TextBlade physical multitouch keyboard collapses to just a third of iPhone size

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 13, 2015

If you’re in the market for a physical keyboard for your iOS device but can’t stand the size of existing offerings, a company called WayTools may just have the most curious answer to your needs.

Bringing a whole new typing experience, their new TextBlade keyboard has the same QWERTY layout you’re accustomed to but collapses to a tiny rectangle just a third of the size of an iPhone 6, thank to built-in magnets that snap the individual pieces together.

The eyebrow raising design calls for a set of eight large touch-sensitive keys providing full access to the entire alphabet, and then some more.

Weighing just 1.5 ounces, or 43 grams, the device sports an ultra-low profile half as thick as an iPhone 6. And unlike standard rubber spring keyboards, the TextBlade does not suffer from drag, stretch or wear. Inside, it’s immense technology based on six issued patents and more than a dozen patent filings. Read More

 

KeyCommands: execute Activator actions via physical keyboard shortcuts

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 12, 2015

KeyCommands is an innovative new jailbreak tweak that allows iOS users who use physical keyboards to mate custom keyboard shortcuts to Activator gestures. This means that you can make ⌘+⇥ invoke the App Switcher, or make ⌘+⇧+3 take a screenshot just like you can on the Mac. Read More

 

The best Keyboards of 2014

By Lory Gil on Dec 30, 2014

For a few months now, iOS users have been given a special treat in the form of third-party keyboards. We’ve been lucky enough to try out all of the best ones as they come out. Different keyboards are great for different reasons. Some of them have unique features that no others have.

The iDB writers picked through the cream of the crop to find the ones we like the most. We then put them to a vote to decide which was best-loved by all. Below is the list, including the winner and runner-ups. Since third-party default keyboards are only a few months old, we have decided it is too soon to select a best ever winner. Read More

 

Next Keyboard could be the first iOS 8 keyboard done right

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 22, 2014

The proliferation of incredibly varied, feature-rich software keyboards has proven that Apple did the right move opening up iOS 8 to third-party developers more than ever before. That being said, the initial crop of keyboards available in the App Store leaves a lot to be desired, in my personal opinion.

None of the keyboards I’ve tried and tested thus far — and I downloaded virtually every single one out there — come close to touching Apple’s stock keyboard in terms of efficiency and usability. It’s more often than not that cramming all the features one could think of into a keyboard does the opposite of elevating the experience.

Sure, Swype makes you a faster typist but I just can’t get over its sluggishness and the globe icon that’s inconceivably nested under a menu. Another example: Tintype may take typing and swiping to the next level but it takes a lot of time getting used to and its appearance can be a little overwhelming for most people.

I could go on and on highlighting weaknesses and bad design choices in other keyboards that are mostly Android replicas anyway, but I won’t as I’m sure our readers have their own gripes with them. On a brighter note, looks like search for the perfect iPhone keyboard could be over soon.

Enter Next Keyboard. Read More

 

How to increase the availability of QuickType in iOS 8

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 17, 2014

iOS 8 ushered in a new QuickType predictive text feature that is bolted on to the top of the keyboard. The purpose of the QuickType feature is to help you type faster by predicting the words you might use next. I find that QuickType is usually a hate it or love it feature, but some people swear by it.

For those of you who can’t live without QuickType, there’s a brand new jailbreak tweak that may garner your interest. It’s called SystemWidePredictiveText, and it enables the iOS 8 QuickType feature in places where it’s not normally available. Read More

 

Fleksy 5.0 introduces customizable Extensions, 30+ theme packs, typing improvements and more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2014

Fleksy, the popular third-party keyboard for iOS and Android, has released a major 5.0 update which turns it into a platform of its own with “multiple fun and useful input options” and the introduction of downloadable keyboard themes with customizable Extensions.

These perks are in addition to other improvements such as an easier, more comfortable typing with gestures, a redesign around the new customization options, a cool one-handed typing mode on the iPhone 6 Plus and more. Read More

 

How to get a third-party keyboard to be the default keyboard

By Lory Gil on Dec 12, 2014

I hear a lot of mixed emotions from our readers about third-party keyboards. While only a handful simply don’t like anything but the stock app, many of our readers complain about apps not working correctly. More specifically, about how the stock keyboard keeps showing up instead of the selected third-party keyboard, especially in Messages.

There is a solution to that particular problem, and we’ve got a quick tutorial to help you set your favorite app so that it shows up every time the keyboard appears (except on the Lock screen and when typing your password in iTunes, because that’s Apple’s rule). Read More

 

My Phrases Keyboard lets you send canned replies in a tap

By Lory Gil on Dec 10, 2014

You may think you are fast at texting, but what if you could type an entire message with just one tap? Imagine how fast you could respond to those questions of where to go for dinner or what time the party starts. You wouldn’t even miss a beat in that heartfelt conversation you are having with your friend.

My Phrase Keyboard is a third-party keyboard app for iOS 8 that makes it possible for you to send canned replies with one tap instead of trying to write a message while your buddy is pouring his heart out to you. You won’t have to pretend to go to the bathroom in order to respond to a text anymore. Read More

 

Control up to five Bluetooth devices with the Satechi wireless keyboard

By Jim Gresham on Dec 8, 2014

Apple only produces a small wireless keyboard, which is frustrating for users that require the benefits of a full sized option. Using an Apple wireless keyboard for home use is usually manageable. However, using a reduced keyboard in the office is more of a struggle. The lack of a number pad is extremely complicated when entering digit data and the like.

Why Apple is yet to produce a full size, Bluetooth keyboard is beyond understanding. Third party companies are starting to enter the space with designs that compliment Macs. For several years, Logitech and other companies offered wireless keyboards, but they are bulky and clash with Apple’s aesthetic. Satechi’s Wireless Smart Keyboard is filling the gap. Read More

 

Nintype keyboard takes typing and swiping to the next level

By Lory Gil on Dec 5, 2014

 

Now that third-party keyboards are allowed as defaults in iOS 8, developers are flooding the App Store with amazing typing features we iPhone owners never thought possible. If you thought swiping to type was awesome, just wait till you hear about this keyboard.

Nintype takes the swipe-type function to a whole new level by making it possible for you to use both hands, add taps, and adjust the keys on the screen to give you the most comfortable typing experience around. Read More

 

Themeboard review: iOS 8 keyboard with gorgeous themes, unique Emoji bar, auto-correct and more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 4, 2014

There most certainly is no shortage of downloadable iOS 8 keyboards in the App Store, so much so that the proliferation of soft-keyboards makes it virtually impossible for us to cover each and every one that hits the Apple platform.

On the other hand, themable keyboards like CoolKey, a keyboard for the colorful, are few and far between.

Customization matters to an awful lot of people and there’s admittedly a void here than needs filling. That’s where Themeboard jumps in.

Created by Germany-based Taphive, the brains behind such apps as TodoMovies that we reviewed back in March, this app is an advanced iPhone and iPad keyboard with a built-in repository of wonderfully designed themes by some of the best designers around.

Theme board sports a unique Emoji/Kaomoji bar and has plenty of features that users have come to expect from Apple’s default keyboard like auto-correction, Caps lock, slide-shift to capitalize, quick delete with three speeds, text predictions, custom shortcuts and more.

Read on for the full review of this feature-packed keyboard. Read More

 

Crimson Keyboard offers predictive typing without that annoying suggestion bar

By Lory Gil on Nov 25, 2014

When I first switched over to iOS 8, I found that the predictive typing function, while helpful, was a bit distracting, almost to the point of being annoying. I eventually turned it off.

Crimson Keyboard offers a personalized predictive typing function, but instead of the suggestion bar, words are displayed just above keys. Plus, instead of autocorrecting your misspelled words (and sometimes leading to hilarious miss-typed text messages), you will see suggested corrections in red. Read More

 

Fleksy keyboard clocks in a new typing speed record

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 18, 2014

Fleksy keyboard, among the first soft-keyboards for iOS 8, broke the Guinness World Record for fastest texting six months ago and now they’ve done it again.

As announced Tuesday, following September’s release of its iOS 8 keyboard Fleksy has now made the iPhone 6 Plus the fastest phone for typing by clocking in a new typing speed record on the device.

Brazilian teenager Marcel Fernandes Filho, who is seventeen years old, used Fleksy’s iOS keyboard to break his previous record of 18.19 seconds with a new time of 17.00 seconds.

Fleksy Keyboard is a 99-cent download from the App Store. Read More

 

Type Nine keyboard lets you type like it was 1998

By Lory Gil on Nov 14, 2014

With all of these new iOS 8 keyboards now available, there is just too much fun to be had. You can translate text with Slated, code with UniChar Picker, and use ScribbleBoard because drawing is more fun than typing. It just keeps getting better. Now, the trend is for keyboards for fat fingers.

Type Nine is a big keys keyboard for those extra thick digits. Only unlike apps like Thick Buttons, this one harkens back to before there were such a thing as keypads for smartphones. So, all you old school flip phone typers will enjoy some retro texting. Read More

 

Big fingers? ThickButtons enlarges keys you’ll most likely tap next

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 12, 2014

Lviv, Ukraine based custom software development company N-iX, founded by Andrew Pavliv, has created a nice keyboard for iPhones, iPads and iPods running iOS 8 through its spin-off firm.

Named ThickButtons, it helps big-fingered users type more efficiently by using patented technology which enlarges and highlights keys you’ll most likely press next while shrinking the remaining ones to reduce the chance of making an error.

Such an input method arguably makes typing with one finger more accurate, especially on four-inch iPhones. The software doesn’t require additional training and doesn’t depend on dictionary.

ThickButtons is $1.99 in the App Store. Read More

 

Fleksy Keyboard can now use iOS typing shortcuts

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2014

Despite not being an avid user of third-party keyboards in iOS 8, I’m always eager to try out any new soft-keyboard that hits the App Store.

Fleksy’s recent update caught my attention by making me realize that I didn’t know everything there is about the scope and limitations of third-party keyboards under iOS 8.

For example, did you know soft-keyboards are allowed to use your typing shortcuts defined in Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts? Fleksy’s latest update has implemented just that and it works like a charm.

Fleksy Keyboard costs $0.99 in the App Store. Read More

 

HandyKey: a tweak that adds a one-handed keyboard to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 7, 2014

If you find it difficult to type on large screen iOS devices like the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6, then HandyKey is a jailbreak tweak that you may derive real benefits from. The tweak, which is available for $0.99 on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, brings the ability to add a one-handed keyboard for right-handed or left-handed iPhone users.

Users who use HandyKey have the option of forcing the iOS keyboard to always open to HandyKey when the keyboard is invoked, or a two-finger swipe gesture on the keyboard can be used to orientate it as needed. Have a look at our video inside for additional details and a hands-on demonstration. Read More

 

Swype keyboard is temporarily free in the App Store

By Sébastien Page on Nov 6, 2014

I have a love/hate relationship with third-party keyboards. On the one hand, they theoretically provide a better way to input text on your iOS device. On the other, I’ve found them to actually make me waste more time than I would using the stock keyboard. But I’m not giving up yet on keyboards, especially on Swype, which has been my favorite one so far.

Normally priced at $0.99, Swype is currently available for free as Apple’s App of the Week in the App Store for a limited time. If you aren’t familiar with Swype, check out Lory’s first look at the third-party keyboard. Since she published it, the app has also been updated with support for more languages and improved iPad layout, making it an even more solid option. Read More

 

Slated keyboard for iOS 8 translates text in real time

By Cody Lee on Nov 6, 2014

The folks at Gist have added a new third party iOS 8 keyboard for your consideration, called Slated. Admittedly, this area is starting to become crowded, but unlike the other offerings that aim to add colors or new input methods to your keyboard, it has a more serious task.

Slated has the ability to translate what you type into more than 80 languages, in real time. Simply pick a language, start typing, and watch the evolving translation appear below the text entry field. It also translates backwards, so you can participate in complete conversations. Read More

 

UniChar Picker is an iOS keyboard for Unicode characters and symbols

By Lory Gil on Nov 4, 2014

We’ve seen dozens of colorful keyboard apps that don’t do a whole lot. We’ve tested a handful that have incredible features, but are still basic keyboards, nonetheless. We’ve even seen keyboards that let you access GIF memes so you don’t have to write actual words. How about something very unique and useful to coders?

UniChar Picker does just that. It features more than 500 Unicode characters across six different categories. Set it as your default keyboard to type in any app, or copy and paste symbols in the app to create just the right text. Read More

 
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