We already love using third-party keyboards such as SwiftKey and Swype on Android devices. But, Apple never had the option of installing third-party keyboards on iOS devices. The recently launched iOS 8 comes with a number of interesting features, however the one that caught our attention is the ability to install and use third-party keyboards.
Third-party keyboards such as SwiftKey, Swype and Fleksy are already available on the App Store. You will just need to download these apps and follow the instructions given below to use it systemwide. These apps will create an icon on your homescreen just like the regular apps. After installing the app, follow these instructions:
Launch the “Settings” application.
Then select General.
Scroll down to keyboards.
Select Add new keyboard
Then choose your favorite keyboard from the list
You can easily switch between keyboards just by tapping the globe icon on the keyboard. To disable the default keyboard, just swipe to left on the current keyboard. To protect your privacy, Apple won’t allow you to use third-party keyboards while entering passwords.
iOS 8 comes pre-loaded on the recently launched iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. You can even install these keyboards on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2 and the iPod Touch 5G after updating to iOS 8. If you have any queries, feel free to ask us in the comments section below.
I have noticed a slightly disturbing trend in Windows (and Windows Phone) apps, and that is “big brand” apps being released as a website wrapped in an app. I am going to refer to three specific examples I stumbled upon recently, but please note these apps are not the only ones with this issue.
Let’s take a look at United Airlines app to start with. Here’s the app’s opening screen:
Even at the first glance you can tell this is the website being rendered inside the app. I don’t have a problem with HTML inside apps, but just throwing the website as is into the app makes for terrible user experience especially on touch. For example, you can see that the links are so dense that they will make it hard to tap:
Even some other “pages” in the “app” where the density is not so high, the layout does not feel native at all:
Finally, compare the screenshots above to the United Airlines website:
So yes, the Windows Store team can claim we have a genuine and official app for United Airlines, but as a user I’d much rather just go to the website than use the app.
It gets worse in the evite app, whose main screen is shown below:
When I tapped the header image in the app, I was brought to the details page. So far, so good. The touch targets are big enough, the layout does not look like a website but it is because evite’s website is designed that way.
However, the issue arises when I tap something in the details page, it launched the evite website! That is terrible, because the app itself is the website, so why should it throw me out of the app and open the website?
For comparison, here’s the evite website:
Finally, the Orbitz app, where you will see a link to their mobile apps!
See the Orbitz website below, which looks exactly like the app:
Starting from scratch as a distant third in the mobile ecosystem wars, Microsoft is in a bad situation when it comes to breaking the Catch-22 of users not buying Windows devices because of lack of apps and developers not building apps for Windows because of low volume of Windows devices sold. I have seen other desperate attempts by Microsoft, like encouraging student developers to submit apps without much regard to quality of the apps. We have also seen Microsoft getting caught submitting web wrappers in their own name, for popular products and services like Southwest Airlines. This could very well be another such attempt to get big brands in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores, but I am unclear how it benefits the end users. The fact that several such apps have been released recently points to some level of green lighting by Microsoft, even if they are not the ones making it.
The least Microsoft can do now, is to make sure the layouts are modified to make them touch-friendly. Don’t get me wrong though, there are a lot of good, big brand apps coming to both Windows and Windows Phone lately, and I am really happy about that as a user in that ecosystem. Also, increasingly the apps are being released as “Universal” where you buy/download on Windows and it becomes enabled on other Windows/Windows Phone devices (and vice versa). This trend is also great news for the ecosystem.
Do you agree that these apps are close to “junk”? Are you ok seeing such “apps”? Let me know in the comments!
Back in 2011, Apple sued Amazon regarding the latter company’s new “Appstore” for Android devices, claiming the ‘app store’ name was trademarked by Apple and would cause confusion among consumers. Apple claimed that Amazon’s app store would harm Apple’s reputation. Last year, a judge wasn’t fully convinced regarding Apple’s claims, saying Apple had not demonstrated “real evidence of actual confusion” between the various “app stores”, and suggested that Apple was “not likely to prevail” in the case.
Today, Amazon has succeeded in having Apple’s lawsuit over its “App Store” trademark thrown out, reports Bloomberg. Microsoft also took on Apple, arguing that the “App Store” trademark is no less generic than “Windows.”
Today, Microsoft released a game called Wordament for the iPhone. It has been a popular game on Windows Phone, but available on iOS also. Wordament was originally a side-project for two Windows Live employees that was later acquired and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The game is also the first Microsoft game to come to iOS with Xbox Achievements.
When you sign in with your free Microsoft account, you can earn up to 50 Gamerscore from our 10 achievements and you’ll have access to all of your Xbox Friends and Wordament Frenemies. If you’ve played on Windows Phone or Window 8 and jump to the iOS version, all of your player stats and friends will follow your account automatically.
Wordament is a word game that allows you to compete, real-time, with everyone else playing at the same time. The app is available for free on the App Store. [Direct Link]
Microsoft has been taking steps to adopt the iOS gaming space. Earlier this year, they released an Xbox Live App that allows you to manage your Xbox Live account, and a few iOS games.
Spongebob Diner Dash, a popular kids game for iOS, was recently pulled from the App Store due to a privacy claim from the Center for Digital Democracy. The group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Viacom, the company who owns airs Spongebob via Nickelodeon, and PlayFirst, the company who developed the app. The Center for Digital Democracy claimed that the application asked children for their email address and other information without first getting their parent’s approval. This violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. Nickelodeon pulled Spongebob Diner Dash from the App Store in order to investigate the complaints.
If you’re unaware, Spongebob Diner Dash is a skinned version of the extremely popular Diner Dash. Diner Dash was originally a Flash game which has since been ported to iOS and other platforms. The game’s objective is to take and deliver food orders at a restaurant, a theme which can easily amuse younger crowds when skinned with a popular cartoon character. Because of this, it will be hard for Viacom to use the “it’s marketed towards older audiences” excuse which is often used amongst game developers in this situation.
iOS owners, here is some good news for you. Popular iOS game developer – Halfbrick – has put up a 24-hour sale for all its games on the iOS App Store. Halfbrick is known to have released some quality and popular games on the App Store including Fruit Ninja, Age of Zombies and Jetpack Joyride.
For the next 24 hours (around 20 hours now), the company has made all its game for the iPad and the iPhone available for free. Yep, that’s right!
Head over to the iOS App Store to download all the popular Halfbrick games for free. Links below -:
The most important part of a mobile ecosystem is the availability of apps, as it drives adoption. A higher number of apps on a platform attracts more developers creating a self-sustainable ecosystem. Although Google and Apple are fighting a tough battle for dominance in the mobile space, Apple is still winning for many reasons.
Back in September, Apple announced that their App Store had hit 700,000 apps. Now, Bloomberg has reported that Google’s Play Store is also reaching 700,000 apps, and this threatens Apple’s dominance in the mobile space. However, I am a bit skeptic about how this news is spreading like wildfire. Google may have reached 700,000 apps in its Play Store, but is there any word on that from Google? Last I checked, the Nexus 4 page says there are 675,000 apps in the Play Store.
Did Bloomberg mean to say that “675,000” is the same as “about 700,000”? Following Bloomberg, almost all top tech-blogs are reporting with certainty that Play Store has indeed reached 700,000 apps and most of them are citing Bloomberg as their source. What surprises me is that if this really is big for Play Store, why is there no word on this from Google?
I am not very pleased with the prospects of Play Store reaching 700,00 apps even if it did. Google needs to put better quality control in place for the Play Store, something that Apple has perfected over the years. Half of the apps on the Play Store are utterly useless, rigged with malware or simply copies of apps from the App Store. There are very few apps on the Play Store that would make me proud of being an Android user, and it is not getting any better. Perhaps, Google should give this number battle a backseat, and start focusing on quality instead.
Since the time iOS 6 was officially released to the public, Apple has been criticized for replacing the original Maps.app powered by Google Maps with its own in-house solution. Now, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has published an open letter to customers on the company’s website addressing the criticism over the new Apple-powered Maps app in iOS 6. In the letter, Cook apologizes to customers for not meeting expectations and mentions a number of alternative mapping solutions customers may wish to use while Apple continues to makes Maps much better. Well done, Mr. Cook. Apple is specifically promoting a page for map application alternatives in the App Store.
To our customers,
At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.
We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.
There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.
While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.
Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.
I think what people fail to understand is that it took Google and many other mapping companies at least 5-7 years to create a great maps products. Apple’s only been in this business for a couple of years, but as time goes by, the Maps.app will undoubtedly improve.
Camera+, one of the best and hottest selling camera apps on the iPhone has now been released for the iPad. This new iPad app isn’t an universal app, but standalone one. It is on sale for just $0.99 right now. The iPad version offers similar features to the iPhone one including touch-up tools, filters, cropping and borders. Other features include a camera stabilization tool, timer and burst ode functions. The main focus of this app is to be a photography editing app and it makes great use of the iPad’s larger screen. I have been using the iPhone version for over a year now, and it is great! The iPad version is also very well done too.
In addition, both the apps support iCloud syncing that automatically syncs all your Lightbox photos between devices. The iPhone version also received an update, which added support for the larger, 4-inch screen of the new iPhone and iOS 6. The update also allows Facebook sharing of photo with single sign-on support.
Today, Netflix has updated its iOS app for iOS 6 and the iPhone 5’s 4″ screen. This update also improves the browsing, searching and watching experience. In fact, I have tried it and it is very noticeable. Overall, it is a great update.
iOS apps supporting iPhone 5’s taller display is really useful in video/movie apps such as Netflix as it allows many widescreen movies to be viewed in their native aspect ratio. Watching video on the iPhone 5 is truly a bliss. The Netflix app is free download from the App Store, but requires a Netflix account.
Many popular iOS apps continue to get updated for the iPhone 5’s larger display. Yesterday, Instagram and Foursquare and many iOS games were updated.