Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Aug 2012 22:14 UTC
Legal "The web has been alight these past few weeks with the details of the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit. It's been a unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain of how these two companies operate, as the trial seeks to answer the question: did Samsung copy Apple? But there's actually another question that I think is much more interesting to the future of innovation in the technology industry: regardless of whether the courts say that Samsung copied Apple or not, would we all be better off if we allowed - even encouraged - companies to copy one another?" This is very relevant.
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No, we would not be better off.
by tbutler on Tue 21st Aug 2012 04:32 UTC
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I think software patents are out of control, yes, but I don't see how someone who blatantly copies as much as Samsung does really helps innovation by that copying. I remember the first time I tried the Galaxy Tab 7. The mail application had the EXACT same icon layout at the iPad -- every function on the toolbar was in the same order. The colors were similar. And, of course, some of the home screen icons enjoyed Samsung's love of mimicking Apple icons. If Samsung took Apple's ideas and made something different and better, that's one thing. If Samsung simply uses Apple's research on user interfaces to avoid having to come up with its own, I think that's a different matter. "Helpful copying" should produce something clearly distinct.

Take icons like the infamous handset on a green backdrop or the musical note on top of a CD with a blue backdrop. While these are clear ways to represent a given function, even within the bounds of a relatively square icon, there are probably dozens of different ways to do the same thing well. Why exactly copy Apple? What about a yellow phone icon to harken back to the Yellow Pages? Or a Blue one to allude to Ma Bell, or... What about a stick figuring singing into a microphone for a music app? Or a musical note without the "antiquated" CD? What about a phonograph ala the one the RCA dog "hears his master's voice" in? And is there anything necessarily blue about music players other than that iTunes has had a blue note icon since iTunes 5.0?

The point being while Apple made design decisions that are intuitive, they aren't the only intuitive options, nor were they the default Android options even...

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