A recent post on a new iPad app, inku prompted a question from a reader on how inku app compares with CoWriter US app (19.99 for iPad – not CoWriter Universal). A great question, considering cost and needed features of an app when working with struggling writers.
Here are some of the similarities and differences:
- Both apps allow saving documents
- Both apps have some topic dictionaries available
- Both apps provides choices of levels of the user vocabulary (from basic to advanced)
- Neither apps provide folders to save documents by topic or subject
- Both app provide option to change text to speech rate
- Both apps provide ability to change size of text
- Both apps provide predictive phrases
- Both apps allow text to speech prior to insertion (slide finger over predicted word in Co:Writer app; press speak button in inku)
- Provides options to read by letter, word or sentence
- Allows choice of font type
- Provides topic dictionaries and ability to create a topic dictionary
- If using basic iOS keyboard allows use of voice recognition tool within the app
- Use of voice recognition tool does not always sync with word prediction list
- Word prediction only offered above onscreen keyboard
- Provides additional formatting options (spaces between lines, color of text, alignment of text, bullets or number list options)
- Offers three levels of spelling help: Need a lot of help, Need some help, Pretty good
- Provides general topic dictionaries that can be turned on/off: Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, History, Math, Physics and Sociology
- Keyboard hot keys or abbreviation expansion is offered in the app settings
- Writing environment (called the Message Window) can be customized : font type, font size, font color, background color, opacity
- In line word prediction and above keyboard prediction offered
- Voice recognition tool (iSpeech engine) provided in the inline word prediction tools
- Inline word prediction offers text to speech of each offered predicted word
What’s the bottom line?
Working with the two apps there are pros and cons of each.
- First, inku is less expensive and worked very reliably on my iPad with iOS 9. CoWriter US also worked reliably but is twice the cost if you are considering purchasing one of the two apps. I like the word prediction topic dictionary options in CoWriter and the fact you can customize a topic list. Turning on inku app specific dictionaries also offered topic words I was attempting to spell.
- When generally typing with word prediction, CoWriter appeared to offer contextual vocabulary (better recency, offering words previously typed in the predictive list) more readily than inku.
- The inku app provides inline word prediction, which for some users I find important for visual scanning of the word prediction list. CoWriter only offers word prediction above the keyboard which can be harder to monitor and visually scan.
- inku app provides text to speech and voice recognition tool offered with the inline predictive list. The voice recognition tool in inku app synchronized wonderfully with the word prediction list. The voice recognition processing was slow however (this could be dependent on my Wi-Fi system however). Use of the standard iOS keyboard voice recognition tool can be used with CoWriter however, it did not sync as well with the word prediction which could cause confusion and on occasion caused additional spelling problems.
- inku’s inline text to speech offered with the word prediction more intuitive than Co:Writer’s text to speech. inku’s speaker image is easily recognized for producing TTS where as Co:Writer’s TTS is not readily apparent (thank you to Carolyn Rasta for making me aware of this feature!) for listening and reviewing the word audibly prior to selection. I find using TTS prior to selection important for individuals with significant spelling and language challenges.
Cowriter is a great app and great for younger writers and if you have this app already you might not need a new one. inku app may be considered if you are looking for an app for writers who want to adjunct their written production with voice recognition. inku’s integrated voice recognition tool, (although slow) provided another solid option to generate vocabulary writers can voice but not spell (no more dumbing down!). I really prefer the feature of having predicted words spoken aloud (TTS) within the word prediction list as offered by inku.
You may already have other word prediction apps that combine some of these features. Check out this updated OT’s with Apps Word Prediction Feature Match (10-2015) that provides a comparison of iOS word prediction app features.
What’s your favorite iOS, Android or Google Chrome word prediction app? So many choices!
Thanks to Diane N – a great app curator for her question. Hope this helps Diane!
Edited on 12/12/2015 adding correction regarding text to speech as shared by Carolyn Rasta. Thank you Carolyn for catching and sharing!