SwiftKey, a popular Android keyboard option, has arrived on iOS. No, not as a keyboard that you can install to replace Apple’s iOS touchscreen keyboard, but in the form of a free App Store application. The name of the application is SwiftKey Note and it is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. More details below:
I’ve been testing out the application for the past couple of weeks, and it works as advertised. The keyboard’s user interface design is virtually identically to that of the Apple iOS 7 keyboard, but it has enhanced text-correction, word prediction, and text editing. The predictive text system works in the form of a bar on top of the keyboard.
As you type a word, the system will provide three words across the bar that it feels will be your next word. In my tests, the system is pretty accurate and actually makes typing on an iOS device quicker than without the prediction bar. In my early test, the system had its flaws and inaccuracies, but after a few days of usage, I got used to the keyboard and it learned how I type.
For anyone who wants to speed up their typing or try out an Android fan-favorite, SwiftKey is well worth a try. In addition to the improved text correction and prediction functionality, I enjoy the editing bar. If you swipe the text prediction bar off to the left, you are presented with a bar for managing bold, underlined, and italicized text. I found the controls here (rather than in the Apple text editing bubble system) more natural and easier to use. This bar also offers indentation and bullet point controls.
As a notes app:
The application has two main note taking modes. The first section is standard Notes and the second is a Notebooks mode. The standard notes mode is similar to Apple’s bundled Notes application. Notebooks mode is essentially just a folder system for your notes. You create a Notebook by storing multiple notes in one group. Additionally, you can assign tags to your notes for simple sorting.
The user interface for the application is flat, clean, and simple to navigate. Aside from the central keyboard functionality, SwiftKey Note is not a powerful note taking application by any means. However, it is simple, focused, free, and a no-brainer to download and give a try. It’s an excellent replacement for the bland, hardly-capable Apple Notes app in iOS 7.
One of the marquee features of SwiftKey Note is its deep integration with Evernote. With this feature, the keyboard can learn from the sentences and text already saved into your Evernote account. It can also allow you to store your notes on your Evernote account. The application comes standard with an English (U.S.) keyboard, but German, English (UK), Spanish, French, and Italian keyboards can be downloaded for free within the app.
The application also has a built-in usage section for monitoring typing efficiency, keystrokes, typos corrected, words predicted, and words completed. This menu gives the user an idea of how well they are taking advantage of the application.
SwiftKey across iOS:
As such a powerful keyboard, the biggest downside to SwiftKey is that it is locked to this app. Apple does not allow third-party keyboards to be used in-place of its own iOS keyboard, and the company has made no indication that it will ever allow that. SwiftKey’s only workaround would be to offer its iOS SwiftKey technology as something that other application developers can integrate into their own apps, and such a plan is something SwiftKey has said is being considered.
“We will definitely be open to working with other third-parties in the future, just as we do on the Android side,” SwiftKey told us. “We have already built an iOS toolkit which is part of our SwiftKey Healthcare offering,” the company added. SwiftKey also said it is looking “forward to hearing from potential partners after the launch.”
As for its work with Apple, SwiftKey was not open to sharing many details. “Apple have been aware of this product throughout its development, they’ve approved it and been supportive,” SwiftKey told us.
The app is available today across iOS hardware running iOS 6 or newer, but formatting functionality is exclusive to iOS 7 and up.