One keyboard to rule them all, One keyboard to find them, One keyboard to bring them all and in the darkness bind them… Nintype is an incredibly revolutionary new keyboard from long time iOS developer Jormy that helps you speed through texts at over 100 words per minute! It was just released a few days ago on the App Store for $4.99 and it is most definitely worth the price. Don’t let the overwhelming amount of customization or crazy awesome animations deter you, it can be dumbed down to look almost exactly like the iOS keyboard but with all the amazing features still there hidden beneath the surface. As someone who has never been able to fully grasp the use case of swipe keyboards mainly because of a few jailbreak tweaks like SwipeSelection and SwipeExpander, I have fallen in love with Nintype.
It wasn’t quite love at first sight, but it was close. After disabling the battery hungry features like animations and LCD effect, which are really dang cool, I was able to dig in and start swiping with glee. One thing that makes it really easy for people like me who aren’t into the swipe thing is the ability to peck type and sort of ease into gestures — you are able to slowly integrate swipes into your normal peck typing at your own pace. One could make the argument that you don’t even have to use the gestures and it would still be an incredible keyboard. It also comes with a feature packed note taking app which rivals powerhouse apps like Drafts and Notability.
It even has a split keyboard mode similar to the one Apple introduced for iPads to make typing on them a bit easier. This will come in handy if used on a iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, or even if you just have small hands. I personally never really type in landscape, however, I have in the past so I can see where this will be very helpful for some. It even recognizes key presses on the blank keys in the middle, so if you are used to swiping there it would still recognize it. This could easily make Nintype a contender for the world record for fastest smartphone typing app which is currently Fleksy.
Long words are a breeze most times with one or two fingers — Nintype learns as you type with a word ranking system within it’s dictionary so you can add and customize words to your liking. This can start to become really complex fairly quickly, with the added ability to add customized macros called quickpastes from the built in iOS shortcuts menu by adding a “!!” after it without the quotes, more on this in an in depth article for advanced settings later.
There are a few other things to play around with that can enhance your ability to speed though typing for example; Flick Autocomplete allows you to flick from the spacebar over to the left or right and automatically complete a frequently used word, Chord Gestures that allows you to hold the spacebar and flick from a certain assigned letter or symbol, and Top/Bottom Edge Slides that I still don’t fully understand, but I think it has to do with the quick paste yet works differently. These settings are pretty daunting at first glance and can intimidate the average user, however, I recommend leaving most of them alone at first and just get used to using the keyboard. My advanced tutorial post(s) will cover them in detail and walk you through how they all work and how to set them up.
He has even implemented a speedometer to show you how many words per minute you are typing, here you can see what I’ve maxed out at so far which was 198 WPM! I have some slight doubts that this was correct, but that has nothing to do with his development abilities and more to do with iOS’s handling of third party keyboard API’s. That being said, I am going to casually attempt the world record with Nintype once I get it down a little better. While I don’t really expect to get very close, it will be fun. Who knows maybe I’ll be the next world record holder?
You can access the speedometer by holding the spacebar and scroll up while still holding your finger down then releasing it on the speedometer icon. As with all the settings in the app, it’s a little difficult to navigate at first, but once you get the hang of it, it all fits together. One thing that I do suggest is have a dumbed down settings mode that is easier for less technical users to understand.
One of the the best and last features I will cover in this review is the ability to move the cursor by swiping on the spacebar and also deleting by swiping from the delete button. Essentially it’s the same as SwipeSelection, but only as much as what Apple will allow with their APIs. Currently, Apple isn’t allowing third party keyboards select text which is one of the most useful features of Swipeselection. This is a good reason why most people jailbreak and a lot of people wonder why Apple hasn’t implemented it into stock iOS. I will admit that the integration of this is what made me stick with Nintype, I am very accustomed to swiping the keyboard when I want to move the cursor after using SwipeSelectionPro for so long and at this point I suffer without it.
I’ll be taking a vote on the backspace slide behavior : http://t.co/FM1Alw8WHv
— jormy (@jormy) December 7, 2014
Jormy will be implementing some new functionality into the backspace slider and has created a survey for users to chime in on their thoughts one way or the other, go vote which way you’d like the slider to function!
Thanks for reading everyone! I will be making a few most articles regarding Nintype going over some of the more advanced features that let you customize the look and feel as well as implementing even more functionality. Additionally, I also have an interview that I will post with some of my thoughts to go along with it. So, stay tuned as there are some interesting and juicy tidbits in his journey of making this keyboard for iOS, lets just say that he almost dropped iOS entirely and went to Android. Lucky for us he stuck with it and made this incredibility beautiful beast for us to enjoy.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on Nintype or other third party keyboards in the comments below!