The developers of Fleksy, a third-party keyboard for Apple’s iOS, have made their customisable keyboard available to other app developers. This means that developers who use Fleksy’s API will be able to offer customised keyboards in their apps, offering a semi-functional workaround for Apple’s restrictions.
Despite Apple’s insistence on not supporting third-party keyboards in iOS, it hasn’t stopped developers from poking and prodding to find a way for better input methods to be used on Apple’s operating system. In Fleksy’s case its developers have released an SDK for the custom keyboard, allowing other app coders to implement Fleksy’s solution in their apps.
Android favourite SwiftKey already has a note-taking application for iOS, but users can only use the SwiftKey keyboard in that app. It’s impossible to have a system-wide replacement for Apple’s keyboard – at least now, with the company’s current restrictions. Fleksy’s move to let developers access its SDK means that app-makers will have more ways of letting users enter text, and there’s always the option to switch back to the default Apple keyboard.
Fleksy’s keyboard improves on Apple’s default by offering word suggestions as you go along, eventually learning which words and phrases you use most often. It’s also got unique mechanics to help speed up input; users can swipe right anywhere on the keyboard to insert a space, or swipe left to delete a word. It’s also got an invisible mode where the actual letters for the keyboard aren’t visible, allowing users to touch tap based on muscle memory and Fleksy’s learning algorithms. It takes some getting used to, but could eventually supplant current, ordinary keyboards.