One of the more substantial additions to Apple’s iOS 8 software might be third-party keyboards, which allows users to install packages (like Swype) that allow them to enter text in different ways than just hunt-and-pecking. But why type text like a sucker when there’s an animated GIF for all occasions? PopKey is an upcoming keyboard for iOS 8 that lets you send people GIFs, emoji-style, instead of just words.
PopKey will work by grouping trending GIFs by keywords, which you can then tap and insert into messages and emails. So if someone asks you if you want to hit the bar for a few drinks, instead of sending back a boring text-only affirmation, you can send them this instead:
And not only can you search for GIFs within the keyboard (and upload your own), but all of your favorite GIFs are stored in a special tab, which can then be accessed with a tap. I can tell you already that when PopKey comes out, this will be the first GIF I store in my faves:
Another thing I find interesting about third-party keyboards like PopKey is that they have the potential to solve the problem of adding new emoji. Emoji are a powerful, accessible communication tool, but the process of getting an emoji added to the standard is opaque and labyrinthine, leading to few new emojis popping up on phones. But who needs to wait for more emoji when you can install a third-party emoji keyboard, or even send animated, emoji-like GIFs instead?
There’s no word yet on when PopKey will actually drop on the App Store. You can sign up to be notified when it does here.