AltKeyboard is a noteworthy Cydia tweak that aims to revolutionize the way we type on our iPhone. As show in the image, the tweak adds ‘shift’ keys to the usual keypad so you can actually type those special characters faster.
Basically, AltKeyboard aims to simplify typing special characters. You don’t have to tap the 123 key every time you want to use a special char. Instead, AltKeyboard lets you flick or slide up the normal key to get the special character. For instance, flicking/sliding up on Q produces 1, Z produces a period, X produces a comma etc.
AltKeyboard has been developed by Alan Yip (of BrowseInApp and Tap to Widgets fame) and Sentry (of Auxo). The tweak is available on Cydia’s BigBoss repo for $0.99. The tweak is obviously a boon for people who message a lot, or type on the iPhone a lot.
The tweak has not many settings to deal with. In fact, you get change the behavior (flick / slide up the keys) for the alt keys to trigger. For long-time iPhone users, this might take a little time to get used to. But if you use special chars (like accented vowels and consonants) you might find it a little easy.
A quick video on how to use AltKeyboard Cydia Tweak:
We also got talking to Alan Yip about his jailbreaking adventures, of what he thinks about iOS’s future etc. Here’s the interview:
iGB: Your favorite tweaks? Tweaks you can’t live without?
Alan: Activator, the perfect gesture tweak
iGB: What do you think of iOS in general? The plus(es) and the minus(es)?
Good user interface that provides consistent experience in every apps
Lack of extensibility for third-party developers to create components for iOS (e.g. notification center widget)
iGB: How difficult is it to create tweaks for iOS 6 compared to 5.x?
Alan: I personally think creating tweaks for iOS 5 is more difficult than for iOS 6 because sometimes there are method/API that are only for iOS 6, which causes developers need more time to make backward compatibility.
iGB: Major expectations for iOS 7?
Alan: Of course, the more extensible system. Some JB users only want a customized keyboard or notification center widgets on their device. It will be awesome for Apple to allow iOS apps to have their own widget shown in notification center in iOS 7.
iGB: What started you into developing jailbreak tweaks?
Alan: I worked as a freelancer before developing jailbreak tweaks. One of my clients asked me to develop one and I found that it is indeed interesting and challenging. That’s how I started my development in jailbreak community.
iGB: How has the reception to Tap to Widgets been? Future plans for the tweak?
Alan: It is the most popular tweak among my works. I have planned on releasing an update in June. So stay tuned for it.
iGB: How easy/hard was it to sell your first paid tweak?
Alan: It is pretty hard. It is not the only first time to sell paid tweak while it is also the first time for me to contact bloggers for reviews and do promotion. Since I was not even known by anyone on Twitter and in jailbreak community, it is hard to expose my first tweak on Internet.