OpenClip: It Sounded Like a Good Idea…

By  |  Monday, August 25, 2008 at 8:41 am

OpenClip, the third-party attempt to give the iPhone copy-and-paste functionality, has run into an obstacle that sounds like a showstopper: Version 2.1 of the iPhone system software, currently in the works, closes the loophole that it used to give multiple applications access to the same clipboard.

Actually, the OpenClip folks knew that this was the case around the time they readied the announcement of their project, but decided to go ahead anyway. And they’re not giving up all hope: This blog post says that Apple could still decide to enable the functionality that OpenClip needs, and points out that it will still let an application provide copying and pasting within its own walls…it just won’t be able to share data with other programs.

“The goal is to bring the usefulness of copy/paste to light,” says the blog post of the OpenClip initiative. Seems to me that that was apparent already, and has been since the Mac popularized the notion of cutting and pasting between apps back in 1984. But I still admire the gumption of anyone who’d try to add basic system-level functionality to someone else’s operating system. Especially when that someone else is Apple, who’s famous for releasing software updates that happen to disable programming tricks that other folks have devised to get around limitations in Apple software.

It’s dead certain that Apple will add copy-and-paste to the iPhone itself at some point; what’s completely up in the air is whether that point might arrive in weeks, months, or years. It’s not the number-one item on my personal iPhone wish life–that would probably be a to-do list that syncs with the one in iCal. I’ll still be happy when copy-and-paste shows up. though, if only because it’ll free up all the energy folks are spending talking about it to think about new iPhone features that go beyond the profoundly mundane…



3 Comments For This Post

  1. Hari Seldon Says:

    How could this possibly be a good idea? it was obvious straight away that cut & paste needs to be implemented by Apple as a system-wide service. I don’t understand the impatience, we know Apple will implement it, but it’s just not a priority at the moment.

    Why are people in such desperate need of cut & paste?

  2. Drunken Economist Says:

    Spoken like a true psycho.. historian. It’s obvious that Apple is dragging its feet for some reason. That reason is that they do not want the iphone to contain the basic features of a desktop computing platform.

    Copy and paste is innate to MacOSX, *it had to be turned off* or disabled from the iphone version of the OS. Apple’s not fooling anyone, and the still-in-effect Developer NDA, as well as these suprise! behaviors with the [cr]AppStore are a testament to Jobsian arrogance and stupidity.

    Now ask yourself who would want to limit the iphone in that way; the answer is the carriers. The carriers do not have the back end[s] in their networks to support full mobile computing. Jobs still needs their dead hands.

    There’s your mule; the future is held in check by a bunch of mediocre telcos. And by a bloke named SJobs who is NEXTing his baby into the ground. Gates went away gracefully at the top of his game; Jobs will do no such thing.

    Better get used to Windows, because here we go again… John Sculley where are you?

  3. Hari Seldon Says:

    “Copy and paste is innate to MacOSX, *it had to be turned off*”

    I’m confused, the iPhone does not run MacOSX, it runs a derivative thereof tailored to the phone, so copy and paste would have to be put in, not taken out.

    “That reason is that they do not want the iphone to contain the basic features of a desktop computing platform.”

    Excuse me for not knowing about the latest Apple conspiracy theory, but why do you ascribe these motives to Apple?

    Personally, I am in no hurry for copy/paste and I believe Apple will put it in at some point, but then again – I am not looking for nefarious reasons, remember occam’s razor.'s_Razor