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: Problem
by hhas on Mon 27th Aug 2012 22:28 UTC in reply to "Problem"
hhas
Member since:
2006-11-28

Is your entire argument really based on the fact that Thom doesn't own an Apple Newton to put in his photo? Oh wait, the Newton had zero buttons, not one, so I guess it doesn't count either.

Still, gotta imagine the day that some poor Apple engineer was hysterically hunting for the lost stylus to his beloved Newton, right when Steve storms into the room! Quickly, slap a phone card in the side of it as disguise: "This is, uh... my new mobile phone concept (and not the result of my dirty sweet love affair with John Sculley at all)!" Genius!

..

As for the 'Apple did it first then everyone else rushed similar products to market' argument, that's utterly irrelevant. The question was: 'Was the idea obvious enough not to justify a patent?', not 'Who was going to be first in proving the market was ready for such a product?' Hell, when I was a nipper I used to test uncertain waters by simple expedient of making my younger siblings jump in first; anything that didn't kill them I assumed was safe for me to try as well. Pretty sure I didn't infringe any patents either.

Patents are supposed to protect truly novel ideas, not every modest remix that comes along. (Protecting a specific implementation of an idea is what copyright's for; don't confuse the two.)

..

Man, now I wish Doug Engelbart had patented the crap out of his original mouse. Imagine Apple legal's face when slammed with a lawsuit for ripping off a genuine inventor's genuinely novel and original idea. Lord knows what Mac users would use as pointers now, straws maybe. /sarc

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Problem
by hhas on Mon 27th Aug 2012 22:42 in reply to "RE: Problem"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

(BTW, full disclosure: A few years ago Apple merrily filed a patent on their own half-assed implementation of a bunch of concepts that they, myself and other Mac folks had all been happily putting into practice in closed- and open-source Mac libraries and languages for the previous 15 years. And guess what they wrote in the 'prior art' section? That's right: 'none at all'. Which, in addition to making it hard to make an honest claim of "we're only doing it as defence against trolly trolls", is also against patent law; but who's going to notice one more patent abuse, right? So when it comes to all these software patent pissing matches, I've precious few sympathies at all, because 99%+ are just sleazy business tactics.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Problem
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Aug 2012 09:22 in reply to "RE: Problem"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The fun part: I actually HAVE a Newton. It uses a UI paradigm (notebook paradigm) which was short-lived and died out quickly in favour of Palm's application-centric UI, which iOS, Android, and everybody else in the mobile space copied 1:1.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Problem
by zima on Thu 30th Aug 2012 01:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Problem"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

BTW Newton and pointing out ~contemporary early PDAs, like the Tandy Zoomer - I stumbled recently on another that might be also worth mentioning. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstrad#1990s

In 1993 [...] Amstrad released the PenPad, a PDA similar to the Apple Newton, and released only weeks before it. It was a commercial failure, and had several technical and usability problems. It lacked most features that the Apple Newton included, but had a lower price at $450.

Now, it was apparently a quite horrible device (links in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PenPad particularly the video review) ...but then, all of those very early models were more or less horrible (starting with the basic idea of handwriting recognition - WE can hardly read even our OWN handwriting, NVM from other people)

PS. WRT to one bit of your article...

This was a very common scenario for me on my beloved iPaq: I'd be watching a Futurama episode on my iPaq [...] when an email arrived. I could pause the video, switch to my email client, read the email, and go to the link mentioned therein. [...] I could write and send a reply, and go back to watching the video where I left off.

And I'm not entirely convinced it's a good thing... ;) (interruptions, stealing focus, and so on; still, I can't help also doing the same thing)

Edited 2012-08-30 01:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Problem
by zima on Fri 31st Aug 2012 22:25 in reply to "RE: Problem"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Hell, when I was a nipper I used to test uncertain waters by simple expedient of making my younger siblings jump in first; anything that didn't kill them I assumed was safe for me to try as well.

So how many of them have you... expanded, that way? ;) (and/or what incentives did you use for speedy replacements)

Reply Parent Score: 2