By Quinten Plummer
Apple says it improved and compacted the keyboard in iOS 8. But now that the Android darlings Swype and SwiftKey keyboards have made it into iTunes App Store, the two are among the top most popular apps in Apple’s digital marketplace.
Right now, SwiftKey is the No. 2-ranked free app in the App Store, behind Cool Keyboard for Color Lovers, and Swype is the top paid app. SwiftKey reported the iOS version of its keyboard app was downloaded more than 1 million times within its first 24 hours on the iTunes App Store.
“Obviously we’re overwhelmed that SwiftKey Keyboard shot to the top of the charts after launching on iOS 8,” said Joe Braidwood, CMO at SwiftKey. “We’ve worked really hard on getting something ready for launch and this is the ultimate reward. As for what the future holds — all I can say is we have so much more planned and really, now that we’re a cross-platform app, we’re just seeing this as the beginning.” The keyboard offers predictive typing so as users type the first few characters of a word, it displays a list of suggested words and users can tap the correct word to insert it. The more a user types with the app, the better it learns their writing style.
Behind Nuance’s Swype keyboard, the Fleksy Keyboard and the paid version of the Colors Keyboard of iOS 8 held down the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the App Store’s listing of its top paid apps. Aaron Sheedy, Nuance’s vice president of mobile solutions, stressed the importance of fast and intuitive keyboards.
“The keyboard is perhaps the most-used feature on a phone, so it has to be intuitive, fast, and, of course, it has to deliver incredibly high accuracy,” said Sheedy. “These have long been the guiding principles behind Swype — the original continuous-touch innovation that changed the way people input text on a mobile keyboard, and gave rise to the era of keyboard choice. With iOS 8, now anyone can experience the power of Swype on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.”
While iOS 8 has suffered from other problems early on, the rush to find a third-party keyboard may be due in part to the screen sizes of legacy iPhones. The larger 4.7-inch iPhone 6 models are still making their way out of warehouses and the even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is facing heavy delays.
Retailers in several world markets have been lamenting back orders of the iPhone 6 Plus that could extend into December. Michelle Mermelstein, a Sprint spokeswoman, said her company could still fulfill back orders of the Plus in roughly a month’s time.
“At this time, Sprint’s inventory on iPhone 6 Plus is extremely limited and we are in heavy back order,” said Mermelstein. “Customers can order this device through any of our retail channels with a delivery time of 4-6 weeks.”