I'm on a first generation iPad. For me the previous version of selecting countries didn't work so well. Selecting a country would work. But displaying the list of countries on screen in the vertical box did not work. I had to click on the vertical box and then scroll through the menu to see which countries I had "checked". Due to limitations in the iPad, I was never able to select a modifier key (like Shift or Alt). So I was never able to select more than one country at a time.
I like the new method because for me, the list of selected countries is now displayed. I can delete them easily and can start typing in the name of a country and have a list of suggestions appear. Then just press the [return] key to select.
Maybe a future version will offer both options.