Microsoft wants its virtual keyboard to be the main way you plug in text on your iPhone. Beta testers were asked via email to test out an iOS version of the Word Flow keyboard found on its Windows Phones, according to an email sent out to members of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program, according to Windows Central.
The keyboard functions similarly to those launched by Nuance Communications’ Swype and TouchType’s SwiftKey for iOS. Instead of relying solely on a user’s input of individual letters, Microsoft’s Word Flow lets users drag their fingers across the keyboard to plug in words.
— Kyle Reddoch (@WinPhanKyle) January 15, 2016
Microsoft’s WordFlow keyboard was also used in 2014 to break a Guinness World Record for fastest texting speed. However, the record -- 18.44 seconds, set by Seattle resident Gaurav Sharma -- was broken a month later. Brazilian Marcel Fernandes Filho set a record of 18.19 second by using another third-party keyboard called Fleksy.
In addition to words, the keyboard can also suggest emoji so the user doesn’t have to switch between menus while typing. The keyboard is rolling out privately to individuals in the program that have an iPhone 5S or newer, followed by a public App Store rollout in the near future, according to the email.
Apple first added support for third-party keyboards in its iPhone and iPad with the release of iOS 8 in 2014. However, users have noted that their reliability has been a mixed bag due to glitches and bugs that can sometimes appear while using the keyboard in certain apps, according to a thread on Reddit. Microsoft is also expected to bring the Word Flow keyboard to Google Android. But iOS users appear to get first dibs for now.