By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 04/24/2014
I have migrated much of my work to the iPad where possible. I still have to use a MacBook to develop apps and for serious Photoshop and video work. But more and more I find myself using apps on my iPad to perform my daily tasks, especially writing. Alas, the virtual keyboard presents its own set of challenges. SwiftKey has turned those challenges into an advantage. A traditional keyboard can't really change. Sure, you can set the Caps Lock, or hold down the Shift or Option keys to get different results. But SwiftKey leverages the virtual nature of the onscreen keyboard by offering AutoCorrect and presenting word suggestions directly above the keys, as you type.
This means, as long as the app does a good job of guessing your next word, you don't have to type it! You do have to move your finger off the letter keys but it's a small distance and can be less work than typing. They even offer statistics to tell you how many keystrokes you saved! Fortunately, those predictions are personalized based on your context and a learning algorithm that understands words and phrases that you typically use.
SwiftKey integrates with Evernote, and supports English (US and UK), Spanish, German, French (France and Canada), and Italian. The app has been downloaded over a million times in the first month alone and the developers have taken feedback and updated the app. Given the "artificial intelligence" nature of the app, the more users, the more SwiftKey can learn how users use the app and what features are needed. For example, landscape mode is supported on all devices, not just the iPad. SwiftKey is not just about text entry, but the latest version offers swift access to formatting options like Bold, Italic, Underline, Indent and Bullet Points. So now you can type faster but also produce a formatted document faster. And the best part? SwiftKey Note is free! Apple should really consider acquiring this technology, but in the meantime, you can get it at no charge!