Kannada keyboard on iPhone is now a reality

Kannada keyboard on iPhone is now a reality

Tech giant Apple has introduced a Kannada keyboard in the latest version of its operating system, iOS11.

That marks a triumph of sorts for users who had campaigned at least for five years to be able to write Kannada on their Apple devices.

The latest release means iPhone and iPad users can now write notes and send text and email messages in Kannada. Malayalam is the other Indian language included in the latest iOS.

“The decision to include Kannada and Malayalam keyboards in iOS11 is part of the company’s policy to support Indian languages. We try to add as many languages as possible, from across the world, with each update,” an official in Apple’s India division told DH. The company is headquartered in Cupertino, USA.

Apple added Tamil in its iOS7 back in 2013. In iOS9, it added Hinglish (converting English to Devanagari script), Telugu, Punjabi and Gujarati. Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Urdu are the other languages supported on its operating system.

On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled iOS11, which incorporates the Kannada and Malayalam keyboards, in San Jose. Apple has not announced a release date yet. However, if iOS10 release dates are any indication, then the beta version of the latest update should be available within a month. The final release is expected in September.

The languages are available on devices that can update to the latest release. (The company cuts off support as it phases out older devices)

Thousands of users had written to the Apple support group on Twitter, Facebook and email, demanding a Kannada keyboard. The Apple insider acknowledged the campaign, but attributed the inclusion to an internal process.

“Including more and more languages is a continuous process. Kannada and Malayalam are part of the latest iOS because work on those keyboards was completed,” he said.

The updated keyboard allows third party developers to come up with Kannada apps. So, is a Kannada user interface coming up for the operating system? “At the moment, it’s just keyboard support,” the Apple insider said.
DH News Service

Sustained campaign
Kannada Grahakara Koota, a forum of Kannada consumers, has used Twitter and Facebook since 2012 to seek a Kannada keyboard.

“It was a consumer-driven campaign. Google and Microsoft came up with Kannada support ages ago, but not Apple. We sent hundreds of mails and messages to them,” said Koota member Babu Ajay Kumar.

Google recently expanded support for Kannada, offering more services in the language. It placed the language second-best among all Indian languages to adapt to the internet. Kannada is spoken by a little over five crore people, according to the 2001 census.

“We’re happy with the inclusion in the latest iOS,” said Ajay Kumar. “Better late than never.”

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