"Apple has a priority list of features, and we got as far as we could down that list," said Apple’s chief of iPod and iPhone marketing Greg Joswiak in a statement and an explanation why the iPhone’s operating system still lacks a number of important end-user features. It’s no secret that Apple’s own priority list and priority list of its end-users and developers don’t match- and the case of missing the copy and paste feature for the iPhone is a good example of that.
Developer Zac White did not want to wait for Apple and developed a system-wide copy and paste functionality for the iPhone that allows copying and pasting from one supported application to another, without violating Apple’s strict iPhone SDK rules. The SDK prohibits applications from writing files anywhere else besides their own file space but it allows reading from file space of other applications.
White exploited this rule to propose a standard location that every supported application should use to store clipboard content. Copying content simply involves saving selected content to an application clipboard. Pasting is performed by loading the most recently saved clipboard content.
It’s worth noting that this system-wide copy and paste is supported only between OpenClip-enhanced applications. The OpenClip framework isn’t part of the iPhone system, which means that applications that do not specifically use it, do not support this feature automatically. White offers access to his framework for free and has set up an open-source community project specifically created for OpenClip.
At least three developers are now using the framework to enhance their existing applications with copy and paste capabilities. Twittelator (Twitter status updating tool), WordPress (a client for the WordPress blogging service that enables posting articles from the handset) and MagicPad (rich text editor), and but more are reportedly interested to use the framework. This GeekBrief.tv video demonstrates the OpenClip copy and paste functionality.
"However, there are some limitations," White wrote on his blog. "This technically complies with all Apple agreements. It is completely possible that apps that use this wouldn’t get on the App Store. Not for any real reason other than it will eventually step on Apple’s toes. It is also conceivable that the technology this is built on will break in the future. The hope is that the update that breaks this also brings copy and paste support."