iOS 8 Keyboard (SwiftKey 001)

Aside from customizable Share sheets and support for third-party Share Extensions, downloadable soft-keyboards is yet another feature making iOS 8 more flexible and way more customizable than ever.

As we explained yesterday, registered iOS developers can now use Apple’s iOS 8 SDK to write software keyboards and distribute them in the App Store. And users will be permitted to download any third-party keyboard they like.

This will make it dead simple to finally use new input methods system-wide. I bet you didn’t see downloadable iOS 8 keyboards coming! Apple’s promotional graphics shown at Monday’s keynote and used on the iOS 8 webpage has already hinted at a downloadable Swype keyboard.

And just this morning, an image tweeted out by its developer has confirmed that the popular Fleksy Android keyboard will be available when iOS 8 launches this Fall…

Note: the top image from Apple’s website depicts the Swype keyboard.

“Fleksy is already running on iOS 8,” teases the tweet.

You can register for the beta over at the official Fleksy website and you’ll receive an email invite when it opens.

Fleksy iOS 8 keyboard (teaser 001)

Where did the Dictation key go?

Nowhere, because iOS 8 currently prohibits programmers from developing software keyboards that access dictation by way of APIs. Moreover, soft-keyboard makers are not allowed access to Apple’s APIs for automatic capitalization and autocorrect suggestions, so developers must replicate this functionality on their own.

Although Fleksy currently offers an SDK to other app developers to implement its keyboard, with iOS 8’s support for downloadable software keyboards Fleksy’s SDK is bound to become a thing of the past.

Yesterday, Fleksy confirmed on Twitter that it has started work on bringing its predictive touch keyboard keyboard to iOS 8.

In addition to Fleksy, Swype and SwiftKey iOS 8 keyboards are in the works as well, Re/code confirmed yesterday.

iOS 8 also brings Apple’s all-new QuickType keyboard with smarter suggestions. QuickType learns from your writing style on a per app/contact basis and offers suggestions based on the slang and words you use. It will be available in fourteen languages at launch.

As for the stock iOS 8 keyboard, it’s gained support for Indian, Tagalog, Irish Gaelic and Slovenian languages. As a nice bonus, Apple is throwing in a brand new Braille keyboard for direct 6 dot braille input.

  • Sokrates

    A black keyboard is too harsh for my taste.

    • R4

      You can change the colour

    • Beat Modz

      Not really, if you work outside at night like myself. It’s perfect.

  • Michael Romano

    “Moreover, soft-keyboard makers are not allowed access to automatic capitalization and the stock keyboard’s autocorrect suggestions.”
    — Why?

    • Developers can always implement this functionality on their own, and you can bet they will

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        One thing developers can’t do though is manipulate the cursor which means we’ll sadly never see a legit Swipeselection unless Apple changes things…

      • Tobias9413

        I was really looking for a swipe selection keyboard

      • Michael Romano

        ah good. I was afraid 3rd party keyboards would be devoid of these features. glad to see developers can add these in themselves. Thanks for the reply.

  • Jeffrey

    DAMN IT APPLE! No auto-capitalization?! WHY!

    • R4

      The devs just need to make their own.

      • Jeffrey

        Oh I didn’t know that was possible:P

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Why? Because it’s not Apples job to spoon-feed developers. If developers want this functionality they just have to implement it themselves…

      • Jeffrey

        Oh sorry I thought that was impossible…

    • Jason Baroni

      If devs can make calculators and weather apps for iPad they can make auto-capitalization for iOS. The lack os something can be seen as an opportunity.

      • Jeffrey

        Didn’t know it was possible to make your own…

    • Beat Modz

      Don’t worry Swift key have done this on their own on android.. so hopefully it works out on apple.

      • Jeffrey

        Alright I trust em:)

  • Darren

    I’m hoping developers are allowed to implement their own auto capitalization.

    • They are, they just aren’t allowed access to Apple’s own APIs for autocorrect and auto-capitalization. Developers are allowed to implement this functionality and other features themselves

      • Darren

        That makes sense. This article is not very clear on that though lol. And in that case, Fleksy already has all of that ready to go.

  • CAS

    Meh, I really want Jormy keyboard (nin/hipjot)

    • Mike Colacone Saal

      Me too, already been messaging him, since that’s my keyboard in the jailbreak.

      • CAS

        Mine too, he said that ot will be even harder than the jailbreak tweak, but that he will make it, and even an android version.

  • rosssimpson

    Looking forward to it, but I could never quite get the hang of Fleksy!

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Jormy said the APIs make it tougher than doing the jailbreak tweak. So these keyboards might be tougher to make then we think. I hope that’s not the case though.

  • Osama Muhammed

    give me 6 row keyboard with arrows and im fine

  • therealjjohnson

    Question: does this open to the door for developers to create new emojis for the keyboards they create?

    • Jason Baroni

      Nice question! I hope so.

  • Dan

    As long as I get SwiftKey, I’ll be happy

  • Byron C Mayes

    I still want a Dvorak keyboard. Maybe someone will do that.

    Or maybe I should just learn Swift and do it myself.

  • Brian 

    Turns out I was very wrong about 3rd party keyboards. I spent the past few days testing out the most popular keyboards on my jailbroken iPhone and sad to say but Fleksy and the Nintype/Hipjot keyboard offer nice gestures, but are very bad at predictive/auto-correction. I spent more time erasing and correcting the words on both of those. I am now in love again with my stock keyboard, and am looking forward to Swype which looks to be the only promising keyboard so far.

    • Mike Colacone Saal

      I’ve gotten great at the hipjot keyboard. The only thing is you have to learn how to use it with one hand a bit differently because it is made to be used with two.

  • TwinSon

    Waiting on you, Switkey. And time to add some new Emojis, Apple. As much as I hate to say it, emojis are a big deal and that white girl in the pink just isn’t getting it done.

  • JulianZH

    Still don’t know how to use this keyboard. But I’m dying to use swiftkey!!

  • nolanbob99

    Is anybody here kind enough to add my UDID to their dev account? I would pay money if I could. Thanks!

    66c98971d2fad1c1423b4ccd068fe48afcb16c40

  • test_11

    Does it support for iPad??

  • Fevostone

    Can’t someone take the iOS 8 keyboard and bang it in cydia

  • Stephen Mallett

    I just want a keyboard with swipe selection built in

  • Okhoo

    Old iOS 6 keyboard? Haha

  • Matthew

    Why does the Swype keyboard at the top have the dictation key? Or did the developer put it on herself/himself?

  • iSupaDan

    Can anybody register my UDID ?
    abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvxyz1234567890