iOS 8 QuickType (teaser 001)

In announcing iOS 8 and Yosemite yesterday, Apple dedicated some stage time to highlighting a new system-wide keyboard with context-aware predictive typing suggestions, called QuickType. But Apple also wooed developers by relaxing its rules to permit users to install third-party keyboards distributed through the App Store when iOS 8 officially releases this Fall.

Needless to say, makers of popular Android keyboards jumped with joy. The likes of Swype, Fleksy and SwiftKey have immediately confirmed they will be releasing their software keyboards for iOS 8…

According to a statement Swype and SwiftKey gave to Re/code, their respective soft-keyboards for iOS 8 are coming.

“I think it’s obviously a wonderful day for anyone who wants to be productive and use iOS devices,” said Joe Braidwood, chief marketing officer for SwiftKey.

“We believe we’ve built a great product that’s made it easier to type on touchscreens, and we’ve got a great community of Android users to prove it. We can’t wait to extend that to iOS. Ultimately, it means people have more choice, and we’re very excited about that.”

Swype will also be joining the iOS party with its own app, Re/code noted.

“Not surprisingly, I couldn’t be more excited to bring Swype to iOS users,” said Aaron Sheedy, vice president of product marketing at Swype, in a phone interview.

“Our keyboard has been deployed on a billion devices across the world over the last five years, and that’s allowed us to build up a great language model, not only using our own technology, but also learning from our users, so our accuracy is quite good.”

SwiftKey, which currently offers an SDK app makers can use to enable its keyboard, took to Twitter to confirm work on a custom keyboard for iOS 8. Before it launches, you can register your interest here.

They stopped short of detailing what implications, if any, for the Fleksy SDK iOS 8 creates.

According to Re/code, SwiftKey’s iOS 8 keyboard should include all of the features found on its Android counterpart.

That includes SwiftKey Cloud that keeps your personal predictions and dictionary additions in the cloud for syncing among devices. Apple’s own QuickType keyboard doesn’t sync data or send keystrokes to the Internet.

“Your conversation data is kept only on your device, so it’s always private,” cautions Apple on the iOS 8 QuickType webpage. Apple allows custom keyboards to ask user for a permission to access the network, though iOS 8 will disable this capability by default.

Apple’s official documentation for developers concerning implementing custom keyboards in iOS 8 is available here.

The webpage also features the following image Apple’s software engineering chief put up during yesterday’s keynote, which appears to resemble a SwiftKey keyboard in iOS 8.

iOS 8 Keyboard (SwiftKey 001)

The webpage notes:

Swipe rather than type, or go old school with the classic keyboard layout. For the first time, iOS 8 opens up the keyboard to developers.

And once new keyboards are available, you’ll be able to choose your favorite input method or layout systemwide.

In addition to QuickType and custom keyboards, iOS 8 includes support for Indian, Tagalog, Irish Gaelic and Slovenian keyboards as well as a brand new Braille keyboard for direct 6 dot braille input (this one I have to see).

Raise hands who will be trying out and/or using custom keyboards in iOS 8 instead of Apple’s stock one?

  • Ara Rezaee

    I have to say, I really don’t care about Swipe or Swype or whatever it is. I bought so many android devices trying to find the perfect device for myself that I lost count, all of them had this feature and I honestly only used it once or twice only to realize I can write much faster on normal keyboards without looking. There were so many great new features in WWDC, this one is a nothing compared to them

    • Dan

      Maybe for you.

    • hkgsulphate

      There are over 20 different Chinese input methods
      so yea…

    • mickey

      Even if you don’t like swiping, swiftkey in regular typing mode is still much superior to the ios keyboard. It’s a combo of the tweak altkeyboard with excellent predictive typing. I’m sure the ios8 keyboard will be much of an improvement but swiftkey’s cloud sync certainly has an edge here for those with multiple devices and also every time you upgrade or restore one.

    • DeAndre Enrico

      Gotta disagree with you. But it’s all personal preference.

      Personally, once I got used to swiping, it was the only way to go for one handed typing. With two hands I tend to use the keyboard normally though.

  • Yujin

    Who wouldn’t? This is basically apple giving them a chance to make millions. Something that they could not do on the cheap marketplace of android. This is like walmart agreeing to sell your goods when you used to sell them at flea markets. Lol

    Big opportunity now. They need to make themselves the main keyboard of iOS. And we will see who wins.

  • Malay Mody

    Couple of links are messed up here. Link to swiftkey’s tweet goes to the fleksy twitter, and the link to register for the swiftkey beta takes us to a random iDB article from 2011

  • Dan

    The fact that I will be able to use Swiftkey as my primary keyboard may very well be the main reason why I will update to iOS 8. Very happy Apple decided to do this, I really missed swipe typing since I left the android camp. I was a big fan of Switkey and will purchase it again in a second.

  • Jonathan

    I think Nintype is too.

    • Mohamed Hassabo

      You changed your display picture 😀

      • Jonathan

        You’re the 4th person to say that. xD I wonder why everyone is commenting about that. 😛 And yes, I have! 😀

      • Mohamed Hassabo

        Haha yeah I’ve seen a few people do it so I decided to do it as well 😀

      • Jonathan

        Cool! 🙂
        I like to stay updated. xD

      • SkyFall

        Well i come from the future and i already have seen iOS 9 (Oddly the will use the Helvetica Neue ultra thin font again).

      • Jonathan

        I’m pretty sure they won’t use the same colors for iOS 9. It’s obvious you mirrored the colors, then used the same font and made a nine. xD I could duplicate your profile picture in 2 minutes from scratch.

      • SkyFall

        Actually the font is Helvetica Neue Ultralight not Myriads Set Ultralight ( I think it’s ultralight), the colors are slightly darker and brighter. The colors of iOS 9 will be a mixture of the colors of 7 and 8.

      • Jonathan

        Yep, someone else told me the font. =P

        I’m think iOS 9 will be… idk.. just.. not that lol

      • SkyFall

        I think they’ll stick with the Myriads Set Font due to the fact they it’s the most used font in their website. ( Apple 30 anniversary site had the Myriads Set font )

      • Jonathan

        Interesting…

  • Joe

    I can’t wait to have Swype keyboard on my iPhone. Swype must be the biggest thing I miss coming from an Android device. I’ve tried countless Swype keyboard tweaks available from the Cydia store, but they are either incredibly inacurate or just plain garbage. Thanks Apple!

  • Kanwar

    Register your UDID for $4.50

  • taborneighbor

    I would love for Kyle Howells to put out a SwipeSelection keyboard for iOS8. It could take advantage of all of the improvements Apple is implementing plus nearly eliminating the need for the stupid magnifying glass.

    • Matt Taylor

      I’m glad someone said it. Sod the rest just give me SwipeSelection! 🙂

  • Woo Jia Hao

    maybe apple can come out with their own swipe typing or nintype keyboard?

    • Rowan09

      No it’s best to leave it to third parties since they already have the tech and following. Plus it’s always good to support small businesses.

  • Sachin

    Hey guys a lil’ off topic question. Can somebody help me how to bring back full screen images in incoming calls. It used to come in my phone with 7.0.4 until i updates to 7.1 i am getting this ugly tiny thumbnail.

    • Sachin

      ..

    • Hadi Alqadi

      I don’t think you can 🙁

  • Imran Ar

    if HipJot keyboard gets integrated in iphone it would be awesome

  • Deguardio

    Will it be possible for the makers of SwipeSelection to make their tweak official, and release it as a third-party keyboard through Apple?

    • taborneighbor

      Hope so!

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      It’s not going to be possible (at least at the moment):

      reddit .com/r/jailbreak/comments/2781nk/looks_like_swipeselection_wont_be_allowed_as_an/

  • Brandon Weidema

    Swiftkey is amazing, its literally perfect for walking & texting

  • derkunde

    I will always use apples stock. They have the most experience making touch keyboards, and to me this shows. I tried others, always had typos or frustrating experience after awhile. Just me tho, my friend can’t wait for swype.

  • DC

    One of the biggest things I missed from my old Android phone was my keyboard! I purchased SwiftKey back then and loved that keyboard…so much faster

  • Christopher

    I really like iOS. It’s a great OS. I love it on my iPad.

    Two things were holding me back from an iPhone. Third party keyboard use, and screen size.

    I think those things will finally be addressed.

  • Scott Powell

    I just came over from android. I feel like swype is the only thing missing from Apple. I think that swype will be a great addition to the Apple family.

  • Shari Storlie

    Yes please!!! I’ve been suffering without my swiping abilities. Seriously

  • Hadi Alqadi

    I will 100% be installing swift key I can’t wait