Your comments

Thanks, glad you are considering it. I had another idea this morning, but coding-wise this might be considerably more difficult to enact: once the above-proposed direction arrow pop up is implemented, perhaps in the center of the 4 arrows would be a shift key that could be used to make a text selection. for example: user makes gesture to bring up arrows, and moves the cursor one line up and over a bit, then toggles the shift key and hits the left arrow 5 times to select a word. i'm not sure if the text selection APIs in iOS would even allow for this, but just wanted to throw it out there.
Yep, with a keyboard attached, it isn't an issue. But that ease of use makes me pine for the above idea when using without a keyboard.