Developer creates copy-paste tech for iPhone

OpenClip is designed to be a community standard for iPhone developers who want to add copy-paste functionality to their creations without waiting around for Apple to introduce it.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

One of the common complaints about Apple's iPhone--and one that did not get solved with the launch of the iPhone 3G--is the lack of a copy-paste function. An independent developer, Zac White, recently unveiled his open-source solution: OpenClip, a standard for other iPhone application developers.

He's not the first one to have that idea: another developer, Preston Monroe, has created a hack called iCopy that lets iPhone owners copy and paste between the e-mail and Web browser applications.

OpenClip is not a standalone app but rather a technology that developers can incorporate into their iPhone applications, should they choose to participate. No applications yet support OpenClip, but it's coming soon for the American Heritage Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus applications, Twitter client Twittelator, notepad application MagicPad, finance lexicon Wall Street Worlds, and a number of others.

iPhone users will be able to copy and paste from one OpenClip application to the next, but not to developer applications that aren't participating or to Apple's own iPhone apps, such as its e-mail client or the Safari browser.

Apple has acknowledged that copy-paste functionality will be officially coming to the iPhone, eventually, and OpenClip's creator has recognized Apple's plan.

"Instead of just waiting on the sidelines, we wanted to help iPhone users and Apple by being proactive and trying to help with a solution," the site's FAQ reads. "While just an interim fix until Apple adopts a systemwide version, OpenClip hopes to add to the iPhone user experience and provide a working case study for Apple, hopefully allowing (company engineers) to roll out their version more quickly."