iOS Hacker Begins Porting Swype To (Jailbroken) iPhones

When it comes to Swype and their crazy drag-through-letters-to-type alternative keyboard of the same name, there’s only one problem: it’s really, really tough to give up once you’ve gotten used to it. Alas, I’ve gotta deal with the withdrawal symptoms each and every time I jump from an Android device back to my iPhone, due to restrictions inherent to iOS.

While Swype was purportedly working on something for iOS in June of last year (and, as the rumor mill had it, trying to convince Apple to make it official) all word of it went silent pretty quickly.

The mission has been revived, it seems, albeit with someone else behind the charge: Andrew Liu, developer of the “DreamBoard” theming hack for jailbroken devices, has begun to “port” Swype to iOS.

Early this morning, Andrew released the first build of his Swype project, following up a few hours later by uploading it to a public Cydia repository.

There are a few catches:

  • As you may have guessed from all this talk of Cydia (and the fact that it involves modifying the iPhone’s keyboard), your device will need to be jailbroken.
  • A number of behaviors that Android Swypers will have grown accustomed to (such as the blue line that is drawn from letter to letter as you trace) aren’t implemented yet. This is the first release, and is pretty barebones.
  • The hacked keyboard currently only functions in Apple’s pre-installed applications and a very small handful of third party apps. Liu says he’s working on a fix for this.
  • It’s a bit buggy, as is to be expected from a first release

We put “port” up above in quotes, by the way, as it’s not quite clear how much of this is actually Swype and how much is from-scratch code written to recreate Swype’s behaviors. While Andrew is calling the project Swype (which… probably isn’t the best idea, in the long run), it also seems like a lot of it is being built from the ground up rather than ported from one platform to the other.

The guys over at iPhone Download Blog threw together a quick video demonstrating the psuedo-Swype running on iOS. Check it out below: