The original iPhone infamously shipped without cut, copy, and paste functionality, or any form of text selection. It was on Apple's list of things to do, but it took them a while to get it right. That was iPhone OS 3.0, and the man who helped make it a reality was Bas Ording. Cult of Mac:
"The idea that we struck upon was having handles at the beginning and end of the text selection that the user would be able to move around," Ording continues. "Some people called them 'lollypop sticks' and we played around with a bunch of different ideas [regarding] how best to do them. It started out with much larger visible handles. We ended up making them smaller and smaller, until they were just dots. You see, it turns out your fingers are actually pretty precise. If there's a grain of sand on your desk, you can easily target it despite it being a tiny dot. On-screen the dots are small, but in software the invisible active area is much larger, so they're easy to grab."
Since then a lot of other stuff, including font styling, definitions, and even image insertion has all been crammed into the text selection popup menu. The interview with Ording is an interesting read, so check it out and then let me know — how happy are you with how text selection is handled on iOS? It's been over 4 years now, is it still as good as ever, or does it need to evolve further?