swypeHere’s a surprise from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference: iOS 8, the next version of Apple’s operating system for iPad and iPhone, will add support for third-party keyboards, allowing users to replace the native keyboard from Apple.

This is a breakthrough for keyboard apps including SwiftKey and Swype, which was a Seattle startup before its acquisition by Nuance Communications, which continues to offer Swype for Android.

On stage at WWDC this morning, Apple used Swype as an example in its slides, showing Swype’s signature feature of quickly inputting words by dragging a finger across the screen to connect letters.

Mike McSherry, the former Swype CEO who recently left Nuance, had long aimed to get Swype onto the iPhone. He tells GeekWire via email that he’s “excited to see it finally happen,” noting that Swype’s first meeting with Apple was five years ago.

“I’m sure this will instantly capture millions of app downloads,” says McSherry, noting that Swype support was the only reason he has remained loyal to Android for the last five years.

He adds, “I’ll certainly be checking out iPhone 6!”

Apple’s iOS 8 was shown for the first time this morning, scheduled for release this fall. Among many other features, the company is enhancing its native iOS keyboard with predictive word suggestions as people are typing.

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  • Lucas

    This is so critical to me. I was on Android phones for years until switching to iphone for the media integration and airplay six months ago. Everything is great except 2 things really bug me about iphone – typing is so tedious and screen size is too small.

    With swype possible soon a big iphone 6 screen likely soon, I’ll be sticking with iphone for a long time!

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  • Fernando Segundo

    I would like to have this black and blue theme on the android version of Swype.

  • Michael Harris

    Wow, Apple announces Health app and HealthKit for their phone. It’s not ready until the end of the year though, but man what a game changer, it’s so cutting edge. Well, game changing, cutting edge until you realize the Samsung phones have been doing it for about 2 years and they have a watch that syncs to the sHealth app. Swype for Apple? I had apple users tell me they didn’t need that for years. Apple users, It’s real nice, I’ve been using it for like 42 years. Reminds me of a song, “Where you Lead, I will Follow” by Carol King.

  • JS.Shaker

    Wow. Finally. However, Apple is the good last one…. This feature was on Android, and is on Windows Phone 8.1 as well. By the way, on the Windows Phone, the swipe keyboard is awesome.

  • Bob

    The keynote presenter on this keyboard capability seemed to go out of his way to stress that users are given the opportunity to add third-party keyboards like Swype in two regimes — by default, no info goes back to 3rd party provider, user option given so keystroke records are transmitted to app provider. Really? Does Swype collect user keystrokes? Is this why Apple hesitated for so long to support?

  • Ryan Ruud

    Praise the Lord. I have been begging for years to have apple allow swype technology. It supercedes 10 fold the texting program apple uses. I love apple but damn if they don’t step up their game this next launch I may have to go samsung.

  • lesgru

    I switched to Iphone for the quality of the camera. The small screen and no support for Swype were deal breakers, I switched back to Android! I will defintely take another look at Iphone. Support for Swype and screen size will definitely be determining factors.

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