For the first time ever, Apple's opened up iOS to third-party keyboards, the company said today. The new feature — which is a part of iOS 8 this fall — lets users pick keyboards from other companies instead of the one Apple's shipped on its phones and tablets for the past few years. On-stage, that included Swype, which lets users slide their fingers across the keyboard to spell out words.

Pick the keyboard you want

Numerous companies have tried to get around Apple only allowing the use of its own keyboard. That includes SwiftKey, offered up its own predictive keyboard inside a specialty app for Evernote earlier this year. A more aggressive move from Fleksy took aim at individual apps by offering a replacement keyboard, though other developers needed to add it to their apps, meaning it wasn't a system-wide solution.

The change comes on top of a new predictive keyboard feature from Apple called QuickType that will roll out alongside iOS 8. It shows word suggestions as you type, something Apple was toying with in iOS betas all the way back in 2011, but didn't end up putting in front of users in the US.

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