Just a few days ago Microsoft published their Hub Keyboard to the Apple Store only weeks after it initially went to Android. The news was odd if only because we knew that Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard was destined for iOS as well.
Were Hub and Word Flow keyboards one and the same or would Microsoft release two keyboards for Apple and Google?
Tonight, we have our answer as the Word Flow private beta has evidently begun. A reader of the site sent us a copy of the email notice along with a gallery of screenshots from the new iOS keyboard. The Store listing mentions about keeping the test private (sorry) and boasts some of the features of the keyboard, including:
It's Blazing Fast
- Whether you're tapping or swiping, Word Flow predicts what you're trying to type and corrects mistakes.
- Word Flow intelligently suggests the next word in your sentence and gets better at it over time.
- With access to your Contacts, Word Flow auto fills the names of your contacts so you can go even faster.
Personalized – just how you like it
- You can customize Word Flow background using one of the images included in the app, or use your own favorite image.
- All the images included with the app are free, and we'll keep adding new ones.
Best for one-handed typing:
- Switch to Arc mode and easily reach keys on larger screens for a more ergonomic one-handed typing experience.
Update: We can now confirm that shape writing aka swiping is part of this initial release as well.
Besides having Microsoft's intelligent typing engine iPhone users evidently get to have customized backgrounds as well through built-in Themes. Looking at the screenshots and it appears there are at least eight themes for now that add a unique and colorful background to the keyboard. Users can also add their own image for added flair.
The keyboard download is 80MB, and it is currently version 1.0 (build 113). The current version requires iOS 9.0 or later and only supports English for now.
The beta expires on June 7, 2016, which may give a hint as to when Word Flow for iOS will officially launch, though we will have to wait and see. So far, Microsoft has not said anything publicly about the new software and whether it would be going to Android as well. Going by Microsoft's past practices, we bet Android fans will get their hands on this keyboard sooner than later.