On iOS 8 and predictive typing

There’s a world of difference between autocorrect and predictive typing. Autocorrect is like ordering food at a drive-through window via a balky speaker. You order something, and a voice at the other end reads back what you ordered. If you don’t pay close attention, you’ll miss the inaccuracies and won’t get what you wanted. There’s a constant monitoring required on your part to avoid mistakes that are a combination of clumsiness on your part and a lack of contextual understanding on the other end.

Autocorrect is active and will hijack your typing if you don’t pay attention. Predictive typing, on the other hand, is more of a passive experience. Use it if you like, don’t if you don’t. Predictive typing keeps you in the driver’s seat.

Predictive typing is smart, but passively smart. While autocorrect tries to tell me what word I am trying to spell, predictive typing tries to grok the context. For example, if I type, “I lifted the” and then hit a space, my three word choices are “ban”, “ban on” and “same”. These are reasonable guesses and, if they are right, a single tap and I’ve saved myself some typing.

Autocorrect is still there, but in a more passive form. When you hit space to end a word, iOS 8 will make a correction if need be. If you don’t like the change, hit delete and a bubble will appear with your original typing. Tap the bubble and either move on or make any corrections. This form of autocorrect works well for me, is a much less frustrating experience.

There’s great attention to detail here as well. For example, if I tap on a word to accept it, a space is automatically placed at the end of the word so I can continue typing. But what if I am at the end of a sentence? If I hit a double-space, a period is placed at the end of the previous word and the caps key is down, ready for the beginning of a new sentence (as you’d expect). If you type any form of punctuation (a ? or , perhaps), the space is erased and the punctuation mark is placed immediately after the last word entered.

Not sure who at Apple was responsible for this bit of code, but if I find out, next time we are in the same place, beers are on me.