Disney has now somewhat belatedly joined the ranks of the numerous app publishers offering their own custom keyboards for iOS 8 users with the launch of an iOS application called Disney Gif. The new app is a mobile keyboard extension that lets you share Disney and Pixar-themed GIFs via text messaging as well as email and social networks. At launch, the app includes over 200 GIFs, the company says, but more will be added in time.
When iOS 8 first debuted, there was a lot of interest from users and app developers alike in custom, third-party keyboards for the iPhone. With the ability to extend the keyboard’s functionality, users could finally take advantage of popular predictive text apps like SwiftKey, or apps that let you “type” via finger swipes, like SwiftKey Flow or Swype. But another favorite category of keyboard apps included those that let you copy and paste GIFs into Apple’s Messaging app, such as Riffsy, Blippy, PopKey, or Kanvas, for example.
These apps offer a wider variety of GIFs than Disney’s own GIF app does, but Disney enthusiasts may appreciate having a standalone database of only Disney GIFs to search across. Plus, parents may feel more comfortable letting their kids or tweens install the Disney Gif app on their devices, as the bigger GIF apps sometimes feature more mature content. (While not necessarily NSFW, you can still find results that aren’t entirely wholesome on those.)
Disney Gif won’t really have that problem. Instead, the app features content from Disney titles like “Frozen” and “Star Wars,” as well as ABC shows like “Once Upon A Time” and “Scandal.” (The “Scandal” GIFs aren’t at all inappropriate, despite the more adult nature of that show, we should note.)
Unfortunately, a collection of some 200 GIFs still feels pretty limited – the “Star Wars” section is one of the largest, but has just a couple dozen GIFs at launch. Disney needs to quickly expand its selection in order to be more competitive with the free GIF apps already on the market. Plus, the GIFs themselves aren’t always as clever as those users create themselves from Disney cartoons and movies – you can often find much better ones on sites like Tumblr or Giphy today.
The app lets you browse by emotion or by Disney films and shows, see what’s trending, and offers a pair of $0.99 in-app purchases for premium “Frozen” packs. (Please don’t tell my kid.) It’s likely Disney will expand its selection of paid downloads in the future.
Disney says the decision to do a GIFs app follows the popularity it has seen with Disney emoji. For instance, the Star Wars emoji generated over 1 billion impressions on Twitter in the first two weeks they became available. Plus, the company adds that GIFs and other content help to grow Disney’s social presence – for instance, its Facebook pages for characters and films today have over 1.5 billion “likes.”
Disney Gif is a free download on iTunes.