Sending keys to iOS safari not on element


Env summary-
appium 1.4
iOS 8.4 real device
python bindings
Appium running on mac with latest xcode and osx.
Automating a webapp on safari browser on real device.

Scenario- I want to send a string to the safari browser but not to an element. I searched a lot on internet for option and found out that- driver.keys(‘abc’) method can do that. But when I use this method I get an error that- webdriver does not have attribute keys. Is there any method which can directly click on the on screen keyboards ? (I know a dirty workaround by using touch actions and the coordinates of the keys on the soft keyboard, but I am looking for a better approach.)
Has anyone tried this before. Please let me know if you know more about it.