Small app studio seeks to build the 'perfect' iPhone keyboard

Next Keyboard
Source: Next Keyboard

Next Keyboard is an app that wants to offer Apple's iPhone users what it calls the "perfect" keyboard.

The startup reached and surpassed its $10,000 Kickstarter funding goal in only two days. The company has so far raised $14,072 with 40 days remaining in the campaign.

Robleh Jama, founder of Tiny Hearts, the five-person, Toronto-based apps studio that created Next Keyboard, said reaching $10,000 has been great but quality apps cost far more to make.

"This is our most expensive project and we put in far more than $10,000, so we are definitely still looking for more backers. Our new goal is to become the highest-funded app on Kickstarter," Jama said.

Apple's iOS 8 launch in September triggered the creation of several third-party keyboard apps—custom keyboards were not previously possible because Apple closed off access to its stock keyboard. But Jama said most keyboard apps launching now are merely replicas of android phones keyboards. Next Keyboard, on the other hand, has been built exclusively from the iOS perspective, Jama said.

"From day one we have been talking to iOS users online, on Reddit, to see what they want changed," Jama said. "We have a better understanding of issues that are specific to iOS and what's more in line with how Apple does things. The end goal is to make users happy but also create a product that Apple could get behind and support."

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The app's highlights:

  • Smart cursor swipe: Editing text messages is easier. Instead of maneuvering the zoom-in magnifying glass cursor to the right spot, simply swipe the space bar back and forth with your thumb to move your cursor to where you want it.
  • Swipe texting: All you need is one finger to type out your message; just swipe in the chronological spelling of your words instead of typing them out.
  • Suggested emojis and words: The app predicts which words you want to use next and suggests emojis so you don't have to go searching for one.
  • Customize your keyboard: Swap the gray and white keyboard interface with one of Next Keyboard's colorful layouts. Switch between themes depending on your mood.
  • Information security: You don't need to enable "full access" to use Next Keyboard. The app does not collect user data and sell it as a part of its revenue model.

So far, 5,000 people gained early access to Next Keyboard in a sneak peak but the app won't be available to the general public until February, Jama said. Kickstarter backers will receive early access. The app's price is yet to be determined; previous Tiny Hearts apps have sold for less than $10. Its alarm clock app, Wake, cost $3.99 and its fitness app, Quick Fit, cost $6.99.

"We want to solve problems using apps," Jama said. "To make lives better in small and meaningful ways. That's our philosophy."

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