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Microsoft is working on bringing its Word Flow Windows Phone keyboard to iOS devices and new images shared by The Verge offer a look at some of the included features, such as a one-handed mode for larger phones like the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.
To enable one-handed typing, the keyboard has an arc-like design with letters radiating out from the iPhone’s display to be reached with just a thumb. The keyboard can be used this way on either the left or right side of the device, so it works for both right-handed and left-handed users. Microsoft’s own devices have a one-handed mode, but it shrinks the letters down to one side rather than rearranging the keys.
Microsoft’s upcoming iOS keyboard also has a standard view like any other third-party keyboard, and it’s said to be similar in design to the Word Flow keyboard used on Windows 10 Mobile devices. The Word Flow keyboard, first introduced with Windows Phone 8.1, is seen as a defining feature of the mobile Windows experience.
It features swipe-based typing like the third-party Swype keyboard on iOS, and it also features a built-in word prediction engine, automatic word corrections and shortcuts, multi-language support, emoji recommendations when typing, and more.
News of Microsoft’s work on a third-party iOS keyboard first surfaced earlier this month after Microsoft began sending out beta invites to select people for testing purposes. It is not known when the keyboard might be ready to launch to the public, but The Verge says it will be available “in the coming months.”
Third-party keyboards have not yet been widely adopted on iOS devices due to ongoing issues with slowness, crashing, and other bugs, so it remains to be seen if Microsoft’s one-handed mode will win over iOS users.
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TechCrunch is pleased to host the live video stream of the Microsoft Ventures London Accelerator demo day. Watch the presentations right here starting at 3:30p GMT on January 27th.
The event is private so this live stream is the only way for the general public to watch the event. Ten companies will take the stage and present their company to a group of investors. Read More
Microsoft today updated its suite of Office apps designed for the iPad and the iPhone, adding features to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil and the 3D Touch function in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have all been updated with the new tools.
On iPads, there’s a new Draw tab that can be found in each of the three apps. The drawing tools in this tab allow iPad owners to use a pen, finger, or Apple Pencil to write, draw, highlight, and annotate various Microsoft Office documents. Hand-drawn shapes can even be transformed into customized shapes. Draw is limited to the iPad and not available on the iPhone at this time.
On the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have new 3D Quick Actions that are accessible on the iPhone’s Home screen. The Quick Actions let users create new documents or quickly open recently created documents. For all iOS 9 users, Microsoft Office documents will now show up in Spotlight search, making it easy to locate files.
All three apps are also gaining a new cloud font feature, which provides on-demand access to fonts. PowerPoint includes one additional new feature not found in the other updates, a Morph update that allows Morph to be used to move several objects at once.
– Annotate with Ink: With the tools on the new Draw tab, use your pen, finger, or Apple Pencil to write, draw, and highlight. (iPad only)
– 3D Touch: Use 3D Touch from the home screen to quickly create or open a file. (iPhone 6s or 6s Plus only)
– Fonts from the cloud: Download fonts on demand, when you need them.
– Spotlight search: Quickly find recently opened documents in Spotlight. (iOS 9 required)
All of Microsoft’s Office apps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. Documents can be created and edited at no cost on most iOS devices, but unlocking additional tools requires an Office 365 subscription priced at $6.99 per month. Using the Office apps on the iPad Pro requires a subscription.
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One of the great things about the days of the doorstop salesperson is that you could slam the door in their face if you weren't in a buying mood. It's not a hint that Microsoft was willing to take, constantly harassing Windows 7 and 8 users to make t…