iOS keyboard to gain additional languages and scripts, job posts indicate

By , Jul 30, 2013

iOS 7 (keyboard 001)

Whenever I find myself entangled in another Android vs. iOS debate, Android’s liberalized keyboard is unmistakably brought up as a key argument playing to Google’s favor. Indeed, for the most part the iOS keyboard has remained unchanged throughout the years, sans a few improvements here and there.

That will change when iOS 7 comes this Fall as it makes the iOS keyboard smarter by introducing black and white theme, enhanced auto-correct that can fix misspellings in a combination of words and a few other small tweaks. While there are no signs of Apple opening up the iOS keyboard to third-party developers anytime soon, new job ads indicate the company is working on adding support for additional languages and writing systems…

The job listing spotted by Jordan Kahn of 9to5Mac reveals that Apple is actively looking to add engineers to “work closely with international teams and native speakers to accommodate all the world’s script systems.”

The job description mentions (emphasis mine):

The iPhone and iPad keyboards revolutionized the way that people use their mobile devices to communicate, and we’re only getting started!

“The keyboard architecture is constantly evolving as we continue to innovate and introduce breakthrough text input mechanisms for millions of users worldwide,” teases an ad for an engineer on Apple’s keyboard and text team.

For what it’s worth, Apple previously said iOS 7 will bring “a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary, and improved Chinese input including handwriting recognition for multiple Chinese characters”.

iOS 7 (keyboard 002)

iOS currently supports more than fifty languages and input methods, but there are still parts of the world where a localized keyboard with spell checker remains absent so Apple is probably looking to fill those holes going forward.

While Siri partner Nuance hinted at iOS keyboard discussions with Apple, there are no immediate indications of Apple’s willingness to adopt the popular Nuance-made Swype for Android keyboard in iOS 7.

At the same time, Android’s SwiftKey maker TouchType opined in an interview with AllThingsD that Apple will have to open up keyboard access in iOS sooner than later.

“The most obvious API for them to open is the keyboard, because it is the greatest weakness,” TouchType’s marketing boss Joe Braidwood  said.

And should Apple decide to open up the iOS keyboard, his company would port SwiftKey for Android over to iOS in “a matter of a few months,” he said.

Which brings me to my question of the day: are you satisfied with the stock iOS keyboard experience relative to Android? And if not, how would you improve the experience if you were Apple?

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  • http://www.youtube.com/matthewmspace matthewmspace

    Personally, I’d love it if they added Swiping like the Google Keyboard does.

    • Johnathan Jennings

      I was honestly shocked that they didnt put Swype Into iOS 7. But I guess that will wait for iOS 8, if ever.

    • Julio Cesar

      I think there’s better ways to type in a mobile device, just need to be discovered…

  • Jason Duong

    SwipeSelection<3

    • Question

      Agreed. I have ios 7 and sometimes i find myself swiping like a retard on my keyboard thinking i that i have swipeselection but hopefully when ios 7 jailbreak comes out it will be awesome.

    • David Villamizar

      Why did I upgrade to iOS 7? T.T

  • Prasoon Singh

    I think the stock keyboard is fine. I wish the buttons were spaced out a bit more. I’m always hitting letters that I don’t want to hit.

    • Falk M.

      Well, that’d mean a wider screen is due. ;)

  • Derik Stroisch

    I am fairly pleased with the new face lift apple has done to the iOS 7 keyboard. but after running ShiftSwipeSelect on a jailbroke iPhone and iPad mini and Swype on a jailbroken device as well as android products. those would have to be the only 2 “up coming” changes that I would love to see Apple use in the future.

  • Kevin Guzman

    Honestly, I haven’t had any particular issue with the current keyboard. If anything, the one used for iOS 7 seems slightly better. I can’t imagine Apple implementing the Swipe feature on their devices since its just tacky and not efficient. I myself have tried it out for months and still can’t find any good use for it – it actually caused more typos and frustrated me to the point that I deemed the swiping a useless feature. I do like the idea of adding more keyboard support for international users, even though I don’t use it myself.

  • Damian W

    Two big changes I am expecting from keyboard are AltKeyboard tweak and SwipeShiftCaret or SwipeSelection implementation

    DeleteWord would be nice too

    • Diego Gastón Milano

      Yes, sir! Finally someone is mentioning and missing DeleteWorld! I thought I was the only one! Too bad they never updated their tweak to the latest…

      • Damian W

        The free version works good for me

      • Diego Gastón Milano

        Are you on iOS 6.1.2? Interesting.
        In any case, I got too used to SwipeSelection and they are not compatible with each other. :(

    • Kurt

      Delete word?? Swipe selection is the best way to move to the point you need to in a word/sentence.

      Just looked up delete word, doesn’t appeal to me. But we agree on SwipeSelection

      • Damian W

        DeleteWord is just easier and more logical for most people

  • Lordthree

    Google search in safari on iOS 7 introduces a period to the right of the space bar that annoys the fuck out of me

  • solidsephiroth

    I want a Spanglish keyboard. It really sucks when you’re having two conversations and you have to keep switching languages if you’re using quick reply/quick compose.

  • Nicholas Osborne

    Can someone answer this question?
    Why does the iOS 7 keyboard change from white to black to white to black and so on? In messages, it is white. In the home screen, it is black. Safari, white.
    Why does it change?!!

  • Isa Altintas

    So is iOS 7 keyboard available on iOS 6? (Cydia?)

  • spyridus

    I made the switch from Apple to Android and back to Apple. While I do love Apple, my only beef has always been the keyboard. It is so frustrating at times, especially when it corrects “correct” words. I’m finding myself constantly adding my own shortcuts to the custom dictionary to avoid these problems. Apple really needs to open the API…SwiftKey is the only app I miss on an Android, it was the best keyboard I ever used.