It’s Soap Box Time! Matt Miller over at ZDNet recently wrote an article about Copy and Paste. His question was whether or not people really need Copy and Paste. To me, this is really one of those “you don’t miss what you don’t have” sort of scenarios. Fifteen years ago, the number of people who would have “missed” the internet if it went away was pretty small. Today if the internet went away, entire corporations would go under, governments would fall, and scores of stores would go belly up in a few hours.
OK, so Copy and Paste isn’t quite like that, but my point is that no one will miss Copy and Paste on a device like the iPhone until they have the power it gives them. Want a good example? Think back to the release of the Windows Mobile Smartphone. People were having fits when they moved from a Windows Mobile Pocket PC. Many simple day to day tasks suddenly became a nightmare of keypad re-entry. Sure, the iPhone has a better keyboard than those early Smartphones but we have a clear test case where no one realized they needed something so badly until they had it, then had it taken away. In the end, guess which device got Copy and Paste?
Now I realize that Matt’s use scenario doesn’t really seem to support this. Clearly he doesn’t do a lot of copying and pasting, but a lot of users do. I for one am a heavy copy/paster. Many of our customers are as well. Furthermore, even hand entering one or two 50 character redirect URLs can make you hate your device. And is that really the sort of experience Apple wants their users to have?
Not having Copy and Paste also stifles the creativity of developers. It’s one more tool that a clever developer can use to make your iPhone experience even better. For instance, right now we can’t copy password and usernames into Safari on the iPhone. The best solution available? Write our own web browser and include it with eWallet! Talk about software bloat!
In some ways cutting back on choices can make life easier and better, but at other times it prevents you from getting the most out of an experience. In the case of Copy and Paste I absolutely believe it’s the latter.
People might gasp to hear me say it but there really are scenarios where Apple would do well to take some lessons from Microsoft’s experience!