Update: Swiftkey is having some issues getting their app on the App Store, so please be patient.
We’re aware SwiftKey is taking a while to process into the App Store. Thanks to those who are waiting for your patience!
— SwiftKey (@SwiftKey) September 17, 2014
iOS users rejoice! Soon you’ll be able to join your Android brethren and break at least a few of the chains of tyranny forced upon you by your Apple overlords. As has already been widely reported, iOS8 will usher in a new age by allowing 3rd party keyboards. Two perennial favorites on Android, SwiftKey and Swype have already thrown their hats in the iOS ring and will be available as soon as iOS8 drops (which should be any minute now, honestly).
SwiftKey started it’s life as a paid app on Google Play, but recently switched to a Freemium model. That doesn’t mean that you’ll need to pay extra if you want to use the “e” key or anything, they just offer additional skins for the keyboard via in-app-purchases. iOS will receive the base SwiftKey app for free, just like their Android using friends. According to TechCrunch, the market for additional skins is not currently available on the iOS version, but SwiftKey also managed to develop the entire iOS app in the 3 months since it was announced, so stay tuned, the additional skins will probably come along at some point.
SwiftKey has more than 10 Million downloads on Android with an average rating of 4.5/5 so you’ll be getting a quality replacement keyboard. SwiftKey is a smart keyboard, in that it learns based on how you use it. Do you frequently talk about waffles on Twitter? SwiftKey will remember, and more readily suggest “waffles” when you’re tweeting. Now I really want waffles…
Another Android favorite – Swype – is coming to iOS today as well. Swype comes pre-installed on quite a few handsets, and is also available in the Play store for $.99. Swype has a slightly lower 4.2/5 rating, but quite a few users (this writer included) prefer Swype over the other available options.
Swype has impressive features of it’s own. Swype’s text prediction is solid, and they also offer tight integration with Dragon Dictation for voice support. Another feature of Swype is their Living Language model. Are a lot of Swype users talking about Mauritania, or their capital city of Nouakchott? Swype will update the Living Language dictionary so that once you join in the conversation, you’ll be able to talk about Nouakchott easily, even if for some crazy reason you might not know how to spell it. iOS users will also be able to purchase Swype for a buck later today.
Both SwiftKey and Swype offer several methods for text entry. SwiftKey started as a tap-only interface but expanded it’s capabilities with swipe entry. Swype used to be swipe-only. Since being acquired by Nuance they refer to themselves as a Four-in-one keyboard, offering swipe, tap, voice, and writing entry.
Both options offer a quality text-entry experience, and which one you prefer will really come down to personal preference. SwiftKey is free, so trying that should be a no-brainer, but if you’re really torn on Swype, you can probably find an Android user that will show you the ropes.
This newfound freedom of choice doesn’t come without some casualties. As TechCrunch reports, it’s possible that the popular typ0 screenshot site – DamnYouAutocorrect – might go the way of the Dodo. They do also mention that changing keyboards on iOS is a bit of an undertaking though, so there may still be hope for all of the goat-dryers out there afterall!
Are you an iOS user waiting for a new text-entry experience? Let us know in the comments below or on your very favorite social network.