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Swype, SwiftKey, and other 3rd-party keyboards coming to the iPhone and iPad

Apple has announced an unexpected, and very exciting, new feature for iOS 8 during its WWDC keynote presentation — third-party keyboard support. It’s the first time Apple has opened up its keyboard this way, but naturally, it has thought about security to make sure nothing unpleasant slips in.

Although no keyboards were specifically mentioned, the picture displayed a Swype-like gesture keyboard, indicating the very popular option will be coming to iOS. We doubt it’ll stop there either. We’ve seen SwitfKey try to muscle its way into the App Store, coming as an option inside the SwiftKey Note note-taking app.

Third-party keyboards have long been popular on Android, and they’re likely to become equally as ubiquitous on iOS. Apple has been sensible though, and won’t be letting any keyboards to access the network by default. If the app does want to have a chat with a server somewhere, the option to let the app use Wi-Fi or your network connection will be added.

Rumors are rampant that Apple will launch a pair of large screen iPhone devices this year, and the opportunity to add custom keyboards, which may add a high degree of new functionality on the bigger display, could be imperative to their success.

Apple will release iOS 8 later this year, but we’re expecting to hear more about new keyboard options soon.