Minuum is one of the many third-party keyboards for iOS 8. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
With iOS 8, iPhone and iPad owners for the first time ever can replace Apple’s default virtual keyboard with a third-party alternative.
Doing so — with keyboards made by SwiftKey, Swype, Fleksy and others — could vastly improve your touchscreen typing experience. Not only do some of these keyboards make typing easier, but they also boast innovative features, like the ability to type words using simple swipes instead of taps. Many of these keyboards are completely customizable, so you can set their size and color scheme to suit you.
If you haven’t already installed a third-party keyboard, you’re missing out on one of iOS 8’s best features. In this guide, first we’ll tell you about the best keyboards available from the App Store right now. We’ll also run through the features that make them unique, show you how you can customize them and make them work for you, and explain some important concepts, such as “Full Access.”
Apple has been improving Siri since the intelligent assistant first made its debut on the iPhone 4S back in October 2011, and has also been working to expand its availability; it’s now available on all the latest iOS devices, and some older ones, too. It seems inevitable that Siri will one day be introduced to the Mac as well, and that day could be getting closer as Apple searches for new engineers who will be tasked with bringing it to the desktop.
There are many third-party apps out there that let you dictate on your Mac. Dragon Dicate is one, but it costs $199, and includes a ton of extra stuff, like controlling your Mac with your voice. If you just want to talk instead of type, say in an email, Tweet, or Facebook status update, you already have what you need built right in to your Mac running OS X Mountain Lion.
As a new owner of an iPhone 5 that can take dictation, I’m still playing around with Siri and the various places and times that it makes sense to use my voice instead of the keyboard. Obviously, a crowded, quiet room is not the best place to speak to my iPhone, but in the car certainly is. It’s even better that I’m not texting with my fingers in the car, either, since that’s just plain dangerous. For a quick message, now, I’m gonna use the iOS 6 dictation feature.
Apple’s got an entire Knowledge Base article on how to best use dictation on your iOS 6 iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S, and as I read through it, it struck me how much easier it will be to respond to text messages should they come in while I’m not in a place to easily type a reply. One thing that surprised me was the recommendation to speak punctuation aloud.
Dictate now supports Mountain Lion’s new Notes and Reminders apps.
Nuance has today announced Dragon Dictate for Mac 3, the latest version of its popular dictation software. In addition to being faster and more accurate than the previous Dragon Dictate 2.5, this release also boasts “more features than ever before,” including new Smart Format Rules, wideband Bluetooth support, new correction capabilities, and more.
We knew it wouldn’t be long before VMware’s Fusion 5 had a competitor. Today Parallels has announced the release of Parallels 8 for Mac, the latest edition of its flagship virtualization software, which includes support for Windows 8, and boasts Retina-ready visuals for the new MacBook Pro. Other improvements include support for Mountain Lion Dictation, Bluetooth sharing, and Launchpad integration.
I featured UX Write in one of my must-have apps roundups when it first hit the App Store, because it’s one of the best word processors available on iOS. It has now received its first update, and it’s a fairly major one, introducing support for external keyboards, autosave, dictation on supported devices, and more.
Many of Mountain Lion’s new features are perfect for businesses, schools, and enterprises.
Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features. Some of them are dramatic and hard to miss while others are minor conveniences that don’t stand out immediately. Many of those big and small new features and improvements have a lot of appeal for business users.
Here’s a list of the many new features in Mountain Lion that can help professionals in almost any industry work smarter, more efficiently, and more effectively.
Does Siri belong in the workplace? If so, is it worth potential security and privacy issues?
The news that IBM bans Siri for every employee that has an iPhone 4S and participates the company’s BYOD program unleashed a lot of discussion about whether the company was being paranoid or prudent. One of the bigger questions to come out of all that discussion was a reframing of the issue itself – does Siri have a place in the business world to begin with?
Setting aside the security and privacy issues that led IBM to ban Siri, are there compelling use cases for Siri in the workplace? If there are, do they outweigh the privacy and security concerns? Could Apple do more to make Siri business-friendly?
Apple has gotten a fair amount of flack over Siri – most of it relating to Siri not recognizing words or phrases, misinterpreting requests, or providing incomplete or inaccurate answers. Apple is even facing a class action lawsuit over Siri not working as promised by iPhone 4S ads.
For IBM, however, the concern isn’t that Siri won’t work as advertised. Big blue is worried that Siri will work exactly as advertised and that confidential and sensitive information will leak outside IBM’s network as a result. For those reasons, the company disables Siri on the iPhones of its employees.