John Gruber has written an article about the iPhone’s lack of a cut/copy/paste feature and, although he expects Apple to provide clipboard and text selection in the future, he explains why it wasn’t present in the first place.
The basic gist of the article is that the iPhone’s main function is to allow people to easily consume information rather than create it. The lack of scrollbars and a physical keyboard affords the device more screen real estate, which in turn provides for a better consumption experience.
He still believes that Apple will ultimately provide a way to copy and paste text and photos and that the iPhone will be better because of it.
“Whatever Apple comes up with, it doesn’t have to be spectacularly clever. It could even be an off-by-default preference, like the caps lock feature, so as not to clutter up the screen for typical users. The 80/20 rule says you spend 80 percent of your time using 20 percent of the features. The genius of the iPhone design is that they’ve already covered the common side of the 80/20 rule. But without text selection and a clipboard, the uncommon side remains out of bounds.”
All in all, the article is a good, pragmatic look at Apple’s decision to exclude the feature and it’ll be interesting to see how (and if) it’s implemented in the future.
Clipboard and Text Selection : iPhone :: Arrow Keys : Original Macintosh [DaringFireball.net]