By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 16, 2009

Sunday’s headline out of the South by Southwest Interactive 2009 conference now underway in Austin, Texas, is Kevin (“Digg”) Rose’s “confirmation” that Apple (AAPL) will finally introduce a copy-and-paste function in iPhone 3.0, the update to the device’s basic operating system scheduled to be unveiled at a special event this Tuesday, March 17.

Rose made the announcement during a raucous on-site taping of Diggnation, a weekly podcast he hosts with Alex Albrecht. The moment was captured on video by Derek Steen, an Australian photographer, and first appeared here. A YouTube version is pasted below the fold. (Warning: strong language.)

Copy and paste is one of the iPhone’s most-asked-for features. According to Rose, Apple has implemented it as a multi-step process:

  1. You double tap on a word (or, presumably, an insertion point)
  2. A kind of magnifying glass appears with quote marks on either side of the selection
  3. You drag the quote marks forward or back to surround the section you want to work with
  4. You choose one of three buttons: Copy, Paste or Cut

Rose says he was told by a “friend who has been right before” that, in general, iPhone 3.0 will offer every function that the Palm (PALM) Pre promised but the iPhone didn’t yet have.

He was also given some details about what isn’t going to be in iPhone 3.0:

  • No background apps (“not this release”)
  • No video (“it’s a technical problem”)
  • No multimedia messaging service (MMS)

[UPDATE: Rose was wrong about MMS. It WILL be included in iPhone 3.0. See here.]

Rose has a mixed record when it comes to iPhone rumors. One month before the device was first released, he said it would have a slide out keyboard, a touch screen and two batteries. It had a touch screen. In June 2008 he said Apple would release a low-end iPhone that costs $200. The 8GB iPhone released on July 11 retailed for $199.

See also:

Below: The SXSW video.

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