1. dgoodisi's Avatar
    As for copy/paste, there are many ways it could be done easily with multitouch. For example, to select, circle the text with your finger. Or to select, put down two fingers side by side at the start of the selection region, then move one to the end of the selection region. Or to select, touch and hold the start and end point with two fingers.

    Once you have selected, i think you would agree it's easy to gesture "copy" or "cut."
    I'm not convinced inre cut/copy and paste. If only because if it could be done it would already be there.

    Circling the text might work with a single word, but what about a character, a sentence, a paragraph, or text that extends beyond the screen. Anyway circling is moot as right now that just moves the viewport in circles.

    The two finger slide method also fails, you can't select text that spans lines or extends off the screen.

    Perhaps the two finger method can select blocks of text, (like the block select feature of some text editors). Again, how would you select text that extends off the screen, or wraps back on itself?

    Let's suppose you do select the text; of course there would have to be some kind of popup to state if you are copying or cutting the text. Obviously on a web page this would be a copy only, but an email would be both copy and cut.

    So now you have selected the text and you need to paste it. How would you identify the insertion point? You can't tap, you need to do that to get to the next page, different app, etc. You can't circle or use the two finger technique because that means copy. What to do?

    Again I maintain if copy and paste were possible it would already be there. This is simply to basic a concept for a "smartphone" to not deliver without it. Of course I may be wrong, and I hope I am.

    But then perhaps a buddies comment sums it all up the best, "I don't really miss not being able to copy and paste. The iPhone is a video iPod with a phone tacked on; and I am OK with that." (he is an ex-PPC 6700 user).

    I would further wager it is this additude that Apple is counting on.
    07-20-2007 06:25 PM
  2. cmaier's Avatar
    The "if it could be done it would be there" thing makes no sense. Lots of things can be done but aren't there (yet). I guarantee cut/copy/paste will be there and will use gestures of some sort. Rather than responding to your individual complaints, here's one that avoids your objections:

    Tap and hold with two fingers side-by-side. A magnifier comes up, but you use it to start the insertion point. Remove your fingers. Scroll to wherever you want to end the selection. Tap and hold with two fingers again, and use the magnifier to adjust the end of the insertion point.

    Remove your fingers. This does a copy, and highlights the selected area. If you want to cut, just swipe a line through the selection region (or make an x, or double-tap, or whatever).

    Now go to where you want to paste. Press and hold (again, with 2 fingers). Use the magnifying glass to pick the exact destination. Remove your fingers to paste.

    We can extend this further for common operations. Tap a word with two fingers and it defaults to selecting the word (if you don't hold your 2 fingers down). Double tap, and you get the sentence. Triple tap and you get the paragraph (or the entire textarea, or whatever makes sense given the context).

    This is all a semi-natural extension of the mouse, where one finger = position, and two fingers = click (or shift-click).

    Happy now? I'm really baffled by your "it can't be done" attitude. It shows a tremendous lack of creativity - I mean, the screen can detect and track up to three fingers at once. And my ideas don't even use modal buttons. If you add that idea (for example, use the one finger hold technique that currently brings up the magnifier, but have the magnfier have a "start selection" button as well) then various other methods come to mind.
    07-20-2007 06:42 PM
  3. cmaier's Avatar
    btw us patent application number 20060026521, assigned to Apple, discusses selection versus tracking extensively, and claims methods of selecting two regions and performing different operations on them (like copy vs paste)
    07-20-2007 06:59 PM
  4. braj's Avatar
    I'm sure it could be done and done elegantly. Why it wasn't we can only speculate. At some point I'm sure Apple will want to target the business market and they will have to have it implemented by then. Personally I would have liked a traditional menu system, I don't think just because you introduce new tech you have to throw out tried and true methods necessarily. You could have an icon that is displayed when a menu is available, and then a gesture that simply displays the menu, then you select items just like you would in OS X. I dunno, it would work fine for me.
    07-20-2007 07:08 PM
  5. cmaier's Avatar
    In the short-term, menus or cascading buttons or the like would have definitely been a way to make people feel more comfortable. Having used the iphone now for a couple of weeks, however, I have to say it all feels very natural (except, as I've frequently pointed out, where things are inconsistent between different applications).

    It remains to be seen whether new features can be integrated into the iphone framework without resulting in too many compromises. As a UI-geek, I have high hopes. I expect they will have to add modality but will do so without menus (at least as we currently know them). Perhaps something like the rotational menus that surround objects when you click on them in the Sims, perhaps something else entirely.
    07-20-2007 07:34 PM
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