Posts tagged “magicpad”.

iPhone cut and paste preview: how the Newton did it

September 8th, 2008

The idea for cut and paste on the Newton is simple: scribble a word, press the stylus on the word until the highlight marker appears, highlight the word, and then either (a) double tap and drag or (b) just grab the word and drag it to the side of the screen (above – but there’s a great video demo over at Mental Hygiene). Your “clipped” word will appear on the side of the screen, slightly smaller and truncated.

When you want to paste, simply grab the word with the stylus and drag it where you want it. It’s not true “cut and paste” because the word doesn’t disappear, but the effect is similar.

There is also “primary” clipping, says this site:

…which is the last clipping that you touched with your stylus. Some applications have “cut” and “copy” and “paste” menu options, for the benefit of people with keyboards — if you choose “cut,” a clipping is automatically created on the side of the screen and becomes primary. If you choose “paste”, the primary clipping is unhooked and pasted in.

But with screen real estate at a premium on the iPhone, a mini-word on the side might be too large still. How do you “grab” a word? Or highlight it? Can you have multiple items in your clipboard? Can we trust a cloud-based method, after MobileMe’s ups and downs? Will it be a third-party solution, despite Apple shutting down the OpenClip project? Is there a smarter way?

The technical side of cut and paste is far beyond my grasp. Besides, others have handled the explanation of how it was done far better than I could. But we can learn from the past. Just like the Newton and its standards (highlight, pull and drag, double-tapping for the keyboard, etc.), the iPhone has standard ways of doing things. Perhaps all that’s needed is a new standard, such as a hold-and-click, or like the keyboard buttons that MagicPad showed us.

But with evidence that copy and paste is on Apple’s to-do list, we’re left to wait it out.

Any ideas on how the iPhone should do copy and paste?