Microsoft’s keyboard for iPhones spotted in the wild

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Microsoft is working on bringing its Windows Phone keyboard to iOS, and part of that process involves internally testing the software before it’s released to the public. Thanks to images and information obtained by The Verge, we’re getting a good look at what this keyboard looks like during the testing phase.

The most interesting aspect to Microsoft’s iOS keyboard is the unique one-handed mode, which fans out the keys in a way that makes every one of them easy to reach with a single thumb. This design certainly looks unorthodox, but it appears to be more suited to one-handed use that Windows 10 Mobile’s one-handed keyboard, which simply shrinks to one side.

Word Flow for iOS, as the keyboard is currently known, also brings Windows Phone’s excellent prediction technology to iOS. Predictions aren’t a strong point of the stock iOS keyboard, so Microsoft’s technology here could make their keyboard a better option for iPhone users.

Other typical smartphone keyboard features are also included in Word Flow, such as swipe input, and a full emoji keyboard. The one-handed mode is unique to this keyboard, but every other aspect should be very familiar to Windows Phone users.

It looks like it will still be several months until Microsoft releases this keyboard to the public, with an Android version also expected to launch later this year.

Apple releases “patch” that unbricks iPhones affected by Error 53

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Earlier this month, The Guardian highlighted an issue in which iPhones that have had their Touch ID-equipped home button replaced by third-party (unauthorized) repair centers were essentially bricked after connecting to iTunes and upgrading to iOS 9.

Apple described “Error 53” as a “security check.” iOS checks to see that the Touch ID sensor correctly matches the hardware in the phone as the two were paired at the factory. If iOS sees that the Touch ID sensor doesn’t match the phone’s hardware, the feature is disabled to prevent someone from using a fraudulent Touch ID sensor – something that doesn’t even yet exist according to iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens.

Nevertheless, Apple has published an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 that will restore iPhones bricked by Error 53 and prevent future iPhones from running into the same problem following an unauthorized repair. Note that the update is for those that update their phones via iTunes only (those that update over-the-air wouldn’t have run into Error 53 to begin with).

In a statement issued to TechCrunch, Apple said Error 53 was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Those that paid for an out-of-warranty replacement based on the issue are urged to contact AppleCare regarding a reimbursement.

It’s also worth pointing out that this patch will not re-enable Touch ID.