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."

Reply Parent Score: 23

RE[2]: Reaching
by Windows Sucks on Sun 26th Aug 2012 15:52 in reply to "RE: Reaching"
Windows Sucks Member since:
2005-11-10

Then if Apple copied and it wasn't right let those companies sue Apple just the same. Nokia did. (They sued Apple before Apple sued anyone else)

No one said Apple didn't copy others, the point is they didn't PHOTOCOPY like Samsung did and that's the point. (In this case)

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[3]: Reaching
by TM99 on Sun 26th Aug 2012 16:20 in reply to "RE[2]: Reaching"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

Then if Apple copied and it wasn't right let those companies sue Apple just the same. Nokia did. (They sued Apple before Apple sued anyone else)

No one said Apple didn't copy others, the point is they didn't PHOTOCOPY like Samsung did and that's the point. (In this case)


Samsung did counter-sue. This case had problems as described on Groklaw and really is far from over. Motorola is suing Apple. Others will follow if this verdict stands on appeal. It will be the patent war that really should not come about but will have to due to Apple's over-reach here.

Market leaders rise and then they fall. At their peak, they will do everything and I do mean everything to maintain that status. A monopoly is formed and some very unscrupulous acts occur particularly when the ghost of a narcissist is behind a corporate entity.

Look at what Microsoft did in the 1990's. Apple is doing it now. Look further back in history. Do some research on the British East India Trading Company. They maintained their monopoly status with an actual military force for hundreds of years before a rebellion finally took it down.

I could care less about Samsung as a corporation. This fine will barely touch their bottom-line. What I do care about is the beginning of Apple hegemony in the mobile space. I care about a patent war that will slow down innovation, invention, and evolution of technology for years to come. I care about choice and the freedom to choose.

If Apple can win a patent lawsuit on a rectangle with rounded edges, then I will loose that freedom of choice in the very near future. This will not encourage other corporations to 'innovate' or 'invent' new technology. They will simply pull out of that market and the barriers to entry for smaller firms will be even greater. If Microsoft and Apple sue Android phones out of existence, and they could with this current patent nonsense, then we what will occur next? What will that final battle between these two sick corporations look like? How will this affect you and me and others consumers?

You might think this is hyperbole but this is sadly how humans have always been psychologically and economically. Cycles repeat over and over and over.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Reaching
by galvanash on Sun 26th Aug 2012 21:08 in reply to "RE: Reaching"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

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.


+100

Although I do think it was revolutionary and innovative, just not as far as the underlying technology goes. It was revolutionary and innovative in its design tradeoffs:

1. Users will accept 5-15 hours of battery life on a phone, even though many devices of the day easily doubled that.

2. Users will accept a non-replaceable battery if it can survive long enough.

3. Focus on consumers, not business. Get to the business market through the bottom, not the top.

etc. etc. Most geeks don't think this stuff matters much. I do. I think that is actually what makes Apple special - they don't make design tradeoffs lightly. They think about them very hard and when they decide to make them, they commit to them. Hard.

But none of this changes your overall point. I think you are right on with that.

Edited 2012-08-26 21:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Reaching
by TM99 on Mon 27th Aug 2012 13:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Reaching"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26


+100

Although I do think it was revolutionary and innovative, just not as far as the underlying technology goes. It was revolutionary and innovative in its design tradeoffs:

1. Users will accept 5-15 hours of battery life on a phone, even though many devices of the day easily doubled that.

2. Users will accept a non-replaceable battery if it can survive long enough.

3. Focus on consumers, not business. Get to the business market through the bottom, not the top.

etc. etc. Most geeks don't think this stuff matters much. I do. I think that is actually what makes Apple special - they don't make design tradeoffs lightly. They think about them very hard and when they decide to make them, they commit to them. Hard.

But none of this changes your overall point. I think you are right on with that.


Thank you.

And I will agree with what you are saying. Jobs fancied himself more an artist and a designer than a technologist, programmer, or engineer. He was also brilliant at marketing and understood the psychology of persuasion & how to exploit it. Most 'consumers' will accept all of the trade-off's you have mentioned because they are easily manipulated into believing it is in their best self-interest to do so.

Given Jobs love of art & design, I always laugh thinking about how all artists & designer copy all the time. (He knew this hence the often sourced quote!) That is ultimately how 'movements' start. Imagine if Monet had 'patented' small dots on canvas in various colors to represent water? Imagine if Picasso had 'patented' cube like shapes on canvas replacing real rounded body parts? Would Cubism or Impressionism ever occurred? No.

I have no problem giving Apple and Jobs credit for some inspired creative designs though personally they are not my taste. However, to have them use the legal system to to control competition really means a stifling of that creativity they hold and held so dear.

Let's turn it around for minute. What if Nokia, HP, Motorola & Samsung had barred entry into the mobile market by controlling trade dress so vehemently, charging excessive licensing fees, and using 'obvious' patents to stop the potential future Apple from becoming competitive? How could Jobs & Apple have done anything creatively which, while based on prior art, was still exciting enough to move the industry forward with the release of the iPhone? They would not have been able to do so, and if Apple wins at this 'game' it is my informed assessment that neither will others.

Reply Parent Score: 2