Minuum Previews Its Size-Shifting Virtual Keyboard For iOS 8

Toronto startup Minuum is readying its iOS 8 custom keyboard software, now that Apple has made it possible for developers to create that kind of app. The system-wide Minuum virtual keyboard is nearing completion, just in time for the launch of iOS 8 in September, and its developers are looking for those eager to be among the first to try out the software.

The Minuum app for iOS features a neat trick that will probably appeal to users who want some kind of middle ground between a keyboard that fades away completely and one that takes up half of your visible screen. The keyboard can zoom from a standard full-scale mobile QWERTY to Minuum’s trademark single-line input. The large keyboard is designed to help users train their own custom dictionary to make the standard, minimal Minuum keyboard more effective, but the best part is that users have options.

We’ll likely see a flood of software keyboard options from developers timed to coincide with the launch of iOS 8, including the usual suspects like SwiftKey and Fleksy, but whether or not users will replace the stock keyboard with third-party options in any significant numbers will be very interesting to see.

“This is a pretty large set of users, so I agree that it’s not going to be 50 percent of iPhone users doing this right away,” Minuum CEO Will Walmsley explained on the phone when asked about the challenges of winning users. “I’m assuming it’s going to be a much smaller proportion, but I have very high hopes. I think SwiftKey has proven that keyboards are fundamentally interesting as apps to users. They were, for a long time, the number one app on the entire Play Store.”

Minuum is hoping that basic curiosity translates to iOS, and indeed, third-party keyboards is one of the features that seemed to attract a lot of attention when Apple unveiled its platform. Users will start to get a taste likely a week or so following the Apple event reportedly taking place September 9, so there isn’t long to wait.