OpenClip copy-paste for the iPhone (

[Editor’s note: Why Apple didn’t include copy paste functionality out of the box on their iPhone is beyond me. demos a 3rd-party developer solution to add this functionality to apps. Developers using this copy-paste technology for upcoming releases include Twittelator, WordPress and MagicPad. Let’s hope version 2.1 of the iPhone firmware update in September makes this even easier.]

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Cut and Paste for iPhone from Cali Lewis on Vimeo.

When Apple released the iPhone, the praise was consistent and so was the criticism. The praise was about the revolutionary interface and the criticism was about the lack of 3G, GPS and Copy and Paste. Apple made 3G and GPS happen, but they said Copy and Paste isn’t a priority. The first place we saw copy and paste for iPhone was on an application called MagicPad. The guy behind that app, Juviwhale, met a college student, Zac White. Zac White figured out how to implement copy and paste on any iPhone App without violating the iPhone SDK agreement.

Zac started a non-profit, open-source community project called OpenClip. When a developer adds the OpenClip framework to an iPhone app, that app gains copy and paste functionality. On Brief 410, I demo copy and paste on the iPhone using un-released versions of Twittelator, WordPress and MagicPad.

Apple forbids applications from running in the background because it would take up too much of the iPhone’s resources. Also, developers are not allowed to create plug-ins that make their apps work with other apps on the iPhone. Zac White’s Open Clip framework uses a shared space on the iPhone. Any application that includes Open Clip can then access the common area and write to it, and read from it, thereby enabling copy and paste between participating apps.

The key to making OpenClip work is adoption. Zac’s framework is non-profit. It’s open-source, and his project makes the iPhone even more useful. I recorded an audio interview with Zac so if you want to listen, it’s here. In our audio conversation, Zac talked about the ideal implementation and problems to be solved. Developers who are interested in finding out more can find the video here.

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