SwiftKey Note

SwiftKey Note

As a former BlackBerry user, I can testify that typing on glass isn't the most intuitive thing in the world. The lack of proper feedback means that I end up making a whole lot more errors than I would if I could actually feel my way around the keys, much like I can on a physical keyboard. So, if you own a modern touchscreen smartphone, you can either opt for something like Typo (please don't), or you can get your hands on a keyboard replacement app on Android. However, if you're on iOS, you're out of luck. Or are you?

SwiftKey Note is a brand new application from the house that brought you the wonderful SwiftKey Keyboard on Android. There's a lot of competition in the keyboard replacement field on Android, but for my money (all $3.99 of it), SwiftKey is by far the best. It has an incredible prediction engine, multiple languages and a Swype-like entry method dubbed 'Flow', to name a few of its features. It is my go-to keyboard on Android, and the first app I download on a new device. And now, SwiftKey is attempting to bring its magic to your iOS device.

Because of Apple's 'walled garden' approach to iOS, a user can't replace their keyboard on system-wide level like one can on Android. In order for SwiftKey to enter iOS, they had to do something different, which is exactly what they did. Unlike Fleksy, SwiftKey didn't replace the default iOS keyboard with their own. They enhanced the existing keyboard with their 'Prediction Bar', a slab above the main typing area with three predicted words, quite similar to the way it is implemented on Android. Also unlike Fleksy, SwiftKey Note isn't just an app in which you quickly enter text and then manually copy it to where you want it to go. No, SwiftKey came up with an ingenious idea – Evernote integration.

I use Evernote all the time, but one of my chief complaints with it (or with any note taking app, for that matter) is the fact that when I have an idea, I want to jot down the text quickly before distractions and/or the vagaries of poor memory kick in. Unfortunately, 'quickly' and 'accurately' are mostly mutually exclusive on touchscreen phones. This is where SwiftKey Note comes into its element. Because of its amazing Predictive Engine, SwiftKey not only recognises and corrects basic typos, it also recognises missed spacebar taps and can, over time, even predict what you'd like to enter next. I've never entered text on my iPhone quicker. A rightwards swipe of the Prediction Bar reveals options to format the text, which is very thoughtful.

This is a v1.0 app, so there are a few drawbacks. For one, while all your notebooks are present, only notes you create within the app are visible to you. The notes and notebooks you created in Evernote are still there, just not in SwiftKey Note. This prevents me from replacing the Evernote App with SwiftKey Note on my home screen, which is a shame. I understand that SwiftKey's hands might be tied, though. There is also no Dark Mode, which bothers me when I attempt to add notes at night. However, considering the restrictions they've had to deal with, SwiftKey have done a wonderful job, and I heartily applaud them. However unlikely it may seem, here's to hoping Apple recognises their brilliant work, and does something about opening up the Keyboard API to developers like them.

SwiftKey Note is available for free as a universal app on the App Store.

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