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« iPhone 3G - Firmware update 2.0.2 | Main | iPhone 3G - Firmware update 2.0.2 part 2 »

August 20, 2008

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Chris Carlin

Your perspective on this can be completely and reasonably turned around:

It's not particularly ridiculous or arrogant for Apple to say that copy and paste was not a high priority: while Apple acknowledges both that would be a great feature and a popular request, it's a feature that comes with a number of gotchas that have to be carefully navigated. It's reasonable that Apple has more important things to do with the iPhone, in particular with regard to picking up after its Mobile Me stumble, than plan a way to do copy/paste the Right Way in the unique environment--both UI and development--of the iPhone.

So we have this guy proposing a solution that applications can use without needing Apple's blessing. An embarrassment to Apple? Hardly! At the worst it's a vindication of Apple, showing that the iPhone development environment has flexibility and capability that others have loudly claimed didn't exist.

Even better, it says positive things about Apple's strategy for managing the application ecology: Apple could have handed down an edict, outlining a One True Way for copy/paste to work, but instead it spent its energy on lower hanging or more important fruit and gave developers time to experiment on their own.

Now I'm not saying Apple is without fault here, or even that this is necessarily an intentional success. I'm only saying that your strongly expressed negative assertions are, at the least, a little too conclusive.

In this case the other side of the coin is quite shiny.

Stephen Skarlatos

With over a year to address this lack of functionality, I stand behind my strong reaction.

It is great for developers to show the full capability of a platform like the iPhone, however there are certain functions that are best handled by the OS. For security and performance issues, I believe Copy and Paste is one them.

Chris Carlin

With "over a year to address this lack of functionality"? You talk like Apple's done nothing over the past year!

It doesn't matter much if it's been a week or a decade: if there were other things more pressing--and in this case there arguably were--then it doesn't matter much how long it's been.

But let's consider your "over a year" timeframe: since the release of the iPhone Apple has created a new development platform that's more or less unique, and that is expected to enable a lot of completely unforeseen uses. It makes complete sense to let developers settle in to the new environment before figuring out what they need from such extra functionality, so why don't we start your stopwatch at the release of 3rd party app support?

And copy/paste is best handled by the OS for security and performance reasons? That's complete and utter nonsense.

Your excitement about copy/paste reminds me a lot of your excitement over 3G: you often referred to it as a dealbreaker, making the iPhone a non-starter because of a gigantic hole in its featureset... but the rest of the market disagreed, as did individual consumers who, in surveys, revealed that they just didn't care.

Chill out, Stephen. Your pet feature requests will be addressed in due time. I'm sure it would have been much easier to implement copy/paste, but it was traded for the SDK.

Stephen Skarlatos

Hey Chris,

It sound like I hit a nerve. Are you a Product Manager at Apple by any chance? Apple makes the choices, they decided on releasing the SDK, 2.0, the iPhone 3G, and me.com all in a 6 month period. All I am saying is they need to revisit some of their priorities (even Steve Jobs is saying that) and I think Copy and Paste is important. They just don't seem to think so and I am pointing that out.

I own an iPhone 3G and use it everyday. I switched from T-Mobile to AT&T. Apple did what they had to, to get me as a customer, but they have a long way to go to meet the functionality of Windows Mobile. That said the grace and innovation of the UI and the fact that Apple's controls the update process (I know it is going to get better and better) got me to switch.

Chris Carlin

Believe it or not, I don't even like to use Apple's products. While I appreciate the great advancements and innovations coming out of Apple, and I find their business models really interesting from an academic perspective, their products just aren't for me.

What I'm trying to point out is a different point of view. You perceive these events as a ridiculous example of arrogance that embarrasses the company, but it's at least as reasonable to propose the complete opposite: it's not ridiculous, but a prudent approach to forging uncharted territory; not arrogance but humility to recognize that they might mess up in haste and that external developers can have great input; and it's not an embarrassment but a vindication of their platform's design.

You're very harsh and definite in your words, but given the other side of the coin surely some moderation is in order.

It's fine to have opinions and suggest, as you do in your last reply, that the priorities need to be revisited. But that's not "all you're saying." You're going beyond revisiting those priorities and insisting, based on our limited knowledge of the situation, that your priorities are the ones Apple should absolutely take on.

And you accuse Apple of arrogance?

It's not my intention to get personal, but it is something I notice occasionally in your posts. I hope you take this as constructive criticism and not an attack.

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