Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Apr 2014 16:40 UTC
Google

From a 2006 (pre-iPhone) Android specification document:

Touchscreens will not be supported: the Product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption.

However, there is nothing fundamental in the Product's architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.

The same document, but a few versions later, from 2007 (post-iPhone):

A touchscreen for finger-based navigation - including multi-touch capabilites - is required.

The impact of the iPhone on Android in two documents. Google knew the iPhone would change the market, while Microsoft, Nokia, and BlackBerry did not. That's why Android is now the most popular smartphone platform, while the mentioned three are essentially irrelevant.

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assumptions
by TechGeek on Mon 14th Apr 2014 18:49 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

You are assuming that the change was because of the iPhone and not the availability of touchscreens. In 2006 touchscreens were not even on the horizon as a feasible component due to technological limitations and cost. They existed but were not that great. By the end of 2007, the new touchscreen technologies changed them into a must have feature.

I admit to some bias. But you can't dismiss alternate reasons for the changes in Android as you weren't in the meetings.

Reply Score: 3

RE: assumptions
by Tony Swash on Mon 14th Apr 2014 19:14 UTC in reply to "assumptions"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The comments by the people who were in the meetings, quoted in the book Dogfight for example completely support the notion that the iPhone unveiling caused a complete reset in the Android project.

Thom's right - Google (and not much later Samsung) were the only players who saw the iPhone launch and realised immediately that the entire game had changed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: assumptions
by TechGeek on Mon 14th Apr 2014 19:22 UTC in reply to "RE: assumptions"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Well, if the people at the meeting say that, then I stand corrected.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: assumptions
by organgtool on Mon 14th Apr 2014 22:05 UTC in reply to "RE: assumptions"
organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

Just because you were the first to do something does not mean that you should automatically be able to patent it and lock others out. The patent has to be for a non-obvious use. What Apple did was place someone else's capacitive touchscreens in their phones and implement a few multitouch gestures, which was one of the primary advantages capacitive touchscreens allowed over their resistive touchscreen predecessors. The patents they filed should have never been granted. You should be allowed to change the game, but unless you develop a truly novel and non-obvious use for the technology, you should not be able to prevent others from adapting to a changing environment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: assumptions
by jackeebleu on Mon 14th Apr 2014 23:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: assumptions"
jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

The world called, and R&D budgets said, please GTFOHWTBS! The court docs show clearly that they saw the introduction and totally stopped all existing work, and changed the design to mimic/ape the iPhone. Facts, try some.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: assumptions
by AndyB on Tue 15th Apr 2014 11:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: assumptions"
AndyB Member since:
2013-03-22

Just because you were the first to do something does not mean that you should automatically be able to patent it and lock others out. The patent has to be for a non-obvious use. What Apple did was place someone else's capacitive touchscreens in their phones and implement a few multitouch gestures, which was one of the primary advantages capacitive touchscreens allowed over their resistive touchscreen predecessors. The patents they filed should have never been granted. You should be allowed to change the game, but unless you develop a truly novel and non-obvious use for the technology, you should not be able to prevent others from adapting to a changing environment.

This being the case, what exactly can you patent? If you are the first to invent/produce something, my understanding is that if you don't want every competing company to blatentely copy you then it needs to be patented or copywrited to prove ownership.

It's the later companies who take someone elses ideas then try and patent it as their own who should be stopped, taken into a courtyard and shot!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: assumptions
by organgtool on Tue 15th Apr 2014 13:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: assumptions"
organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

This being the case, what exactly can you patent?


As a software developer, I believe that physical inventions should be patentable and abstract things like software should not. As another poster mentioned, the devil is in the details and the details are in the source code. Source code is already covered under copyright law and is protected for at least 120 years. Since software is abstract until the source code has been written, a patent on software is essentially a patent on an idea rather than the implementation of the idea, aka the invention.

If you are the first to invent/produce something, my understanding is that if you don't want every competing company to blatentely copy you then it needs to be patented or copywrited to prove ownership.


Of course companies want to obtain patents to lock out the competition, and that is perfectly acceptable where they have to fight the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology to create physical inventions, but that notion starts to break down for abstract concepts like software. In many respects, software is like art. You probably wouldn't find it acceptable to tell an artist that he is not allowed to paint a landscape for the next 20 years because someone else came up with the idea of painting landscapes, but that's exactly what we do with software patents. I became interested in software engineering over other forms of engineering because software is abstract and is therefore limited only by my imagination and my time. Then software patents started becoming widely thrown around and now every day I watch as the pool of concepts I can develop shrinks because greedy people are taking advantage of a broken system to lock out other developers from implementing abstract concepts.

It's the later companies who take someone elses ideas then try and patent it as their own who should be stopped, taken into a courtyard and shot!


And there you have it - they took an idea, not the invention. If Samsung had illicitly acquired Apple's source code and released it as their own, I would be condemning them with the full force of my anger. Instead, they spent years creating their own implementation of an abstract software feature.

Reply Score: 4

what about earlier touch
by TechGeek on Mon 14th Apr 2014 19:26 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

I am also not sure I would say that it was the iPhone that changed things. Palm had touch on their devices for years. Evidence of their designs can still be seen, even in the Galaxy 5. Nokia also had touch screen internet devices out long before the iPhone. Maybe it was Apple branding, maybe just a convergence of a lot of separate things. I think most of Nokia's problem was Microsoft. And Microsoft is always late to the party.

Reply Score: 1

RE: what about earlier touch
by hobgoblin on Tue 15th Apr 2014 09:09 UTC in reply to "what about earlier touch"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Nokia's problem was classic innovators dilemma. They could see the Symbian writing on the door, but at the same time they could not fully commit to Maemo for fear of trashing their short term profits.

IMO, Apple gets a unfair degree of press, in particular outside of USA, thanks to mass media being a Apple shop for the most part.

Hell, while most of Norway runs on Windows the national public broadcaster (NRK) pretty much standardized their content production on Apple. And at the local high school i can tell who is taking media studies as they sport Macbooks while the rest of the place go with HP, Acer, Asus, Samsung, Dell, or any other PC brand.

The first time i learned about Apple was when checking out a musicians magazine a friends dad had laying around. This because of some synth software ad. And the first Mac i actually had eyes on was in the photo lab of the local newspaper.

Apple only really entered public consciousness (as best i can tell) when they launched the iPod with USB support, as all of a sudden it was all over the news.

Until then it had been a niche brand for media technicians and wannabes of such.

Reply Score: 4

Icing
by Treza on Mon 14th Apr 2014 21:43 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

These documents also show that "touchscreen" is just a bullet point among hundreds of features.

Users don't realize that most of the actual work of building a phone operating system is not the user interface.
Android could adapt quickly to touchscreens precisely because it is not something fundamental, and there was already rows of icons, a new display manager (not X11 !)...

The only lacking part was applications. But even if the touchscreen was not used by Google's apps but only by third party developers, the mere porting of apps between platforms creates overlap. Just like many Windows programs ported to MacOS and MacOS programs ported to Windows.

IIRC, at first, Apple actually didn't want third party
apps in the iPhone. By allowing anyone to develop for their platform, they lost the chance of keeping the iPhone user interface unique.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Icing
by spronkey on Tue 15th Apr 2014 00:20 UTC in reply to "Icing"
spronkey Member since:
2009-08-16

I'd wager you are wrong that the UI wasn't as big a job as the rest of the "system".

The underlying software was adapted from existing software Apple already had.

Baseband firmwares etc simply need to be adapted and tested.

The iPhone's UI was its primary feature - and I have no doubt that Apple spent massive amounts of time researching, testing, and tuning the interface. That's the real IP here.

Reply Score: 2

organgtool
Member since:
2010-02-25

Android didn't consider touch-only input because at the time of development, capacitive touchscreens weren't out yet. At that time, only resistive touchscreens were out and they were horribly inaccurate and required violently stabbing at the screen with your finger or a stylus. If Google is guilty of anything, it is not being ready for the mass production of capacitive touchscreens. It was known years before the iPhone that capacitive technology would allow more fluid input and would finally make multitouch a possibility. LG, then Apple, realized the benefit of this technology and were ready to hit the ground running. Obviously Apple's implementation was better than LG's. However, just doing something better doesn't make it patentable. The fact is, Apple patented using capacitive touchscreens for multitouch which was an obvious use of capacitive screens long before the iPhone (I remember the hype about capacitive years before the iPhone came out).

So Apple is claiming that Google changed the course of Android to bite off of their market when the simple answer is that anyone with half a brain knew that capacitive plus multitouch was the way to move forward. The fact that Apple recognized that before Google was obviously the primary contributor to Apple's initial success, but it does nothing to prove that their patents weren't obvious to anyone who knew multitouch at the time and should have never been granted. Of course, the current judicial system in the U.S. continues to uphold entirely bogus software patents, so I fully expect the same outcome for this trial as its predecessor.

Reply Score: 4

jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

Wait, wait, wait, so now, if touch screens weren't readily available, where did Apple get them? If this whole thing was so obvious, why did no one but Apple take the lead, and then everyone followed suit doing what was so "obvious"?

"anyone with half a brain knew that capacitive plus multitouch was the way to move forward" but no one did, so your saying that anyone should be able to come along after the cost of implementation has spent, and not the ability to recoup, because hey, everyone deserves technology for free. Salaries, Sallie Mae student loans be damned, your years of reserach should be free to all users and multi-billion dollar corps alike.

Ok, thanks.

Edited 2014-04-14 23:15 UTC

Reply Score: 4

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

If this whole thing was so obvious, why did no one but Apple take the lead, and then everyone followed suit doing what was so "obvious"?


Somebody is always the first to do something, but that doesn't mean that what they did was worthy of a patent. Do you think that the first person that realized that they could sell products online should have been granted a patent that would have prevented anyone else from selling products online for 20 years? Most sane people would say that the "invention" was obvious, even if no one had already done it before. The same thing applies here.

but no one did, so your saying that anyone should be able to come along after the cost of implementation has spent, and not the ability to recoup, because hey, everyone deserves technology for free. Salaries, Sallie Mae student loans be damned, your years of reserach should be free to all users and multi-billion dollar corps alike.


How much do you think it costs to develop pinch-zoom and bounce scrollback? Those are things I could have done by myself in college in less than a week each (bounce scrollback within a weekend). You are clearly not a software developer and you're giving Apple way too much credit.

Reply Score: 2

spronkey Member since:
2009-08-16

You are clearly not a software developer and you're giving Apple way too much credit.

You are clearly not an interaction designer.

Yeah, you can "hack out" something in a day or two. But so often, the devil is in the details.

Apple would have spent months fine-tuning interaction speeds, thresholds, algorithms for handling the multi-touch inputs. All of this stuff seems invisible once the product is launched to anyone who wasn't involved - "just works" is damn hard, and too often people that don't understand the work involved in perfecting these interfaces and their interactions massively underestimate just how difficult and time-consuming this part is.

Reply Score: 4

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

Yeah, you can "hack out" something in a day or two. But so often, the devil is in the details.

Believe it or not, I'm completely with you on that point.
Apple would have spent months fine-tuning interaction speeds, thresholds, algorithms for handling the multi-touch inputs. All of this stuff seems invisible once the product is launched to anyone who wasn't involved - "just works" is damn hard, and too often people that don't understand the work involved in perfecting these interfaces and their interactions massively underestimate just how difficult and time-consuming this part is.

I don't disagree with any of this. However, as another poster who disputed my claims has admitted, it took Samsung years to perfect their own implementation of pinch-zoom and bounce scrollback. If Samsung had simply aped Apple's designs, it would not have taken them years. You are absolutely right that the devil is in the details - and the details were missing from the patent. Otherwise, Samsung would have been able to get a comparable implementation out much sooner than it took them. I might agree that these features are patent-worthy if the patents actually contained the details that made it work so well.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Wait, wait, wait, so now, if touch screens weren't readily available, where did Apple get them? If this whole thing was so obvious, why did no one but Apple take the lead, and then everyone followed suit doing what was so "obvious"?


Prototypes are usually available for at least 10 years before they become a mainstream commercial product. The CD player was developed in 1969 but didn't become a mainstream consumer product for more than 15 years.

"anyone with half a brain knew that capacitive plus multitouch was the way to move forward" but no one did, so your saying that anyone should be able to come along after the cost of implementation has spent, and not the ability to recoup, because hey, everyone deserves technology for free. Salaries, Sallie Mae student loans be damned, your years of reserach should be free to all users and multi-billion dollar corps alike.


The world's universities release hundreds of billions of dollars worth of research every year for free.

Reply Score: 2

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Wait, wait, wait, so now, if touch screens weren't readily available, where did Apple get them? If this whole thing was so obvious, why did no one but Apple take the lead, and then everyone followed suit doing what was so "obvious"?

"anyone with half a brain knew that capacitive plus multitouch was the way to move forward" but no one did, so your saying that anyone should be able to come along after the cost of implementation has spent, and not the ability to recoup, because hey, everyone deserves technology for free. Salaries, Sallie Mae student loans be damned, your years of reserach should be free to all users and multi-billion dollar corps alike.

Ok, thanks.


Actually Apple was not first with the idea of a touch sceen phone. Even the icons of the Prada was quite similar to what appeared in iOS even though the Prada version was in stylish black & white.

The iPhone-like LG Prada was. presented to the public months before iPhone was released, and the trend at the time was to make phones with larger and larger screens. It is no surprise that Apple was first, due to their brand recognition they could charge a high price for their product so, they could use the latest and still rare and expensive technology in their product.

So I would say smartphones a la Android would have happend with or without Apple. It's not like Apple developed the large screens, thy were just one of the first to be able to utilize them in their products.

By the way, as far as I know Apple have never complained about LG copying iPhone, even though their phones look no less like iPhone copies than e.g. Samsung phones, I wonder why...

Reply Score: 4

Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

If this whole thing was so obvious, why did no one but Apple take the lead, and then everyone followed suit doing what was so "obvious"?


Except Apple didn't "take the lead"; as other posters point out, there were plenty of prototypes and even the LG Prada that pre-dates the iPhone.

Although what I really want to ask is: who gives a shit who was "first"? It's the fanboy equivalent of "First post!" and totally irrelevant.

Reply Score: 3

spronkey Member since:
2009-08-16

You're making bold assumptions with hindsight. Serious technological leaders in the space were not prepared to bet on fully-touchscreen devices (Nokia, Samsung, Sony/E, Palm, Blackberry) until after Apple showed off their implementation.

And no, it's completely inaccurate to say that anyone with half a brain knew that cap touch would be the way forward. It was a big risk by Apple to assume that a) consumers would like this, and b) it would actually work as the primary way to interact with a phone. Even when the iPhone came out a decent portion of very intelligent people weren't 100% convinced it was actually a better way than using physical keys. Even now, physical keys have their own advantages that touchscreens do not - haptic feedback, for example.

These were new and novel interaction techniques, where Apple in entirity had their skin in the game, spending money on R&D, evaluating interaction techniques, determining performance minimums, target acquisition size guidelines, affordances for touch controls. It took Google/Samsung many years to reverse engineer (or otherwise determine) some of the things Apple had from day one - such as the need for high fps when dealing with direct manipulation interfaces.

What Google and Samsung did is no different to what the Chinese knockoff manufacturers do. NOKLA and the like. They make it look similar, and function similar, completely "inspired" by the original - by that I mean, a copy to the best of their abilities. But in most cases they lack a lot of the design that made the original work well. Had Samsung not been able to use Apple's R&D as a basis, Apple would likely have sold more iPhones. Alternatively, Apple would be making money from licencing their IP to Samsung. It was their risk, they should get their reward.

My background is in HCI research - even a lot of the cutting edge university research on these sort of topics hadn't even considered some of what Apple brought to the table with the iPhone.

Edited 2014-04-15 00:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

organgtool Member since:
2010-02-25

You're making bold assumptions with hindsight. Serious technological leaders in the space were not prepared to bet on fully-touchscreen devices (Nokia, Samsung, Sony/E, Palm, Blackberry) until after Apple showed off their implementation. And no, it's completely inaccurate to say that anyone with half a brain knew that cap touch would be the way forward. It was a big risk by Apple to assume that a) consumers would like this, and b) it would actually work as the primary way to interact with a phone. Even when the iPhone came out a decent portion of very intelligent people weren't 100% convinced it was actually a better way than using physical keys. Even now, physical keys have their own advantages that touchscreens do not - haptic feedback, for example.

Maybe I overstated the obviousness that touchscreens would be successful. But that doesn't change the fact that multitouch was widely known as one of the major advantages of capacitive touchscreens way before the iPhone was introduced. There is no doubt that going fully-multitouch was slightly risky, but just because something is risky doesn't mean that it should be worthy of a patent to cover that risk.

These were new and novel interaction techniques, where Apple in entirity had their skin in the game, spending money on R&D, evaluating interaction techniques, determining performance minimums, target acquisition size guidelines, affordances for touch controls. It took Google/Samsung many years to reverse engineer (or otherwise determine) some of the things Apple had from day one - such as the need for high fps when dealing with direct manipulation interfaces.

If Google/Samsung simply aped the technology as many people seem to proclaim, then why did it take them many years to come up with their own implementation? Patents are supposed to explain how the technology works so that someone proficient in the field could read the patent and implement it trivially. So if the patent adequately explained how it works, Google/Samsung should have been able to implement it in a much shorter span of time. Otherwise, the patent was too vague on the important details and should have been rejected with a request for more information.

What Google and Samsung did is no different to what the Chinese knockoff manufacturers do. NOKLA and the like. They make it look similar, and function similar, completely "inspired" by the original - by that I mean, a copy to the best of their abilities. But in most cases they lack a lot of the design that made the original work well.

So why does it matter then? If the "knockoff" is inferior, then the original manufacturer shouldn't have anything to worry about. They have a head start, a superior product, and superior brand recognition.

Had Samsung not been able to use Apple's R&D as a basis, Apple would likely have sold more iPhones. Alternatively, Apple would be making money from licencing their IP to Samsung. It was their risk, they should get their reward.

How did Samsung use Apple's R&D as a basis when you admit that it still took them years to create their own implementation? If it took Apple several years to do the R&D and it took Samsung several years to create their own implementation, then how was Apple harmed? They had a several year head-start and Samsung had to do independent research to develop their implementation.

My background is in HCI research - even a lot of the cutting edge university research on these sort of topics hadn't even considered some of what Apple brought to the table with the iPhone.

I'm not sure that patenting HCI is necessarily a good thing. If the car was being developed today, HCI engineers would be patenting the steering wheel and leaving others to use inferior and unsafe methods such as joysticks.

Reply Score: 0

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

The iPhone was a PDA that could make phone calls. It was as obvious as dog's balls to anyone with a bit of imagination.

Edited 2014-04-15 02:59 UTC

Reply Score: 6

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

The iPhone was a PDA that could make phone calls. It was as obvious as dog's balls to anyone with a bit of imagination.

Even that part had been done before. Have a look at devices that ran Windows Mobile 6 Professional. They were PDAs with a phone added in, right down to having the phone dialer in a separate app. They sucked horribly due to awful resistive touch screens and an even worse user interface, but the PDA+phone combo does predate the iPhone by a few years.

Reply Score: 3

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Heh, Compaq even sold a kit that would turn their Ipaq range of PDAs into phones. This by way of a PCMCIA sleeve, a mobile phone card, and a price of program to do basic dialing. Something of a brick for the time, but it worked.

Reply Score: 2

oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

Actually, one of reasons many long-time PDA phone users like me weren't interested in the iPhone when it first came out was that it wasn't anything like a PDA phone. It lacked things like Exchange support, a proper Agenda view, and productivity apps, all of which were central to PDA phones as they then were. People with iPhones were gently ribbed: Why on earth would anyone want a phone whose key selling feature was that you could simulate ants falling off the screen when you shook it (this was one of the more popular programs via the original installer.app)? Why would anyone with sense prefer that over a phone where you could actually do important stuff?

One of the reasons WinMo, Palm, Blackberry and others were as complacent as they were after the iPhone came out was that they thought folks like us in the C-suite were the natural market for smartphones, and that such phones should therefore be designed around our needs. The iPhone wasn't, so it wasn't a real threat. Phones like the TyTN 2, with its tilting screen-and-keyboard, were where the action was. The rest of the world didn't really need anything more sophisticated than S60, surely. What would they do with it?

In hindsight, it's easy to see that all this was horribly wrong. Apple's genius lay in seeing that the bigger market wasn't us folks, but our spouses, kids, and anyone with a decent-paying job. There was a huge market for smartphones out there, which nobody was targeting (occasional stuff like Sidekick apart), because most companies were focused on a very narrow market - and that a phone targeted at the needs of this narrow market would not appeal to the broader market. Google's genius lay in seeing that Apple had figured out the right way of targeting this market. The failure of others lay in not figuring this out straight away - which is why their OSes faded into irrelevance.

So no, I'd argue that not only was the iPhone not a PDA phone, but its success was due to the precise fact that it broke away from that model.

Reply Score: 6

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

If the genius was anywhere, it was in the rapid adoption of the app community once jailbreakers had shown that you could compile MacOS objective-C into iPhone binaries.

If instead Apple had insisted on the web apps being their thing, and pulled a scorched earth litigation approach towards jailbreakers and such, they would have had a PR mess in no time flat.

In a sense Apple pulled what fashion did to Punk. They embraced and sanitized apps via the itunes app store.

Reply Score: 5

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

One thing still plagues capacitive screens, they don't work well with gloves.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson were at the time both headquartered in nations that saw sub zero C temperatures for a large part of the year. End result, resistive screens where the way to go.

Also, i at the time resistive were cheaper and via the stylus made for easy adaption of a WIMP like interface (Windows PocketPC).

Hell, it still allows for more stuff to be crammed on screen than capacitive. Ever so often i curse web sites and similar that somehow lock the zoom but throws itty bitty check boxes at me in their mobile versions.

Don't recall having much problems with that while pocketing a N800.

Reply Score: 4

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

You're making bold assumptions with hindsight. Serious technological leaders in the space were not prepared to bet on fully-touchscreen devices (Nokia, Samsung, Sony/E, Palm, Blackberry) until after Apple showed off their implementation.


Agreed. Some of them never really reached that point.

And no, it's completely inaccurate to say that anyone with half a brain knew that cap touch would be the way forward.


Totally agree.

It was a big risk by Apple to assume that a) consumers would like this, and b) it would actually work as the primary way to interact with a phone.


Again, totally agree.

1. Apple took great risks with the iphone, risks no one else was willing to take at the time.
2. Apple spent a great deal of time, effort, and R&D getting it right.

I get that and agree with it.

These were new and novel interaction techniques, where Apple in entirity had their skin in the game, spending money on R&D, evaluating interaction techniques, determining performance minimums, target acquisition size guidelines, affordances for touch controls.


All true. But getting to my point - you don't get patents for risk taking, you don't get patents for effort, you get patents for inventions. The rest of the industry was perfectly within their rights to ape Apple's design, because like it or not it was based on hardware that Apple did not have patents on. Cap touch is not patented by Apple, baseband processors are not patented by Apple, etc. etc. Aping ideas is not illegal, because ideas are not eligible for patent - and that is what things like bounce scroll and most of Apple's patents are (at least to some peole) - abstract ideas.

What all the fuss is about is software and design patents. Apple taking risks and spending enormous effort getting it right are not arguments for or against such things. It still boils down to:

Is software an idea or an invention?

My reason for posting is simple - Arguments about how much effort went into the iphone have no bearing on the argument about software/design patents.

It took Google/Samsung many years to reverse engineer (or otherwise determine) some of the things Apple had from day one - such as the need for high fps when dealing with direct manipulation interfaces.


That is the point. It took them a long time because it is hard. Apple did a wonderful job, they created a barrier of entry by doing so, and it worked - they made LOTS OF MONEY in the interim.

What Google and Samsung did is no different to what the Chinese knockoff manufacturers do. NOKLA and the like. They make it look similar, and function similar, completely "inspired" by the original - by that I mean, a copy to the best of their abilities. But in most cases they lack a lot of the design that made the original work well.


All true. And some people still think the original is better and are willing to pay a premium for it. Thus Apple still make LOTS OF MONEY.

At the same time though, you have all these "knockoffs" taking their own risks - going into markets under served by Apple, making refinements (notification pane, RFID, improved multitasking UI, etc.) - some of those things end up feeding back into Apple and probably would never have existed if not for the "knockoffs". Millions of people in Asia have smartphones right now (instead of 10 years from now) because of knockoffs... is that a bad thing?

If Apple keeps making their product better in the eyes of their customers they will continue to make LOTS OF MONEY. None of Apple's thriving balance sheet is a product of excluding competition - it is a result of them failing at it...

Had Samsung not been able to use Apple's R&D as a basis, Apple would likely have sold more iPhones. Alternatively, Apple would be making money from licencing their IP to Samsung. It was their risk, they should get their reward.


There it is - the meat of the argument... Apple deserves all of the reward because they took all the risks.

Bullshit. Its just not true. Apple got plenty of reward. Would they have gotten more had Samsung/etc. not aped them? My honest answer is no - because knockoffs drove them to double their efforts instead of sit on their asses and rake in easy money...

Samsung (and Google and everyone else) is the best thing that happened to Apple, their existence lead to far more money for Apple in the long run. Competition creates thriving markets, it creates jobs, it creates money.

locked down patented products create lazy market niches that never go anywhere...

You can say what you want about it, but in the grand scheme of things the smartphone industry as it exists now simply would not exist without the "knockoffs". Knockoffs are good for everyone, even the one getting knocked off (most of the time).

Time and time again this plays out in the tech sector. Some product or idea escapes patent protection (for whatever reason) and becomes hugely, ridiculously successful because of it. It seems completely ironic to me that anyone in the tech sector would argue for patent protection at all, but especially for software.

There is way more to it than simply rewarding the risk taker. Its only a zero sum game when you use patents to make it so...

Reply Score: 3

daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Indeed, capacitive touchscreens had been around for many, many years before that. All they did was stick one on a phone. I service ancient medical devices which have 486 chips in them and run an early version of QNX, and they have capacitive touchscreens mounted on the front of their CRT displays. It was always obvious the advantage these screens had over their resistive counterparts, along with their disadvantages.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by ddc_
by ddc_ on Mon 14th Apr 2014 22:11 UTC
ddc_
Member since:
2006-12-05

Google knew the iPhone would change the market, while Microsoft, Nokia, and BlackBerry did not. That's why Android is now the most popular smartphone platform, while the mentioned three are essentially irrelevant.

And I thought they are irrelevant because their historical baggage didn't let them to start afresh, so their touchscreen iterations were horrible. Silly me!

(Well, Microsoft did their fresh start, but they were late to the party, and arguably offered sub-par product...)

Reply Score: 3

Finally!
by Windows Sucks on Mon 14th Apr 2014 23:40 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

For years everyone tried (Even on this site) to deny that Google and others copied Apple.

And no I am not saying Apple "Invented" smart phones. No, they did what they always do and they took them main stream and made them easy.

But people keep over looking that Schmidt was on Apples board. He had an inside track on what Apple was doing.

Anyway I am glad it's finally come out. Wow.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Finally!
by unclefester on Tue 15th Apr 2014 10:38 UTC in reply to "Finally! "
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

For years everyone tried (Even on this site) to deny that Google and others copied Apple.


Everyone copies everyone else. The iPhone was a copy of the LG Chocolate.

And no I am not saying Apple "Invented" smart phones. No, they did what they always do and they took them main stream and made them easy.


No company is better at separating the gullible from their money.

But people keep over looking that Schmidt was on Apples board. He had an inside track on what Apple was doing.


Contrary to your assumption directors rarely have access to secret projects. It is extraordinarily unlikely that Schmidt had any meaningful knowledge of the iPhone before it was released.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Finally!
by Windows Sucks on Tue 15th Apr 2014 11:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Finally! "
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

Everyone copies everyone else. The iPhone was a copy of the LG Chocolate.


? Please show which version of the Chocolate that the iPhone copied. I would be more inclined to say they copied a palm or an HTC Windows mobile phone before the LG Chocolate.

And copying an idea is one thing, straight stealing the look, the feel and the function is blatant.

No company is better at separating the gullible from their money.


You must mean Samsung, who blatantly copies others, steals form, function and look of others products, has been found guilty even in their own country of doing so. Then sells those thefts to others.

Or Google who sells services to companies who then push them to insecure, out of date devices. Microsoft can control it, why can't Google??

Contrary to your assumption directors rarely have access to secret projects. It is extraordinarily unlikely that Schmidt had any meaningful knowledge of the iPhone before it was released.


Interesting: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/08/03Dr-Eric-Schmidt-Resigns-f...

If you read when he left Apple: “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”

So if you don't have any inside track on whats happening in the company, why would it be a conflict of interest to be on the board?

Reply Score: 1