Apple To Support Third-Party Widgets, Keyboards For The First Time

Apple is opening the floodgates to third party widgets and keyboards on iOS, Apple’s software for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Users will be able to access widgets directly in the notification center on iPhone. What’s more, these widgets can come from third parties, not just Apple itself.

See also: 6 Things Apple Should Fix in iOS 8

As further indication of a less controlling, more relaxed era for Apple, the company is allowing third party keyboards on iPhones for the first time. Third-party keyboards like Swype and Swiftkey, which speed up typing by predicting next words and allowing users to “swipe” an onscreen keyboard instead of typing, have been a staple of the Android marketplace for years. But iPhone users’ pleas for alternatives to Apple’s stock keyboard have long fallen on deaf ears.

Until now. Third party keyboards won’t simply be begrudgingly accepted but encouraged, if the company’s WWDC keynote is any indication. Apple is now presenting users’ ability to install any third party keyboard, app, or widget as a major advantage of iOS 8.

Apple did not name any particular third party keyboards that will be available on iOS, but it did announce a “predictive typing” keyboard of its own called QuickType. According to Apple, QuickType will observe the way you type and learn to suggest your likely next word. 

Photo courtesy of Swype

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