Let’s face it. The default keyboard that Apple made for their devices sucks. Even with the QuickType technology infused in their latest iteration of iOS 8, the predictive and auto-correct ability are still bad. So bad that there’s even a website with full of these stupid auto-correct mishaps that could actually entertain anyone reading it.
Apple had blocked the access into keyboard interface in iOS for so long, insisting people and developers together to use their default keyboard interface. However, things got changed with the release of iOS 8. The latest iteration of iOS lets third party developers to come in and substitute the original iOS keyboard with their own. Now Apple users finally have the ability to choose which keyboard interface they would use to their liking.
The ability to choose what app that would handle the keyboard touch-based interface is actually not a new thing. Google’s Android, the biggest rival of Apple’s iOS, has offered this capability way earlier. Google different approach to this matter had let third party developers to develop their own version of Android keyboards to substitute the stock keyboard in the OS. Some of these third-party keyboards did really good, even better than the stock one. Many of my friends who use Android do use these third-party keyboards as they offer better predictive input, auto-correct function, or even more features such as swipe-to-type feature that lets a person to swipe their finger across the keyboard instead of tapping each button to type a sentence.
It didn’t take much time for these developers to port their technology into iOS after Apple had given the access. Major third-party keyboard apps began to flock the App Store. Apple also helped them to promote their apps by putting a special category in App Store homepage, showcasing these apps into a category that is easy to be found. Names like SwiftKey, Minuum, Swype, or Fleksy can be found side by side in this category along with their user reviews. Now people can choose an alternative keyboard, whether it is paid or free, to substitute the stock iOS keyboard.
During my short time owning an Android device, I particularly like SwiftKey to become my primary text-input interface. Not only because it is free, it also supports a sheer amount of languages in the world, including Bahasa Indonesia. I was skeptical at first about how good an app developed by foreign country would support the predictive and auto-correct ability in Bahasa, but I was surprised that the app did a pretty damn good job indeed! Its ability was so good that I’d say the app did not make any mistake in 9 out 10 instances. I even felt comfortable typing a full-length article on my cellphone using SwiftKey keybard.
i was quite happy when SwiftKey became one of the first iOS keyboard alternatives that got available after iOS 8 had been officially launched. However, my happiness got discounted when I realized that not all of its Android capability got ported immediately. Among all the features that was missing in iOS, support for Bahasa was also absent in its early version. I got curious and actually sent them an e-mail to ask this absence, only to get a response from one of their customer service representative saying “soon”. No choice, I guess?
The days went by with SwiftKey app got forgotten on my phone, until I stumbled into a category of apps that had supported Bahasa in App Store homepage. I was surprised seeing SwiftKey was among the apps in it. With the release of version 1.2, the app now supports 11 new languages, including Bahasa. The auto-update feature set on my phone made me missed this important info, which made me use the stock keyboard until now. After knowing this, I didn’t waste time to download the Bahasa support in SwiftKey and activated it instantly!
SwiftKey keyboard has become my primary keyboard ever since. It offers the same reliability that it counterpart in Android has. I rarely make any typos these days, and its predictive input capability is getting better the more I use it. It only supports two languages at the same time, unlike the Android version that can handle up to three simultaneously, but it doesn’t bother me much. As for stock iOS keyboard, I could happily say: good riddance!