At long last, Apple has blessed its users with the option to replace iOS 8’s native keyboard, opening up a world of typing customisation that Android fans have been living in (and gloating about) for years.
While the native iOS 8 QuickType keyboard has improved typing features like smarter text predictions and better autocorrect, it’ll be a shame not to take a few new keyboards for a spin, now that the option’s there.
Thumbs at the ready…
Minuum (R25)[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niV2KCkKmRw”]
This Indiegogo product pegs itself as “the little keyboard for big fingers” and it’s quite unlike other keyboards currently available. Instead of three rows of keys, you get a single condensed row. Swiping right inserts a space, swiping left deletes a word, and thanks to a clever prediction engine, you don’t have to hit each key accurately. Given how small the keys are (to increase screen real estate), this is a very good thing.
Fleksy (R12)[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuLFcZ0O05M”]
This clever keyboard broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest touchscreen message ever typed. Impressive stuff. Fleksy’s main strength is its gesture support, letting you swipe left to delete words or down to change the words. A quick flick up is all it takes to add custom words too, without faffing around with dictionary settings. You can swap around the theme too, and badges which inform you when you break your own typing records are a nice touch.
Swype (R12)[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnlDyF–RqI”]
Swype, as you’ve probably guessed, is a keyboard that made its name through swipe-based, rather than traditional tap-based typing – an advantage for speedy one-thumbed use. It lets you input words from two languages, personalise your keyboard (height, length of vibration, long press delay) and learns the way you type so you’ll rarely make mistakes again. If you’re not keen on swiping, you can choose to return to good old typing, speaking or even writing.
SwiftKey (Free)[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oilBF1pqGC8″]
This Android best-seller was one of the first keyboards to land on iOS. The customisable adaptive keyboard allows you to swipe instead of type so you don’t lose your grip on your iPhone in the middle of a particularly heated conversation. It also guesses what you’re going to type next with scarily accurate predictions, intelligently learned from your typing habits.