Pygmy Reviews #53 – iOS Apps

Swype Keyboard ($0.99)

One Line Description: A custom iOS keyboard that supports swiping a finger around instead of traditional typing.

Swype is not a new concept. It was first released for Android nearly two years ago and came to iOS with the custom keyboard support in iOS 8. It allows the user to swipe their finger back and forth across the keyboard and then turns those swipes into letters/words based on when/where the finger changed direction. It works surprisingly well.

It comes with it’s own version of what Apple calls QuickType allowing the user to pick words as they go, or autocorrect as they see fit, and can be used like a regular keyboard, thus making it a reasonable option as a full-time replacement. It seems vastly superior to one handed typing (at least on the iPhone 6), but might not be better than two handed typing in most situations. That likely would just come down to preference. It seems that most people prefer SwiftyKey over Swype, but Swype doesn’t require full the keyboard access that SwiftKey does and therefore provides a more secure option.

In regular typing/non-swiping scenarios, it isn’t as good as the built-in Apple keyboard, but it works great in the swiping world. At $0.99 it seems worth a shot, despite the horrible app store reviews.

Emoji++ ($0.99)

One Line Description: A slightly better implementation than the current stock emoji keyboard.

The default emoji keyboard on iOS 8.3 is a vast improvement over it’s predescessor. Emoji++ has the long scrollable list first and still seems to make it easier to just scroll through every emoji there is. It also allows favorites to be stored so they can easily be re-used. It also has a section for recently used icons to pick from. It’s not a drastic improvement over the existing implementation, but at $0.99 it is worth it for anyone that uses emojis with any regularity, and would seem like also a requirement for anyone who is an emoji “power user”

Narwhal (Free)

One Line Description: A simple Reddit client

The previously mentioned Alien Blue comes loaded with eye candy and fancy interface ideas, but Narwhal overall is probably a better Reddit client. It looks nice, and uses swiping in lots of clever ways to keep buttons hidden. It has a few minor quirks though. For some reason it always shows the Reddit front page briefly when opened before showing the user’s front page. It seems like a bug, and one that should be easy to correct. It also has no way to view the sidebar for a subreddit, something that has been mentioned as a future feature but never delivered on. It also takes some trickery to get to the iOS share sheet, and so saving images and articles can be more complicated than they need to be. Still the interface is much less jarring than Alien Blue, and it provides a nice enough experience to warrant taking a peak. It is surely one of the better Reddit clients out there, which is needed since Reddit lacks any sort of mobile website version. It’s free, so it can’t hurt to try unless no sidebar access is a dealbreaker.

Tally 2 (Free)

One Line Description: An app to keeping counts of things.

I am really not sure why Agile Tortoise (which writes one of my favorite iOS apps Drafts) decided to re-write Tally, or why they decided to continue to make it free, but this is one of those apps that is nice to have tucked away in a folder in case you need it someday. Pretty much anything you can think of is built into this app. Tallies can be named, they can start or be manually set to any value, they can count up or down and by any set amount. Tapping on the screen changes the value by the default count and swiping down does the opposite. There is even a Today widget to quickly access current Tallies!

If you are someone who has to regularly count things this is a no brainer option. But again this is the kind of app that some people might occasionally need and it’s nice to have around just in case.