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…