Review: Predictive Typer – an iOS keyboard replacement?

First let me voice my full displeasure with Apple’s keyboard for small screen devices (iPhone and iPod Touch). Over the years, one would think I would get better, more accurate, and more efficient at using my thumb(s) on the tap the keys on the screen. Yet I find no improvement in my typing skills, and feel like I hit the backspace – or the nearby return key – more than any other key.

I was so jealous of Android’s swipe-style keyboard (slide – or swipe – from letter to letter and release on the last letter) that it’s one of the jailbreak apps I installed. However, it’s an “either-or” decision for me because I’m mediocre at using it as well. And if I forget to swipe and tap too fast? I get a mishmash of both iOS autocorrected taps and jailbroken interpreted swipes.

Borrowed from Android as well, Predictive Typer may very well be the best alternative to using the iOS keyboard for lengthy typing. And it’s darn good at what it does. Spooky good.

What is it?

As you may read from the header image, Predictive Typer… well… err… predicts what your next word will be and offers the choices to you in a small bar above the keyboard. It doesn’t replace your keyboard (no thanks to Apple… phooey) but instead is a standalone note-taking app that can sync across devices using iCloud. It doesn’t replace the email or Pages app, but instead provides an in-between place to craft what you want to type and paste into those other apps.

Now hold on. Don’t scoff and move on. I know that sounds ridiculous. But if you’re typing a relatively long note and have to spend a lot of time backing up and correcting your own typing, this is a time saver.

predictive_typer_menu1.jpg

How good is it?

It makes typing entertaining. It’s intriguing to see whether the app is as predictive as it claims. I can tell you that it is. And it learns from what you regularly use and provides more frequent words in your voice.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t a perfect alternative. If you are spending your time glancing at a bar above the keyboard instead of the keyboard itself, it’s a little disorienting. But I do the same thing when I glance away from my thumbs to look at iOS auto correcting my mistyped words too. And how many times have you said “live you” when you meant “love you” because autocorrect didn’t catch it?

It also takes getting used to. My wife claims that it might be useful for words longer than 4 or 5 letters otherwise, “why lose your place on the keyboard?” With a little practice, I was making faster time using PT than without – and I could use the help.

iPad version?

Since its a universal app, Predictive Typer also works on iPad. But here I find mixed results for several reasons. If you’re using a split keyboard and typing with your thumbs, then there is no grey bar above the keyboard. Now the word selection does show up below the cursor, but that can be miles away from the keyboard.

The grey bar reappears when the iPad keyboard is merged, but the distance seems inconvenient and not as useful as when on an iPhone keyboard in portrait mode.

And in landscape mode, it just seems silly to use PT because the iOS keys are large enough that you’d have an upper-body workout using it.

Try it. You’ll like it.

If you find the iOS keyboard on a small device as irritating as I do, or you are intrigued enough to see how predictive the app can be, Predictive Typer is worth the minimal investment. With a little time and practice, tell me what you think of predictive typing!

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At the time of this writing Predictive Typer is available for $1.99 at the App Store.

Predictive Typer was provided to iSource for review by its developer. For additional information, see our “About” tab.

 

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