it. That’s my 0.02$

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        Its only a beta it will get better, not worried at all. There lots of bugs UI ugliness, color are off and too bright. Only a beta it will get better.

      • GuyBey0ndC00L

        I know, I had to use “bold text” just to be able to see fonts. Icons are too white, default Icons are ugly and the toolbar buttons like in Safari are invisible. Notes App, which I use daily has become useless to me. I wish the iOS toolbar button would look more like the buttons in the Feedly App. There amazing….
        Running: iOS7 beta 2, iPhone 5

  • Gorgonphone

    soooo still not predictive typing d no swipe ???? LOL omg

    • Tony Klapatch

      How about you stop trolling every. single. iOS 7 article on iDB…

      • Gorgonphone

        you apple sheep fools are so sad and sorry.. u get emotionally personally offended when someone points out areas where apple needs to improve.. I swear you are on you period every damn day..lol

        fact is IOS need proper predictive typing its a Basic modern typing feature .. and they also need to come out with something like swipe.. IOS7 should not lack such basic common features those are facts you call it trolling cause the truth upsets you and makes you sad..

        You are the real troll … you should have responded by explaining why apple doesn’t not need to give IOS7 predictive typing an a swipe like feature.. but clearly you are not smart enough to do that

      • leart za jmi

        please don’t stop writing, your so funny

      • Gorgonphone

        im trying to bring the truth to IDB but the mods are in cahoots with the lame stalkers on here and they keep deleting my posts..lo li swear men are so feminine and emotional these days its sad..

      • Bobby McBobson

        ”but the mods are in cahoots with the lame stalkers ”

        okayy you don’t make much sense

      • Gorgonphone

        Um yeah on mans sense is another mans maddness right ?! Lol silly

      • Bobby McBobson

        Yeah I agree! the cahootism of gahoolistic octopus is iscoceles to the majestic wheat of knees and sad trees right? I mean the federalistic pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis swaggity gnarly swag is going over the top.
        lool lol lol LOL l0l loooooooooooooooooool

      • Gorgonphone

        Okay so i see you are just here to serve a non progressive roll so yeah um no more replies to you. Bye

      • Bobby McBobson

        Nooo! I have nobody to talk to! :( Well I will find someone else.

      • Bobby McBobson

        Yeah it’s funny kind of but annoying. But like a month ago he was writing normal posts but now he’s trying to troll or whatever.

      • Gorgonphone

        Lol at humans inventing the word “troll” to describe highly vocal people that they dont agree with lol….

      • Bobby McBobson

        Yeah lol…

      • Gorgonphone

        Humans are so irrational and twisted their nature is what causes 90% of their tragedy

      • Bobby McBobson

        Totally, bro. lol.

      • genXhippie

        I totally agree with you.

      • Yash Gorana

        even if apple will add the “predictive typing”/”swype” stuffs, you will be the first one to say “they copied android”

      • Gorgonphone

        Um no im known for saying “android sucks” lol i just want more cool modern feetures for iphone

      • Yash Gorana

        ok boss. give apple some feedback.

      • genXhippie

        Stop being a baby.

      • Gorgonphone

        exactly.

      • Bobby McBobson

        Don’t feed the trolls!

      • Gorgonphone

        We dont want you to starve though

      • Bobby McBobson

        Like I said, I shall not feed the trolls. (Hint:You’re the troll and the comments is food)

  • Andrieux Querido

    All i Want is SWIPE APPLE…

    • genXhippie

      Same here, Swype please. We been waiting for years now- Seriously, what’s the fricking problem Apple?

      • Gorgonphone

        i was just chastised and called a troll for asking for swipe and proper predictive typing options also

      • Bobby McBobson

        What?

      • Gorgonphone

        Yup thats right sad

      • Bobby McBobson

        OK

      • Bobby McBobson

        Wow I just realized you’re in the top 10 commenters on idb. Cool.

    • Matt Dowdy

      Well from the look of the picture of the iPad keyboard they’ve gone with the holo android theme so maybe they’ll implement swype too!

    • Yash Gorana

      NO SWYPE PLEASE. Worst keyboard EVER.

  • onebyone_

    iOS7 safari without personality, (I know it’s BETA) but at least I’ll still with iOS6 safari until they make some changes on the safari UI.

  • http://thedevicedr.wordpress.com/ thedevicedr

    I believe both the auto-correction of multiple words and the inclusion of shortcuts in the auto-correct equation are present in iOS 6… I am able to produce both on my iPhone 5 running iOS 6.1.

    The easiest example I could provide would be to type a holiday such as “mothers day” or “memorial day”. My iPhone offers to change them to “Mother’s Day” or “Memorial Day” respectively.

    I can also intentionally misspell one of my shortcuts – or not even finish typing the ones I use most often – and it will recommend changing it to my shortcut.

    • Linton Findlay

      Those are basic grammar corrections though. Ios7 makes sure your sentence make sense

  • Gorgonphone

    All i Want is SWIPE APPLE… and proper predictive typing options

  • Micke Lundgren

    All I’m asking is for Apple to make the keyboard work like the awesome “Showcase” tweak does. I just can’t get my head around why Apple haven’t made it possible to see on the keyboard if you’re typing with caps or not.

  • Ricky

    Shortcut not working. Like if i pressed idb then space idownloadblog dont come out…

  • Jason Dennery

    I’d really like that black iPad theme on my black iPhone 5.

    Make it happen Apple.

  • http://173.58.214.169/ That’s what Siri said!!!

    those speech bubbles look like the ones in pinger.

  • Solly

    i’ve noticed something different in the keyboard in iOS 7 than iOS 6, in iOS 7 when u disable the auto-correct, which i do a lot of times, the keyboard shortcut that i’ve added doesnt work anymore. this wasn’t happening in iOS 6…

  • coLin

    I just figured that we can replace ‘Double@’ tweak with keyboard shortcuts (even in iOS 6). Great, thanks for the tip

  • Mustang Grandpa

    Still no Numeric Keyboard with T9
    shame! for us None Qwerty typers

  • brooks whiffen seale

    Any one else notice some differences between beta and what apple has on their website? The stock order of icons and no factime icon on thier website!

  • rizwan

    well confused for the menu

  • Andrew Angel

    If i don’t get swype with this release, I’m seriously thinking of jumping ship, -as much as it pains- me cuz designwise ios is second to none-, but the fact that they have us typing like in 2007 is really an insult.

  • dejudicibus

    Well, the real problem of iOS keyboard is that it was designed by USA people. They continue not to understand that outside US we *NEED* to have national characters on keys. We use a lot of characters different from traditional Latin alphabet and the fact that we have to select them from clouds or rely on automatic spell corrector is a real MESS! It looks like iOS7 does not solve that!

  • http://www.officialimeiunlock.com/ Nicolas Anderson

    ios7 unlock available at www officialimeiunlock com

  • YellowFrog88

    It doesn’t appear that they’ve released a way to type in a lot of languages where support is lacking. In particular, I don’t see a way to type letters like č́ and x̌ needed for Lushootseed, ㇰ and ィ for Ainu, and ᐃ and ᓄᒃ for Inuktitut. Using workarounds is a real pain.

  • VavaVoom

    It is absolutely RIDICULOUS that Apple doesn’t open their keyboard up to 3rd party vendors. If the iPhone had a Swype keyboard, I wouldn’t hesitate to switch from Android and buy an iPhone. But, Swype is SO valuable to me, I just can’t do without it!

  • Karen Schinabeck

    Any idea why my external Zagg keyboard does not work after the os version update?

    • Karen

      I found the answer to my question. I had to turn blue tooth on to connect Zagg keyboard.