Apple just released iOS 8.1, an update for devices that support iOS 8. While the most talked-about feature has been Apple Pay, the company’s slick way to pay for things at a range of retailers and restaurants, there were also several features that have an impact on typing on iOS devices. For example, Apple has made improvements to Messages. Now you can use your iPad or Mac to send text messages to an iPhone. Apple has also fixed issues related to group messaging. We may also see more documents coming onto the iPad and iPhone from Macs as Apple rolls out Continuity, its set of features for bringing tighter integration between OS X and iOS.
The company has also addressed an issue that prevented VoiceOver, its text-to-speech feature, from working with third-party keyboards. And for those who like to use Adaptxt in landscape mode, Apple has also addressed issues that may prevent screen rotation at times.
To celebrate the arrival of iOS 8.1 and those new to the OS, we’ll be recapping some of the early media mentions of Adaptxt at the launch of iOS 8.
Smartphones and tablets have overwhelmingly adopted software keyboards like Adaptxt. But some folks still prefer to have a bit more tactile feedback when using these touchscreen devices. What’s interesting, though, is that two products that have focused on hardware keyboards have made recent changes that are a nod to the power of software keyboards.
Microsoft recently updated its Surface Pro 3 tablet. The Surface line has in many ways been defined by its magnetic covers that provide physical keyboards. However, with the Surface Pro 3, the company made a change to its kickstand to allow the Surface to lie very low, making it easier to type using its software keyboard.
Why would you want to do this? For one, since Microsoft’s Type Cover is an accessory, not everyone who has a Surface owns one. And typing on the glass allows you to use the Surface while taking up less desk space.
Another company that’s been strongly identified with physical keyboards has been BlackBerry, which recently introduced the Passport, a wide phone that includes a hardware keyboard. But the Passport keyboard is quite unlike past BlackBerry keyboards because it has an extra row of “keys” that appears on the screen. This allows the phone to take advantage of some of the flexibility of software keyboards, but there are a few tradeoffs. For example, the period key is one of on-screen keys, which makes for an unusual placement.
Just as the Adaptxt keyboard learns from you, we at KeyPoint Technologies value feedback so that we can learn and improve our products. In a recent review at Tom’s Guide, reviewer Philip Michaels points out some of his favorite things about Adaptxt, including our expanded word choices for predictive text and the ability to add shortcuts. He also mentions that Adaptxt has one of the better privacy policies. Indeed, the keyboard stores its info about your typing on the device, not in the cloud.
However, he also points out a few things he’d like to see change, such as being able to double-tap the space bar for a period and more visual feedback while gliding. Philip concludes that these are “fixable flaws.” In fact, we’re already working on addressing some of those points.
When you’re getting comfortable in a new neighborhood like iOS, it helps to get the inside scoop from folks who’ve been there a long time. That’s certainly true of TUAW, which has been looking at Apple products since 2004 — three years before the iPhone made its debut! TUAW writer Mel Martin has given Adaptxt a spin and calls it “a winner,” mentioning the “boatload of languages” it supports and that it’s “just as responsive as the Nuance Swype keyboard.” He also notes:
The software generally figures out what you are typing and inserts the correct word. You don’t even need to press the space bar, instead just pausing and going on to the next word. It’s pretty magical.
That’s thanks to our team of wizards — software and language wizards, that is. Mel closes out the post by telling readers they should really be checking out third-party keyboards for iOS. With encouragement like this, just think of what we may be able to do on the iPhone 1000.
The support of third-party keyboards in iOS 8 continues to be cited as one its most popular features. In a piece titled, “New Keyboards Might Be the Best Part of iOS 8,” CBSNews.com writer Dave Johnson steps readers through setting up and selecting keyboards like Adaptxt, which he calls an “excellent choice.” He notes:
[B]eing able to replace the Apple keyboard with alternatives that might better suit your typing style and preferences is a good thing. And when you spend a little time with iOS 8, it doesn’t take long to wonder how you ever got along without the option to change keyboards.
Dave goes on to talk about the advantages of swiping; gliding your fingers across the software keyboard to form words rather than tapping each individual letter. It’s something that isn’t possible with the built-in keyboard today, and just one of the handy text entry aids we’ve put into Adaptxt that allow you to write your way.
We were pretty thrilled when Apple announced in June that it would be allowing developers to create custom keyboard for iOS. Following the longstanding embrace of Adaptxt by Android users, we welcomed a chance to bring our keyboard to Apple users who care about beautiful, functional software design as much as we do.
Now that iOS 8 has been here for a couple of weeks, the wait was clearly worth it. As Rene Ritchie at iMore notes in advising customers whether to upgrade to a new iPhone, “The ability to run iOS 8, and to be compatible with iOS 8 apps, is a major consideration.” Newer iPhones, of course, run iOS 8 best, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus offer even more screen space over which to let your fingers tap on or swipe across our efficient versatile keyboard. But as Joanna Stern notes in the Wall Street Journal, even older iPhones benefit a lot from the iOS 8 upgrade.
As it did when it first introduced the iPad, Apple has also optimized many of its apps for the new screen sizes. These include Mail and its word processor Pages, where people tend to do a lot of typing. Appls is also encouraging other developers to do the same so we can expect to see more apps deliver an even better experience when using the Adaptxt keyboard.
In future posts, we’ll be highlighting some of the reviews of Adaptxt and why reviewers such as Nate Swanner at Slashgear are saying it delivers “just about everything you’d want in a keyboard.”