At the D11 conference last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company plans to open up a “lot more” on the API front in the future, referring to iOS 7′s unveiling at WWDC.

This has naturally got everyone’s hopes up, including TouchKey, the makers of popular Android keyboard SwiftKey.

Speaking to AllThingsD, TouchKey marketing chief said:

“It’s great they are thinking in that way. That’s very different from the message we would have gotten a year ago. The most obvious API for them to open is the keyboard, because it is the greatest weakness. The keyboard is the thing that needs work more than anything on that platform. If and when the keyboard is liberalized, we would jump on it with the greatest speed we could bring to the table.”

TouchKey currently makes two separate versions of SwiftKey, one for tablets and the other for phones, both priced at $1.99 with free one month trials. SwiftKey has gesture typing, predictive text entry and multi-lingual support.

Even if Apple didn’t want to straight out open up the iOS keyboard to third-party developers, it could take the middle-way and partner with companies like TouchKey and Nuance (makers of Swype) to preinstall keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey. This way, Apple retains its control, but gives users an alternative to the stock keyboard.

What do you think about alternative keyboards in iOS 7? Is it needed, or does the stock keyboard work fine for you?

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