This feed item on Techmeme got me all excited earlier in the week.
Digging more deeply, it turns out not to be copy and paste, but rather an open source solution called OpenClip that iPhone app developers can use to accomplish copy and paste.
Because Apple forbids third party apps from running in the background, but allows this behavior for its own (e.g. iPod, alarm), true copy and paste is a pipe dream until Apple makes it a reality. Apparently, Apple doesn’t think copy and paste is a high priority, since it fell off the 3G list.
Created by Zac White, OpenClip uses shared space that any application can read from/write to, so any app that adopts the OpenClip framework can accomplish copy/paste with other OpenClip-enabled apps. This clever workaround also sidesteps Apple’s ban on plugins that allow apps to work with each other on the iPhone.
Unfortunately, there are obvious problems here.
- No adoption, no copy/paste. Because OpenClip isn’t an app, like MagicPad, which does copy/paste but only inside MagicPad, it requires that adoption by developers.
- Apps from Apple won’t support OpenClip. I’ve missed copy/paste most in Mail and Safari, but neither would have it.
- Apple isn’t very forgiving of apps, even if they comply with the terms. Remember I Am Rich? It seems likely that Apple would pull apps that support OpenClip.
I guess we’re stuck without official copy/paste until Apple pushes it up the priority list. I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt this was a must have feature from the beginning.
What do you think? Find the comments.