Copy and Paste Finally Coming to the iPhone. Sort Of.

Copy and Paste has long been one of the most requested features on the iPhone, and its continued absence has been both frustrating and confusing for many. How can it be that the iPhone – running a finely tuned version of Mac OS X – is unable to perform functions that have been included in text editors since the 80’s?

MagicPad, a new application from Proximi that is currently waiting for approval on Apple’s App Store, is finally making copy and paste a reality on the iPhone. The application is essentially an improved version of “Notes”, and features rich text editing, allowing users to modify font type, size, and color. And best of all, it allows for copy and paste. Users need only drag their fingers over text to select it, and adjustments can then be made on a menubar that appears above the onscreen keyboard (see the video below).

Unfortunately, MagicPad isn’t going to bring true Copy-and-Paste to the iPhone, as there will be no way to copy text between applications (say, from Safari to the Mail client). You’ll be able to copy and paste between multiple notes within MagicPad, which will make it a step up from Notes, but in reality it serves as more of a proof of concept than a solution.

So when will we finally get true, systemwide, copy and paste? Earlier this month, Apple’s Greg Joswiak finally commented on the issue, explaining that it was on Apple’s to-do list but that it hasn’t been a priority. The lengthy wait is almost certainly due to issues with creating an intuitive interface for copy and paste on the iPhone’s buttonless touchscreen. MagicPad’s interface looks like it works well enough, but it takes up a large portion of screen real estate and is less elegant than what we’ll probably see from Apple.

You can see another proof-of-concept for copy and paste on the iPhone here.

Thanks to Apple iPhone Apps for the video.

First Look – MagicPad from Apple iPhone Apps on Vimeo.