One of the most notable features missing from Apple’s iPhone 3G is the ability to copy text from one location and paste it to another. But thanks to a new Web service—no, it’s not an application—called Pastebud, copying and pasting within the iPhone’s Safari browser, and back and forth between Web pages and the e-mail app, just might become a reality…and soon: Reports indicate that both free and $5 commercial versions of Pastebud could be available as early as tomorrow.
Pastebud employs Safari bookmarks to enable iPhone copy and paste. One bookmark displays the page from which you want to copy text, another appears to contain all the Pastebud commands. The service lets you drag a finger across on-screen text to highlight it, and the secondary Pastebud bookmark is used to copy that text. Once a selection is copied, you can paste it into an e-mail or onto another Web page using the Pastebud commands.
And because Pastebud’s not a standalone piece of software, it’s not subject to Apple’s strict—to say the least—App Store approval process.
Pastebud isn’t the first third-party attempt at bringing copy and paste to the iPhone. Back in August, OpenClip seemed promising, but Apple made some technical tweaks that did away with that option.
And though Pastebud’s not “true” copy and paste in the full sense of the term—it only works in the Mail and Safari—the existence of such a service is a big step in the right direction. Especially since the majority of copying and pasting would likely be performed in these apps anyway.
It’s ridiculous that Apple hasn’t added some sort of copy and paste function to the iPhone yet, but I’ll take what I can get until it does. My only reservation relates to privacy. When you copy text using Pastebud, it has to be stored somewhere. (Pastebud servers?) Since the Pastebud website is not currently live, there’s no privacy information available.
It still remains to be seen whether or not Apple will find some way to block Pastebud, but I plan to give it a try as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned…
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.