Apple’s introduction of two in-system Tamil keyboards in its iOS 7 mobile operating system could lead to a dramatic shift in the nature of user-generated content, particularly on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, say developers who publish apps (applications) for mobile platforms.

Mobile phones have become the de facto content generators for the digitally connected generation who are constantly generating and sharing content online through their mobile devices. Though there have been Tamil keyboards available in other smartphone platforms, most notably in some Android devices, Apple’s inclusion of Tamil input keyboards is significant for the developer community who still view it as the preferred platform for publishing ‘paid-for’ apps over others.

“This move will surely lead to generation and demand for more Tamil content,” says popular Tamil film lyricist Madhan Karky, who also runs a foundation to help in the growth of Tamil computing. “Apple devices have been rendering Tamil and other Indic language scripts better than any other platforms. Now with input also easily possible, the scenario should change,” he says.

Muthu Nedumaran, author of the popular Tamil keyboard ‘Sellinam’ and who has been featured as a preferred developer for input method editors by leading global companies, says Tamil has one of the highest consumers of content among Indian languages.

“A major role is played by social media which by design is meant to be multi-lingual. The popularity of micro content has now enabled many to speak their mind in the comfort of their own tongue with a guarantee that the recipients will be able to read without any problems.”

The iOS 7 upgrade will bring to eligible Apple mobile devices two keyboards – ‘Tamil 99’ which will display Tamil scripts and ‘Anjal’ a phonetic keyboard. Both the keyboards are developed by the same team as ‘Sellinam’.

This will enable users to type in Tamil directly. One of the areas it could improve dramatically would be ‘News Apps’ where users will be able to type in Tamil keywords.

Another developer K.S. Nagarajan, who has been involved in the development of Tamil input software, says Apple’s move breaks a huge myth the mobile phone industry had so far.

“There have been a few mobile phones with Tamil keyboards in the past. But for whatever reason, the mobile manufacturers offered it only in the low-end devices thinking only they would prefer to write in Tamil.”

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