A chemistry keyboard for iOS. Say what one will about the buggy keyboard APIs, but there’s some real clever innovation out there.
The perils of writing a 3rd party keyboard. Sounds like Apple’s third party keyboard APIs just aren’t ready for prime time. As you might expect given App Store dynamics the developers get all the blame.
The more I use iTunes 12 the more I find equal parts annoyance and happiness. There are a lot of little UI fixes I wished they’d done years ago. Yet, continuing the process started by iTunes 11, heavy tagging by power users has become more difficult. In particular using the Get Info window to tag numerous files with the same tag no longer works. Fortunately Multi-Item Edit from Doug’s AppleScripts comes to the rescue. This gives you a window akin to the old school Get Info window to make batch changes in iTunes.
Probably the most exciting feature of iOS81 is Extensions. Right now there are only a few extensions. They also are far more convoluted to set up than they should be.2 The ones I’m using are the 1Password extension and the Instapaper extension. They finally let me use those apps from Safari on iOS the way I could on OS X. I’d actually stopped using Instapaper as much just because of hassles. I’m starting to put it back into my workflow more.
As excited as I am about extensions on iOS8 I might be even more excited once OS X starts using them as well. It seems to me that telephony should become extremely powerful on OS X given a combination of Hand Off and Extensions. I’m really looking forward to OS X apps dialing a number using my iPhone.
Now I’ve not looked up on this in too much detail. There have well complained about bugs and limits developers have encountered. This is a functionality I’ve wished OS X had since the iPhone was first introduced years ago. Too bad it took so long.
TextExpander is coming out with a custom keyboard for iOS. TextExpander has always been crippled on iOS. Apps had to use clunky url exchanges to use it and typically only the indie developers bothered. This new keyboard, if it works well, should make a lot of TextExpanders happy. I use Keyboard Maestro on the Mac rather than TextExpander since I tend to use meta key macros more than expansions. I’ve not decided if this would make me consider TextExpander on iOS. If only because I just don’t do extended typing on iOS.1
The keyboard I’m most looking forward to myself is SwipeSelection. Apple even changed the keyboard API to make keyboards like SwipeSelection possible in iOS8.2 If TextExpander including sensical cursor movement in their keyboard ala SwipeSelection I’d probably get it immediately. Although it should be a selectable option. I actually found on my iPad I’d frequently turn SwipeSelection off. The way I rested my palm tended to accidentally move the cursor at times. (Ideally SwipeSelection would have a way to avoid this issue)
The keyboard market of iOS8 is apt to be initially quite crowded. While TextExpander is the established player a similar system apparently is Quickboard.
- 52Some good news if you were hoping for a SwipeSelection keyboard in iOS8. I mentioned last week this wasn’t allowed with the 3rd party keyboard APIs. Looks like that changed in beta 3 and keyboards can move the cursor. Looks like a legit App Store SwipeSelection keyboard is coming.
- 44A chemistry keyboard for iOS. Say what one will about the buggy keyboard APIs, but there's some real clever innovation out there.
The great Brent Simmons linked to me about my brief comments regarding universal apps and the new form factors of iOS devices. I always respect Brent’s views and enjoy reading them. I think he’s wrong here though. He thinks that while Apple may push Universal apps it won’t require them. I’d be shocked if, a year and a half from now, the separate iPad/iPhone categories don’t disappear. I suspect they’ll maintain some semblance of them for legacy apps but will start requiring all new apps be universal. Again it won’t happen quickly. Give it a year and a half. It’s coming.
The Alchian-Allen effect and the app store. Great comment.
I’ve more or less reconciled myself to the 4” iPhone form factor going away. There’s not been a single rumor about an iPhone 6 version in the existing form factor. I wasn’t going to upgrade this year anyway since my 5s is more than adequate. I can’t help but imagine that disliking the bigger size is part of that as well. I completely get why many want the larger form factor. The line between tablet and phone is blurring. At times I think my ideal device would be a regular sized iPad with full phone capabilities and a bluetooth headset. Yet there are lots of times I just want the smaller size. I can’t imagine putting the 4.7” in my pocket when I’m bending a lot and working in a factory. Honestly every time I pick up my old iPhone 4s that I’m running iOS8 on I find myself wishing Apple would go back to that form factor as an option. I remain convinced that, except for the cracking back problem, that the iPhone 4 was the pinnacle of Apple design.
One problem I’ve noticed with even the slightly longer length of the 5/5s is how poorly many (including Apple) have made their designs for one handed use. I know some just think one handed use is bad because they imagine people using it while driving a car. However I frequently am doing things at work where one handed use would be great. (Holding a product, hand covered in grease, etc.) The work around once the 5 was introduced was the dreaded “hand shimmy” or the “stretch that thumb as far as you can.” I’ve had cramps from doing this and it’s very hard to hit buttons by position in this way. (That way you don’t even need look at the phone) Often with the 4/4s I could use the music app without even looking at the phone. No more.
Some good news if you were hoping for a SwipeSelection keyboard in iOS8. I mentioned last week this wasn’t allowed with the 3rd party keyboard APIs. Looks like that changed in beta 3 and keyboards can move the cursor. Looks like a legit App Store SwipeSelection keyboard is coming.
- 52TextExpander is coming out with a custom keyboard for iOS. TextExpander has always been crippled on iOS. Apps had to use clunky url exchanges to use it and typically only the indie developers bothered. This new keyboard, if it works well, should make a lot of TextExpanders happy. I use Keyboard Maestro on the Mac rather…
One of the things many people were excited about with iOS was 3rd party keyboards. While I think this will lead to more innovation the fact is the iOS8 keyboard is pretty fantastic on its own. Far better than any of the the 3rd party keyboards I’ve played with on Android.
I have to confess that one of the few reasons I still jailbreak is for SwipeSelection, a nice little addition that gives you cursor control via swiping. At WWDC I was really excited that this feature could be part of an unjailbroke system. There’s a bit of sad news though. I Love Swift had a good post on writing a keyboard that had a nice summary of the limits of third party keyboards.