Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 26th Aug 2012 10:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless In light of the jury verdict in Apple vs. Samsung, the one-liners and jokes flew back and forth. One in particular, by Dan Frakes, has been copied and pasted all over the web, and it goes like this: "When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone's design is 'obvious'." This is a very common trend in this entire debate that saddens me to no end: the iPhone is being compared to simple feature phones, while in fact, it should be compared to its true predecessor: the PDA. PDAs have always done with few buttons.
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RE: Reaching
by TM99 on Sun 26th Aug 2012 15:29 UTC in reply to "Reaching"
TM99
Member since:
2012-08-26

I have been reading OSNews for years and after this verdict was returned, I finally had to sign up to respond to some of the most asinine comments I have truly ever seen.

What year did the iPhone come out? 2007 is the correct answer. iOS offered a series of icons that lead to various installed features, showed a battery gauge at the top with a connection status and the time. With iOS 2.x, an app store was offered for adding other software features to this 'smartphone'. It was described in a 2008 review as combining a wide-screen iPod, a mobile phone, and the web. Wow sounds incredible, right?

No, a PDA is not a phone, however in the early 2000's, Handspring and Palm were making hybrid PDA/Smartphones. Here is a review of the Treo600 from CNET in 2003 - http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/palm-treo-600-at/4505-6452_7-30... . In their review they specifically reference the Treos as being PDA/phones and the Treo600 as being one of the best.

In 2006, one year prior to the release of the iPhone, the Treo680 debuted. Go look it up please. Notice the lack of antenna and how it was evolving into the next wave of 'smartphones' which would be rounded rectangular objects. Notice that while it had a host of buttons and a keyboard that it was a touchscreen device that was also evolving. Notice the grid of icons, the battery gauge at the top, the connection status and the time. Please read about all of the advanced features of Palm OS 5.x including audio/video playback, web-browsing, email, fully supported phone features, document support, full PIM features, and support for third party applications.

Wow, a PDA that you could make calls on, and it had audio/video playback (like an iPod), mobile phone support through AT&T (yeah the same AT&T that was exclusive for the iPhone a year later) and the web (yeah, web browsing and rich email support via phone, wireless, or even bluetooth if you set it up properly).

In other words, the iPhone was not revolutionary. It was not innovative. It was evolutionary. That can be applauded. But it was still built on the technology, the feature sets, and the history of PDA's and smartphones that came before it. Thom is right about the loss of memory from even 10 years ago about the actual history of so much computing technology.

This case and its unfortunate verdict goes right to the heart of this very problem, and I do agree with Thom that the long-term results are likely to be quite harmful to the tech world and the consumers it 'claims' to serves.

One last image to leave you with - http://photos.northtemple.com/iphone_braun.jpg . Jobs has always borrowed and stolen ideas from the past to incorporate and market in the present. Bauhaus is one excellent example of this.

Before you accuse me of being a 'fanboy' (what a term!), I am almost a half a century old. I grew up literally with Jobs, Woz, Gates, and the entire personal computing world. I have owned everything from an Apple II to a G5 running Leopard, from a Compaq running DOS 3.x to a Dell quad-core running Windows 7 x64, from a Sparcstation 5 running Solaris 7 to a laptop running Scientific Linux. I have used Palm pilots for work and currently only own a dumb phone. I have a Zenithink Gingerbread OS tablet, and I own an original iPod. I have been programming since Apple Pascal and Borland Turbo languages. Yet, my main fields are not IT proper. I have graduate degrees in economics and behavioral psychology. My perspective is a unique one and much like the judge in the Google v. Oracle case, I am in the minority on sites like these (likely why I waited so long to join and comment) and a dying demographic as the Millennials grow up being controlled by technology and passive comsumption, not controlling it themselves through active programming and content creation.

As Santayana said in Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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