This is indeed a security feature. And it's a good one. Requiring that a password be entered manually is a useful safeguard. It protects against, or atleast slows down, illegal processes where a password is copied from a stolen list then pasted it into some account, all done at a speed of thousands of trials per second.
I was really posing this as a theoretical question to see what philosophy might be behind it and get some discussion about it going. Apple is the only place I've encountered this, even my bank doesn't do this. Now that I have some feedback I may just forward my complaint/comment to Apple.
Eustace, even though you believe it's a good feature, what about the tendancy for folks, as I have, to detune their passwords so as to be simpler to enter? Having to type ^ or ] on an ipad is a tedious process but adding these characters makes passwords much stronger so I'm told. Can't manual entry be simulated?
It's a trade-off, isn't it? A password that is easy to remember is almost certainly easier to guess than one that is obscure and difficult to remember.
I am not sure what you mean by simulating manual entry. The feature we are discussing requires each character in the password to be typed in. Could a hacker program a machine to do that? I am sure it could be done, and when it is, that particular safeguard will be much less useful.
You might find this discussion interesting:
there might be a safari or other browser extension/addon out there too, with the same idea
Could a hacker program a machine to do that? I am sure it could be done