Apple iOS 8 Adds Contextual Suggestions, Third-Party Keyboard Support, Touch ID Flexibility for App Developers

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By Pavithra Rathinavel | June 4, 2014 10:02 AM EST

Apple's WWDC 2014 unveiled quite a lot of software and hardware updates, enhancements and new features. The list of new features and aspects seem never-ending. As Apple precisely puts it, 'the changes are huge for developers and massive for everyone else.'

However, the perennial complaints pertaining to the devices from Apple include not supporting third-party keyboard, and predictive texting. In addition, Apple does not provide the flexibility for developers to utilize the Touch ID functionality in their apps. It is worth noting that, the iPhone and iPad users can still opt for a third-party keyboard but it will be sandboxed, according to Slash Gear.

For those unfamiliar, sandboxing the app is a security mechanism for separately running programs to protect systems by limiting the resources the app can access.

By taking the complaints and feedback seriously, Apple has added contextual suggestions feature to its latest OS. According to Recode, Apple has introduced a new virtual keyboard that understands the context and completes the sentences for user in iOS 8. This feature will be available in iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

The new QuickType keyboard will predict the next word or sentence that one types solely based on the context of the sentence. In addition, this feature has the ability to understand and accustom to the individual user's typing format.

If this is not good enough, Apple will now let the users to install the most popular third-party keyboard apps like SwiftKey and Swype, among others. These two apps are the top keyboard apps that are liked and used widely by Android users.

The highlight of these apps include predictive texting mechanism, and they also support an unconventional but easier way of typing by letting the user drag the finger from letter to letter in one continuous movement to build words. Therefore, users need not hit the keys for every letter, instead they can drag letters. Although it sounds tricky, any user can get quickly accustomed to this feature and it saves a lot of time.

Additionally, iOS 8 will now let the developers to use iPhone's fingerprint sensor on their apps. This flexibility allows developers to utilize the sensor to authorize purchases automatically.

However, developers will not get direct access to the fingerprint data. Alternatively, Apple will only provide the required information to tell the apps, if the user is authorized or not. That means the fingerprint data will still be safe and secure in Apple's A7 chip.

What do you think of this flexibility? Is Apple on the right path? Will they be able to catch up the gap created by Android? Feel free to leave a comment. 

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