Seller: Yin Sha
Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
Compatibility: iPad (Path Input Pro and Lite available for iPhone and iPod touch)
File Size: 9.3MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Age Rating: 4+
TopApp’s Path Input is an intriguing text input solution for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. It’s not yet a fully satisfactory replacement for the default iOS keyboard for productivity, and its unique features tend to tilt a bit toward clever gimmickry rather than practicality (IMHO), but it’s interesting, free, and may well be the answer to some users’ keyboard needs.
Path Input’s distinctive features include:
- You can input a word by drawing its path on the keyboard. For example, to input the word “book,” you can touch down your finger at key ‘B’, move to key ‘O’, then to key ‘K’ and lift up your finger. This input mode can tolerate the error. In the above instance, if you lift up your finger at key ‘L’, you can also get the word “book” since “bol”, “bool” or “boll” is not meaningful or common English word. It’s clever, but I’m not much of a gesture jock, and can’t imagine any ordinary circumstance where I would find that input mode more appealing or useful than plain typing. However, some folks may find it to their liking, especially on smaller screens.
- Insert Space Intelligently – When you input words continuously with Path Input gestures, the space between them will be automatically inserted. Unfortunately doesn’t work with keyboard input.
- Prefix Prediction – You can input any long word by only drawing its prefix. For example, to input word “quickness,” you can just draw the path “q-u-i-c-k-n”. And if “quickness” was not the word you were shooting for, a selection bar with other potential choices beginning with “q-u-i-c-k-n” pops up and you can make the desired selection with a tap.
- Distinctive Shift Key – With Path Input, clicking the Shift key can easily switch the word before the cursor, for example, “good”, between “Good”, “GOOD” and “good.” If there is a selection, all selected text will become uppercase or lowercase. I had mixed results with this potentially very useful feature. I would prefer a conventional shift key and a dedicated uppercase/lowercase/capitalization toggle key.
- One-Key Copy – You can forward your text to Message or Mail using buttons at the bottom margin of the interface, and easily copy the text into system paste board by clicking only one key at the bottom tool bar. This copy is global. You can paste it anywhere, including in other apps. This works fine, but it’s not all that much faster than just using select all and copy-paste. No Dropbox support, alas.
Path Input Keyboard supports English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian and Dutch. More languages are promised soon.
Note well, however, that the Path Keyboard is not a system keyboard that can be used with any apps, and is only available in the Path Keyboard app, because, as TopApp explains, developing system global keyboards for iOS is prohibited by Apple.
The Path Input onscreen keyboard includes a numerical keypad on the right like a freestanding extended keyboard layout. That’s convenient in some respects, but also makes the qwerty keyboard smaller. I guess one could get used to that, but personally I find the default iOS keyboard in landscape mode on my 9.7 inch iPad no larger than I like. The Path Input ‘board on an iPhone or even an iPad mini will have much smaller key buttons than I prefer for normal typing, although it will mean less real estate to cover when gesture typing. In any event, you can instantly toggle to the iOS default keyboard by clicking the switch button at the upper right corner of the net race window.
There is no Undo key in the Path Input keyboard, so one has to revert to the default keyboard for that, which can be a bit tiresome. I also wish there was a Forward Delete key, although that’s a deficiency shared by most iOS ext apps.
Aside from the keyboard, Path Input’s user interface is conventional for text apps, with a workspace window on the right and a file browser list on the left. The app settings allow you to configure any of six different appearance themes (I’m partial to brown-on-yellow “Classic”) and your choice of 18 different fonts.
With input modal innovation a growing software development trend, we’ll likely be seeing more apps like Path Input Keyboard. For now, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 rating, but I expect it will do better than that as development continues and it becomes more refined.
Download Path Input