If you think back to the release of the first iPhone back in 2007, you may recall that the first Apple phone lacked cut, copy, and paste functionality. Now, a former Apple engineer has shared a very simple reason why that feature was missing on the first-gen iPhone.
Ken Kocienda joined Apple in 2001 and was a key engineer on the development team for the first iPhone. On Sunday, Kocienda shared an amusing anecdote detailing why the first-generation Apple handset didn’t have cut, copy, and paste.
The original iPhone didn’t have cut/copy/paste. Infamous! The quickest explanation is that I didn’t have time to do it right. I had too much keyboard, autocorrection, and text system work to do. The design team didn’t have time either. So we passed on the feature for 1.0. https://t.co/SLncIxohkk
— Ken Kocienda (@kocienda) June 19, 2022
According to a tweet by Kocienda over the weekend, the team simply didn’t have the time to “do it right” before the first iPhone shipped. The former Apple engineer said that he was kept busy working on the device’s keyboard, autocorrect, and text functionality.
The team did finally get to work on the device’s copy and paste functionality. Kocienda added that the “magnifying text loupe,” which would zoom in on the text a user had their finger on, was his idea.
The engineer also noted that the text system on the first iPhone was powered by WebKit. Kocienda was uniquely prepared for that, as he was the one that added text editing to WebKit between 2003 and 2005.
“About the text system, all editable styled text on the original iPhone was backed by WebKit,” he said. “The system had itty bitty web pages sprinkled here and there. Every multiline UITextView was its own web page.”