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The memo platform is burning
August 7, 2012 8:49 AM   Subscribe

iPhone Caused “Crisis of Design” at Samsung (Memo) “Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that ‘Samsung is dozing off.’ All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide,” Shin wrote. “Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.” Complete text of the internal memo submitted in the Apple vs Samsung case. Those are the more ugly points of the memo, which seems to bolster Apple’s lawsuit stating that Samsung infringed upon a number of Apple’s patents. Apple asserts that Samsung has “slavishly copied” Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices, and is seeking $2.5 billion in damages. So any more ammunition that Apple can get to make it look like Samsung attempted to actively rip off Apple’s products is only a good thing for Apple’s case. And the memo is rife with ammunition.
posted by infini (403 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, trying to litigate a competitor out of business via patent law. So ... precious.
posted by resurrexit at 8:53 AM on August 7, 2012 [25 favorites]


Aren't they essentially fighting over who "owns" the patent to the ground breaking idea of...having rounded corners on a square phone?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:55 AM on August 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


Apple is pulling every bullshit move under the sub on this one, and with a former IP lawyer for a company representing Apple as judge they've got a fair chances of succeeding here where they got laughed out of court elsewhere.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on August 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


I said this over at Ars Technica too - when it released the iPhone, Apple pretty much nailed what people want a smartphone to behave like - big multitouch-capable screen that still handles like a phone (i.e. basic rectangular shape), minimal hardware buttons, simple interface that behaves roughly like a computer desktop, in that you have a bunch of buttons for your stuff and you activate one to start using that particular thing. They made a shit-ton of money by being the first people to get a complete product out under that model. And by making a shit-ton of money, they also did their competitors' market research for them. They can't turn around and sue people for selling things that people demonstrably want without failing the laugh test.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:58 AM on August 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


what people want a smartphone to behave like....minimal hardware buttons, simple interface that behaves roughly like a computer desktop, in that you have a bunch of buttons for your stuff

Agreed and as an aside: why are people so stupid?
posted by DU at 9:00 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is wanting that stupid?
posted by MartinWisse at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


I say this without irony: this is the free market in action. It's fantastic that Samsung saw the iPhone, and freaked out, and worked overtime to build a competitor. Lots of competing products, actually. Many of which are pretty clearly Apple clone-like, although with a different OS and different price and different hardware.

We want this kind of competition. Even if it has to start with copying some ideas.
posted by Nelson at 9:02 AM on August 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


AFAIK, this isn't about functional patents (such as touchscreen interfaces), or Apple owning keypadless phones, but about whether or not Samsung ripped off the look and feel of the iPhone lock, stock and barrel, and tried to use its popularity to sell a deceptively-packaged non-iPhone product.

Samsung could have learned from Apple's research and come up with a slick, large-screened multitouch phone without, for example, giving it a silver bezel, making the phone icon a white handset over a green rounded rectangle or putting flowers on the photo gallery icon. The fact that they did that was to whisper “psst, hey kids, here's something just like that iPhone you want”. Which is where they fell foul. This is like Zynga putting the same 8 RGB skintone values from The Sims into The Ville to drive home the message that this is just like the other product and hope that someone mistakes it for same.
posted by acb at 9:03 AM on August 7, 2012 [31 favorites]


I said this over at Ars Technica too - when it released the iPhone, Apple pretty much nailed what people want a smartphone to behave like - big multitouch-capable screen that still handles like a phone (i.e. basic rectangular shape), minimal hardware buttons, simple interface that behaves roughly like a computer desktop, in that you have a bunch of buttons for your stuff and you activate one to start using that particular thing. They made a shit-ton of money by being the first people to get a complete product out under that model. And by making a shit-ton of money, they also did their competitors' market research for them. They can't turn around and sue people for selling things that people demonstrably want without failing the laugh test.

UI-wise they want a Palm 505 with a better screen and input method. The UI really isn't that different.
posted by jaduncan at 9:04 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fucking Apple. If they made cars we would be stuck at the Model T. Fuck them and their arselikhan fanbois; fuck them and their slave labour at foxconn (and other places which are worse), fuck their overpaid corporate lawyers.

The Counter-Culture Corporation? Not in the slightest, this is the sort of dick move the big corporations have been using for decades. Maybe they read the Samson ITT book and thought it was a manual.

And the fucking Irony of it is that Steve Fucking Jobs saw Windows at Xerox PARC and pretty much stole the whole fucking shebang, and now they act like this? So its ok for Apple to steal and copy, but no-one can copy the might Apple? Unbelievable hypocrisy.
posted by marienbad at 9:05 AM on August 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


From the memo:

I'm saying I like it this way, but others may have UXs that they like based on their individuality. So we should be able to accommodate that. UX that's not called UX and not like UX. I don't mean UX needs to disappear; it's something that is a matter of course, so even if we don't call it UX, if we use it it's as a matter of course.

Gee, with design direction like that, I just can't imagine why they were falling behind their competitors. It's just icing on the cake that he follows this up with

I speak in simple terms. I never talk in a vague and ambiguous manner, I speak in precise terms. Recognize that.
posted by ook at 9:06 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aren't they essentially fighting over who "owns" the patent to the ground breaking idea of...having rounded corners on a square phone?

It's slightly more complicated than that - - this blogger has put together a nice three part visual overview of Apple's case against Samsung - - have a look and make up your own mind.
posted by fairmettle at 9:06 AM on August 7, 2012 [23 favorites]


This is about Apple owning rectangles and the color black. It's bullshit.
posted by Artw at 9:06 AM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


And the fucking Irony of it is that Steve Fucking Jobs saw Windows at Xerox PARC and pretty much stole the whole fucking shebang, and now they act like this? So its ok for Apple to steal and copy, but no-one can copy the might Apple? Unbelievable hypocrisy.

Licenced. Licenced the whole shebang (although they missed a lot of the nice bits).
posted by jaduncan at 9:07 AM on August 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


More fuel.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Apple is finally getting sued for some of the Xerox PARC stuff.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:08 AM on August 7, 2012


And a refutation.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 AM on August 7, 2012


Licenced? Jobs saw it, went to Apple and said "Get on it guys" so they did, and when it was done they licenced the tech. What do you think Apple would have done if Xerox had said no?

And don't they make Micro$oft pay them a licence for look-and-feel? Jesus, the Irony - it hurts.
posted by marienbad at 9:10 AM on August 7, 2012


Fan-person of Apple's design myself so this memo is unsurprising.

But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues. They never seem to hesitate to screw consumers to improve their competitive position.
posted by bearwife at 9:10 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Srsly, people. "Micro$oft"? "Fanboi"? I thought we were grownups here.
posted by ook at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [40 favorites]


FWIW, I think Apple has a trade dress case with respect to the TouchWiz OS and icons, the aesthetics of which are pretty clearly ripped off from iOS.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Micro$oft

That's when I know to stop reading.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:12 AM on August 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


When does Apple get a funny spelling like Micro$oft? Are we there yet?

$$  $$

posted by mazola at 9:15 AM on August 7, 2012


But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues. They never seem to hesitate to screw consumers to improve their competitive position.

Are you sure it's Apple that initiated this instead of Google? Maybe Google was sick of Apple having such a crappy YouTube app?
posted by gyc at 9:15 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues.

Apple's license to the YouTube app ended; it was not a unilateral decision by Apple. Anyway, this way the YouTube app can be updated independently of iOS, which should lead to more updates, not fewer. And it's not like Apple has a competitor to YouTube that it's trying to promote (okay technically YouTube now offers some paid video that technically competes with iTunes, but as a practical matter they occupy different niches).
posted by jedicus at 9:16 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues. They never seem to hesitate to screw consumers to improve their competitive position.

When are they forcing their transit-free map on us?
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And how is Apple screwing consumers? You can watch YouTube in Safari, and I'm sure Google will soon come out with its own standalone YouTube app.
posted by gyc at 9:16 AM on August 7, 2012


And it's not like Apple has a competitor to YouTube that it's trying to promote (okay technically YouTube now offers some paid video that technically competes with iTunes, but as a practical matter they occupy different niches).

They now do presentation videos with Vimeo. That could be seen as a hint, no?
posted by jaduncan at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2012


And how is Apple screwing consumers? You can watch YouTube in Safari

Asked and answered.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2012 [18 favorites]


I watch YouTube in Google Chrome on my iPad. No need for a separate app for every damn thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ProTube is a pretty good jailbreak alternative to the Apple YouTube app.
posted by howfar at 9:19 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


mazola: "When does Apple get a funny spelling like Micro$oft? Are we there yet?"

APP£€?
posted by barnacles at 9:19 AM on August 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wake up, iSheep!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aren't they essentially fighting over who "owns" the patent to the ground breaking idea of...having rounded corners on a square phone?

Uhmm, no.

There are several things at play here. On one hand utility patents regarding some specific aspects of the iOS user interface, like e.g. slide-to-unlock, and on the other hand design patents concerning the general look-and-feel of the iPhone.

Both the utility and design patents are actually relatively narrow. The scope of the utility patents is determined by written "claims" on subject-matter which the USPTO considered, upon examination, to be new and non-obvious compared with the prior art. Samsung will of course try to prove both that:

a) the allowed claims are so narrow that their products don't actually infringe, and
b) they should never have been allowed (it will thus come with an onslaught of prior art which wasn't considered during the examination at the patent office).

Design patents are somewhat different: their scope is based on the drawings showing the protected designs, but is limited to that in the drawings which was distinctive compared with the prior art. So, Apple will hardly get broad protection on "a rectangle on rounded corners". It will nevertheless try to fight for a broad interpretation of its design patents, whereas Samsung, again, will present plenty of previous rectangles with rounded corners to try to restrict Apple's protection into meaninglessness.

Also, if Samsung is found to have infringed, there is the question of whether it did so wilfully or not. The difference is that, in the US, a willful infringer has to pay triple damages. In addition, depending on the country, deliberate tailcoat-riding ("slavish imitation") can be considered to be anti-competitive behaviour, regardless of any patents or IP.

There's also the Samsung telecommunications patents which Apple is accused of infringing. Those are particular, because they are "standard-essential", that is, they relate to inventions which are essential in telecom standards (like HSDPA). Because Samsung sat at the standard-setting bodies in charge of those standards, it is obliged both by those organisations' by-laws and by competition law to offer licenses on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) terms. Of course, Samsung claims to have done so, and Apple claims the contrary...
posted by Skeptic at 9:20 AM on August 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


These are complex legal arguments made by people who work thousands of hours to craft legal strategy. If people have a problem with the civil justice system, patent law, or lawyers, make those arguments. Apple using the system to further their corporate goals, is just capitalism, plain and simple. Feel free to rail against capitalism, but I feel people get lost in the "Apple is trying to patent 'round edges'" nonsense.
posted by arveale at 9:21 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Skeptic: “There are several things at play here. On one hand utility patents regarding some specific aspects of the iOS user interface, like e.g. slide-to-unlock, and on the other hand design patents concerning the general look-and-feel of the iPhone. Both the utility and design patents are actually relatively narrow.”

Those are not narrow by any stretch of the imagination. Slide-to-unlock is not a narrow patent designation. "Look-and-feel" is not a narrow designation, either, given that the entire look-and-feel of the iPhone was nearly identical to several predecessors.
posted by koeselitz at 9:23 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is wanting that stupid?

Wanting swooshy effects and simple GUIs isn't stupid. Calling it a "smart"phone is. It's a consumer media device. To be smart, you have to have some way of a) inputting data and b) computing with it.
posted by DU at 9:24 AM on August 7, 2012


There's also the Samsung telecommunications patents which Apple is accused of infringing. Those are particular, because they are "standard-essential", that is, they relate to inventions which are essential in telecom standards (like HSDPA). Because Samsung sat at the standard-setting bodies in charge of those standards, it is obliged both by those organisations' by-laws and by competition law to offer licenses on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) terms. Of course, Samsung claims to have done so, and Apple claims the contrary...

The thing is, Apple bought the chips from Qualcomm. As an end user to a supplier (at least in this context) the supplier will usually license the patents for the buyer of their chips. That way they don't have a billion different people trying to buy a license to an essential patent.

But in this case there was no cross license between Qualcomm and Samsung. They only had an agreement not to sue. Samsung tried to use the standards-essential patents as a bargaining chip into the design patents and when Apple said "fuck you we bought those chips from Qualcomm" Samsung dutifully terminated the agreement not to sue and went after Apple.

Which is the real underhanded action that is a threat to innovation in this whole malarkey.
posted by Talez at 9:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Arveale - It's a complex legal argument made ti disguise the fact that Apple has patented round edges. And yes, that they can do that ynder the current broken patent system is bullshit.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Judge warns Samsung against further "theatrics or sideshows" like leaking excluded evidence to the media.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:28 AM on August 7, 2012


Slide-to-unlock is not a narrow patent designation.

It is not a "patent designation", but my own shorthand for US Patent 7,657,849 (scroll down for the claims which actually determine the scope of protection).
posted by Skeptic at 9:29 AM on August 7, 2012


arveale: “These are complex legal arguments made by people who work thousands of hours to craft legal strategy. If people have a problem with the civil justice system, patent law, or lawyers, make those arguments.”

More intelligent and accomplished jurists than those involved with this case have made thoughtful arguments pointing out the ludicrous and unnecessary nature of the patent system, so one can't act as though the claim that software patents are ridiculous and superfluous is the sort of claim only dilettantes not involved with the particulars might make.

“Apple using the system to further their corporate goals, is just capitalism, plain and simple. Feel free to rail against capitalism, but I feel people get lost in the ‘Apple is trying to patent 'round edges'’ nonsense.”

It's not nonsense. Apple is one of the worst of a small group of companies doing this. The fact that other companies do it doesn't make it right; it seems odd that one even has to point that out. The fact that it's "capitalism" also does not make it right.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 AM on August 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


And the fucking Irony of it is that Steve Fucking Jobs saw Windows at Xerox PARC and pretty much stole the whole fucking shebang, and now they act like this? So its ok for Apple to steal and copy, but no-one can copy the might Apple? Unbelievable hypocrisy.

Licenced. Licenced the whole shebang (although they missed a lot of the nice bits).


Actually, if he had included a shebang sooner Apple wouldn't have spent so long in the wilderness.
posted by srboisvert at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a complex legal argument made ti disguise the fact that Apple has patented round edges.

Except that it hasn't.
posted by Skeptic at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2012


Skeptic: “It is not a ‘patent designation’, but my own shorthand for US Patent 7,657,849 (scroll down for the claims which actually determine the scope of protection).”

Exactly. It's a vague and spurious patent with a scope so broad it's impossible to enforce without utterly stifling the market.
posted by koeselitz at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Samsung has been ripping off everyone forever. And no one seems to have a problem with that, which is amazing. (and if you think they've only stolen rounded corners and buttons you are either blind or in denial).

The whole patent system is broken, but the trail has show without doubt that Samsung has blatantly copied Apple from the beginning. If this was reversed, people would be attacking Apple.

Fucking Apple. If they made cars we would be stuck at the Model T. Fuck them and their arselikhan fanbois; fuck them and their slave labour at foxconn (and other places which are worse), fuck their overpaid corporate lawyers.

Please tell me you're practicing for a paying gig at the onion. Without Apple you'd still be using your super cool razr phone. Why is it so difficult for people to give Apple credit in this area when it is indisputable?

As far as Foxconn, you realize most of that has been proven a lie (much to the disappointment of most of metafilter), that almost every other company uses foxconn, and that Apple has done more in this area than any of those other companies? Or do you live under a fucking rock?

But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues. They never seem to hesitate to screw consumers to improve their competitive position.

Wow. Metafilter never disappoints.

1. The youtube app sucked.
2. Many think google did this.
3. Improving their competitive position is what every company does. You do realize this, right?

When are they forcing their transit-free map on us?
posted by Artw


I hate how they're forcing you to buy apple products. Grrraawr.

Srsly, people. "Micro$oft"? "Fanboi"? I thought we were grownups here.
posted by ook at 11:11 AM on August 7


It's an Apple thread on metafilter. Metafilter hates Apple. It will soon be 500 comments most involving words like fanboi, sheep, and lambasting Apple for things every company does. Your best choice is to make your comment and then run away.
posted by justgary at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2012 [26 favorites]


by being the first people to get a complete product out under that model

Will no-one remember the BenQ BlackBox that emerged in middle of 2006 as an award winning concept design and then suddenly went *poof* from the public eye?
posted by infini at 9:33 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lots of the arguments here are centered on damages stemming from such blatant copying that consumers can no longer tell the difference between the original product and the copy.

Let's bring this to where the rubber meets the road - neither my wife nor my 4 year old nor any co-worker crossing the chasm from iOS to borrow an android device from me or anyone else I know with one has been confused between the two. In fact, the most common immediate response is basically "WTF?! I don't know how to do anything with this!"

Counterfeit purses? For good ones, unless you're a purse aficionado, you really can't tell. Real damages - stop the counterfeits, etc. It's not just wives and kids that can tell the difference between the samsung and apple smartphones in our house - thieves can, too.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 9:33 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Metafilter hates Apple.

Dude, if you're gonna moan about stereotypes then don't trot out that tired one.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 AM on August 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


Will no-one remember the BenQ BlackBox

Wow, I think Microsoft did. Is that a B&W Windows Phone 7?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012


We want this kind of competition. Even if it has to start with copying some ideas.
No, no we don't. This is a lame kind of competition that we'll settle for in the absence of real competition.

Samsung don't "start" with copying ideas in phones, it's pretty much all they do. They used to copy Nokia, then they switched to copying RIM, then Apple.

What we want is the type of competition that advances the state of art, not the type that does lame aping.
posted by fightorflight at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


To be smart, you have to have some way of a) inputting data and b) computing with it.

As long as you don't mind using Javascript, iOS devices can do that. See, e.g., this app.

Exactly. It's a vague and spurious patent with a scope so broad it's impossible to enforce without utterly stifling the market.

Vague? What, exactly is vague about this:
A method of controlling an electronic device with a touch-sensitive display, comprising:

detecting contact with the touch-sensitive display while the device is in a user-interface lock state;
moving an unlock image along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with the contact, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device;
transitioning the device to a user-interface unlock state if the detected contact corresponds to a predefined gesture; and
maintaining the device in the user-interface lock state if the detected contact does not correspond to the predefined gesture.
And how does that "utterly stifle the market?" All Samsung had to do was use a physical unlock switch. Or use a gesture that doesn't involve a moving image as visual feedback. Or have the user enter a numeric code. Or have the user place their fingers on certain particular parts of the screen rather than using a gesture. There are a bunch of alternatives, several of which are identified in the patent itself as prior art.
posted by jedicus at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find patent law fascinating because it so often frustrates people. For some, its an outrage what Apple is doing, but at the same time would never thing to question copywrite protections for designers or novelists. Without IP protections, and unfortunately, litigation, there would be chaos.
posted by arveale at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012


[MetaTalk is available if you want to

1. complain about how you hate it here
2. make non-contributive rants for/against Apple that have nothing to do with the thread
3. pre-doom this thread

Complaining about how Apple threads go here is actually part of them going terribly. Act like adults or come to MetaTalk and talk about your issues, don't fuck it up for people who would like to talk about this. Thank you.]

posted by jessamyn at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2012 [15 favorites]


Let's bring this to where the rubber meets the road - neither my wife nor my 4 year old nor any co-worker crossing the chasm from iOS to borrow an android device from me or anyone else I know with one has been confused between the two. In fact, the most common immediate response is basically "WTF?! I don't know how to do anything with this!"

And over in Big Box land...
posted by Talez at 9:37 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> And over in Big Box land...

Chalk that one up to consumers being stupid.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple vs. Samsung: A Visual Guide to Apple’s IP Claims: Hardware, Icons & Packaging

In this set of visual charts, Apple’s trademarks and self-proclaimed trade dress are broken down line-by-line, and checked against Samsung’s products prior to (SGH-F700 smartphone & Q1 UMPC) and after (Galaxy S smartphone & Galaxy Tab tablet) the release of the iPhone & iPad. While no silver bullet, it does illustrate the transformation Samsung’s products have made since Apple’s devices have been on the market, and how similar they have become to those devices.

Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. The timeline is clear and the evidence is damning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 AM on August 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


The samsung copying stuff is pretty fucking blatant, down to the chargers, boxes and cables.

As for Apple dropping Google's stuff (maps and youtube): Apple partnered with google for these products because they needed them, but they also told Google don't go into the phone market.

Google went into the phone market.

Apple doesn't want to give a free advantage to what is now a competitor. Not to mention that turn by turn navigation using google's map data is only available to Google unless you get a special license. The YouTube app was to get around the fact that Google hadn't converted the library to h.264 video yet, already Safari can view h.264 video in line on the web, but only youtube.com hosted videos cause a second app to launch (which is horrible).

So Apple partners with TomTom for map data, treats youtube.com just like vimeo.com, and cuts ties with who they now see as a competitor. They are still pissed at Google I am sure, but they aren't throwing some tantrum about this.

The downside is lack of transit integration in the BUILT IN maps application. Google can release their own Maps application for the iPhone (or you can just use the webclip version which is actually fairly good), as they say they are doing for YouTube.

And luckily, thanks to Google (and Portland's TriMet system), there is a standardized transit data format that is free for anyone to use to write an app around. Which is great, and making sure that there is space for competitors to provide the data (instead of Google being the only provider of the service) makes it significantly more open. Otherwise if it is technically open and free, but google is the only practical solution to use it, then it really isn't that open, since google can decide to start charging at any moment if they feel like it.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:41 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lots of the arguments here are centered on damages stemming from such blatant copying that consumers can no longer tell the difference between the original product and the copy.

It has already been established by judicial finding that Samsung products are not cool enough to be mistaken for Apple ones.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:41 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung does not have a lot of originality, but they can still make a great product when someone else tells them how to design it.

Fortunately this is pretty narrowly a Samsung/Apple fight and does not have a lot of bearing on the overall state of affairs between Android and iOS.
posted by chundo at 9:43 AM on August 7, 2012


Blazecock Pileon: “Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. The timeline is clear and the evidence is damning.”

As Posner has said, the world will be a better place when they have every right to do so, and it can be argued that they do already.
posted by koeselitz at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chalk that one up to consumers being stupid.

The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad boxes being rather strikingly similar on Samsung's part and Samsung duplicating everything from the 30-pin dock connector and USB adapter wouldn't have anything to do with it now would it?
posted by Talez at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. The timeline is clear and the evidence is damning.

Except in my jurisdiction (the UK) where the court case didn't exactly go Apple's way. Are you calling the UK patent court that biased?
posted by jaduncan at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


How Do You Tell the Difference Between an iPad and a Galaxy Tab? Don’t Ask Samsung’s Lawyers.

What an uncomfortable moment for Samsung at its court hearing with Apple on Thursday. Fielding questions from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan was asked if she could distinguish between Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, which Koh held up for all the court to see.

Her reply, as first reported by Reuters: “Not at this distance, your honor.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad boxes being rather strikingly similar on Samsung's part and Samsung duplicating everything from the 30-pin dock connector and USB adapter wouldn't have anything to do with it now would it?

It says Samsung Galaxy Tab on the box.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:45 AM on August 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


>>And how is Apple screwing consumers? You can watch YouTube in Safari

>Asked and answered.


MobileSafari actually plays YouTube video better than the YouTube app.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:46 AM on August 7, 2012


It says Samsung Galaxy Tab on the box.

And my grandmother still to this day refers to every console on the market as "a Nintendo".
posted by Talez at 9:46 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ergo...
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apple is pulling every bullshit move under the sub on this one,

I never thought they'd stoop so low.
posted by yoink at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyways, it's fucking ridiculous for non-shareholders to give a shit about this. Let them all rip-off each other and keep prices competitive for consumers.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad boxes being rather strikingly similar on Samsung's part and Samsung duplicating everything from the 30-pin dock connector and USB adapter wouldn't have anything to do with it now would it?

Admittedly I haven't gone tablet shopping, well, ever. But I assume most products still have big logos on them? Big logos on boxes that would be rather more prominent than connectors which can't even be seen until you open the box? I guess "Samsung" can look deceivingly a lot like an Apple logo.
posted by kmz at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


People don't know the names of stuff. They just look for the thing that looks like they thing they've seen on TV or the thing that their friend was showing them all the cool stuff on.

How many times have you asked what kind of computer a technically illiterate friend jas and they have no clue?

Samsung preyed on that.
posted by Talez at 9:49 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's worth noting that even if most consumers were completely fooled, it is completely legal to copy a competitor's presentation and packaging and even mimic their connectors and wall plugs.
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 AM on August 7, 2012


Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software

And yet its never noted by supporters that the hardware was being developed in concert with Samsung (who was second only to Apple-owned companies in hardware composition of iPhones/iPads, including major parts of the screen), and that Android both came out and contained many features (notification system, for example) before iOS.

People don't know the names of stuff. They just look for the thing that looks like they thing they've seen on TV or the thing that their friend was showing them all the cool stuff on.

How many times have you asked what kind of computer a technically illiterate friend jas and they have no clue?

Samsung preyed on that.


Huh. Didn't know you could get Galaxy Tabs from an Apple Store.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:50 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's worth noting that even if most consumers were completely fooled, it is completely legal to copy a competitor's presentation and packaging and even mimic their connectors and wall plugs.

Ish. Trade dress law is pretty much just to prevent this getting too close.
posted by jaduncan at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's the box in question (the 10.1 model). Sure, they aped Apple. But it says SAMSUNG right there, and there are little Androids all over it. If people don't know what exact item they want when they're buying $500+ items, then well, maybe they get what they deserve.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Samsung preyed on that.

Seriously, look at the link.

They might as well have sold the damned thing as iFone.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I'm definitely very unhappy with Apple today with the news that they are dumping You Tube app from upcoming Iphone and Ipad issues. They never seem to hesitate to screw consumers to improve their competitive position.

She ripped that off from another judge. In a country where Apples claims have been kicked out.

Nice showmanship though. Kind of underlined the point that she's thoroughly in the bag.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's an Apple thread on metafilter. Metafilter hates Apple. It will soon be 500 comments most involving words like fanboi, sheep, and lambasting Apple for things every company does

MetaFilter is a website on which people make posts and comments. It is not sentient, and does not have an opinion about technology companies. If you feel that there is an anti-Apple bias among users you should maybe make a case about why they're wrong or just ignore the thread entirely.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


it is completely legal to copy a competitor's presentation and packaging and even mimic their connectors and wall plugs.

Er, no it isn't?
posted by Skeptic at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


What amuses me is that all this sound and fury frothing forth in this thread, and in the case, is about the surface shape and appearance etc. You've forgotten the real innovation in the iPhone, battery optimization.

You think that no one ever conceived of a giant touch screen phone before the iPhone. You are wrong. Plenty of people did, then the next thing they did was immediately dismiss it as a "battery hog". When the iPhone was announced, RIM's engineers said: "Pshaww, it will have a battery life of 1 hour".

They were wrong, because Apple engineered the crap out of the thing to jam more battery in there. They integrated what were a bunch of discrete components in all prior phones. They did amazing engineering to get every mAhr into the phone and use it as efficiently as possible.

This kind of shallow thinking seems to be the way that history always happens. Something isn't possible, until it is, then people immediately forget all life before that.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:52 AM on August 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


oops. mWHr, clearly.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:54 AM on August 7, 2012


I have a Galaxy S3.

Apart from the green phone icon, it is nothing like an iPhone. To confuse the two, you would need to have never seen, used, or held and iPhone.

The Galaxy Tab is a thin tablet with a black glass bezel. Just like every other tablet out there. The Galaxy Tab actually has a logo and no home button, which makes it immediately distinguishable from the iPad (before you look at it from the side/back, where the differences are more apparently obvious). Patenting an extremely-minimalistic design is an asshole move on Apple's part. The Playbook and Kindle Fire also look very iPad-like.
posted by schmod at 9:54 AM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


> The Galaxy Tab actually has a logo and no home button, which makes it immediately distinguishable from the iPad

The 16:9 aspect ratio is an immediate tell for me, but perhaps that's not so obvious to many. Anyway, Samsung's newer products have obviously been given design treatments to look more distinct.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:56 AM on August 7, 2012


As for dropping the YouTube app, I agree with the tech writer who cheered "One less useless-but-undeletable app".
posted by Egg Shen at 9:56 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


it is completely legal to copy a competitor's presentation and packaging and even mimic their connectors and wall plugs

Leaving aside legalities, if you worked hard on something, would you want someone else to show up and present your hard work as their own?

Apple learned survival the hard way. After what Microsoft did to Apple back in the 1980s, and their near bankruptcy in the mid-90s, it's completely unsurprising to me that they would fight attempts to have the same done to them again, albeit this time by one of their parts suppliers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:58 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Admittedly I haven't gone tablet shopping, well, ever. But I assume most products still have big logos on them? Big logos on boxes that would be rather more prominent than connectors which can't even be seen until you open the box? I guess "Samsung" can look deceivingly a lot like an Apple logo.

Tablets are bought in boxes but they are sold through display models. Once you make your choice, then the salesperson goes and gets a box for you -- this is especially true for less knowledgeable consumers who probably say "ipad" to mean tablet computer the same way they say "internet explorer" mean "web browser" or "kleenex" to mean "facial tissue".

Even so, a logo or a name on a box isn't enough of a differentiation for many. Lots of people don't know that only Apple makes iPads and that it's impossible for Samsung to make them.
posted by camcgee at 9:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]



I have a Galaxy S3.

Apart from the green phone icon, it is nothing like an iPhone. To confuse the two, you would need to have never seen, used, or held and iPhone.


And AFAIK the S3 is not part of the trade dress lawsuit. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S3 might have been designed specifically not to infringe on Apple's patents
posted by gyc at 9:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chekhovian: "You think that no one ever conceived of a giant touch screen phone before the iPhone. You are wrong. Plenty of people did, then the next thing they did was immediately dismiss it as a "battery hog". When the iPhone was announced, RIM's engineers said: "Pshaww, it will have a battery life of 1 hour".

They were wrong, because Apple engineered the crap out of the thing to jam more battery in there. They integrated what were a bunch of discrete components in all prior phones. They did amazing engineering to get every mAhr into the phone and use it as efficiently as possible.
"

Citations needed on all of those things.

The iPhone changed a lot of things, but RIM's always had a tight-lipped PR shop, 1400mAh batteries were not unusual in 2007, and the original iPhone's SoC was purchased off-the-shelf (from Samsung, as irony would have it).

No. The iPhone's innovation was a usable OS, coupled with a really nice touchscreen, and hardware/firmware that was carefully engineered to optimize battery life.
posted by schmod at 9:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've forgotten the real innovation in the iPhone, battery optimization.

The real innovation, as far as I can tell, was that Apple came out with a phone that had a working touchscreen. No one else was selling a reliable touch screen at the time. RIM and Windows CE phones both had hardware keyboards. Palms were probably the closest---the TX was as close as one of the best hardware companies could come in 2005.

Battery life kinda sucked, and still sucks for most smartphones. I could get a week out of my work BB in 2007. My Google Jesus phone gets 24 hrs if I'm lucky, and my brother's iPhone is somewhat worse.
posted by bonehead at 10:01 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many times have you asked what kind of computer a technically illiterate friend jas and they have no clue?

Samsung preyed on that.


How many tablet owners do you suppose don't know what kind of tablet they have?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:02 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Er, phone. Dammit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:03 AM on August 7, 2012


Samsung don't "start" with copying ideas in phones, it's pretty much all they do. They used to copy Nokia, then they switched to copying RIM, then Apple.

What we want is the type of competition that advances the state of art, not the type that does lame aping.


In late 2007/early 2008, Samsung still saw (and most likely, still do) themselves as "We're just device manufacturers, don't talk to us about services". They were also timid 'fast followers' rather than innovators. The iPhone had just come into the market and was showing up in Nokia's design offices by the fall of 2007.

While by capitalization and fudging of numbers, they are shown as the world's largest Apple, the fact was that back then the struggle for the top 3 or 4 slots of the "World's largest mobile phone maker" numbers by gadgets sold was in an interesting flux between Motorola losing its Razr sharp lead to Nokia's sudden spike in emerging markets and the emergence of Samsung who wanted to become something more than a pretty shiny new bling.

A side note here is all the device mfr types getting blindsided by the UX of the UI types, thanking god for Android I'm sure

Now, Nokia's (I can't even say it) and Moto is (looks away sadly) and suddenly, the 'fast follower' has become the world's Number 1 mobile phone company as in its popping up in rural Africa and India et al. And, they're shitting bricks. They know they have to innovate = show leadership and the new direction for the future because there's nobody left and they're playing in markets where Apple will never go no matter how much noise they might make about a lower cost version yada yada.

But they don't know how. Or where to start.

This lawsuit is a side note imho in the grander scheme of things. Things like the future of portable, personal interhuman communication.

Remember the hoo haa over the iPhone copycatting by the LG Prada ? No? Exactly.

Ever heard of Tecno?
posted by infini at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The iPhone's innovation was a usable OS, coupled with a really nice touchscreen

I remember watching the original iPhone press conference and seeing the on-screen keyboard and being extremely skeptical, based on my experience with every touch screen ever. Then I used one and was immediately converted. (Well, converted in that I thought it worked very well as a piece of technology; I've never owned an iPhone though I have a couple of iPod touches.)
posted by camcgee at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talez: "People don't know the names of stuff. They just look for the thing that looks like they thing they've seen on TV or the thing that their friend was showing them all the cool stuff on."

This might be normally true, but it's really hard to make that argument when you've got a brand identity that is leaps and bounds stronger than the next-closest competitor.

It's like Coke suing Pepsi for making a startlingly-similar cola-flavored product, positioning it in the same part of the supermarket, and having a bit of red in their logo.

If people think Pepsi is Coke, that's Coke's problem, and Coke doesn't have the right to litigate Pepsi out of business as a result.
posted by schmod at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, if Pepsi did this there might be a problem.
posted by mazola at 10:07 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


They were wrong, because Apple engineered the crap out of the thing to jam more battery in there. They integrated what were a bunch of discrete components in all prior phones. They did amazing engineering to get every mAhr into the phone and use it as efficiently as possible.

So there were no optimizations of the processors and storage and screen, all of which were made at least in part by Samsung?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2012


having a bit of red in their logo

Having a white-on-red logo with a cursive font and a wavy line underneath it.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2012


APP£€?

Let's go whole hog: ₳₱₱£€

No sense in having a whole bunch of currency signs in your character set if you're not going to use them.
posted by Copronymus at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


(As a total aside, I loved the little Samsung featurephone that I had before my current Nokia. SGH-A77 or something. It had a feature which I haven't been easily able to duplicate ever since: custom text-message tones based on who sent it. Several Symbian apps claim to do this but never worked well, and iPhones barely have text message tone choice period. Anybody know if Android/WP7 have me covered in that regard?)
posted by kmz at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Skeptic: “Er, no it isn't?”

You're right; I'd forgotten about the Lanham Act. But – two points. First, a question: is trade dress actually an issue being raised by this lawsuit? Second: trade dress doesn't cover wall plugs and connectors, which are functional.

Blazecock Pileon: “Leaving aside legalities, if you worked hard on something, would you want someone else to show up and present your hard work as their own?”

That's a good question; it starts to get to the heart of this, I think. I agree that deception is a bad thing, and I want to backtrack from my previous claim to the contrary; deception is clearly a bad thing for the market. (I still don't know if it's deception in this case, but I will leave that alone.)

I'm more interested in the sense that Apple has had something stolen from them in this case.

My take on this: I honestly don't think this is how the electronics industry works. To use Apple as the example – I didn't buy an iPhone because I thought it was a neat shape, or because I liked the box, or because I think slide-to-unlock is the most important and essential innovation ever. I bought an iPhone because they are sturdy, they have a reputation for sturdiness, and they are known for reliability and for ease of use throughout the market. In essence: I bought an iPhone because I trust Apple to do it right; and I think others buy iPhones for the same reason.

That's not something that can be patented; and it's something that it's pretty hard to steal, in an industry that's based on information.

fightorflight: “This is a lame kind of competition that we'll settle for in the absence of real competition. Samsung don't ‘start’ with copying ideas in phones, it's pretty much all they do. They used to copy Nokia, then they switched to copying RIM, then Apple. What we want is the type of competition that advances the state of art, not the type that does lame aping.”

Justice Posner, who knows a thing or two about economics and patent law, disagrees; and I happen to think he's right on this. To quote him:

“In an industry in which teams of engineers are employed on a salaried basis to conduct research on and development of product improvements, the cost of a specific improvement may be small, and when that is true it is difficult to make a case for granting a patent. The improvement will be made anyway, without patent protection, as part of the normal competitive process in markets where patents are unimportant.”

The system required to enforce these patents, on the other hand, has a vastly stifling effect on competition, driving up the cost of invention and gradually making innovation almost pointless.

It may seem as though letting competitors ape each other is unfair; but that's how this market works best. Innovations are made and immediately adopted across the industry, as they should be; and we continue to move forward quickly. Hardware and software vendors don't really distinguish themselves through uniqueness, anyhow; they distinguish themselves through quality of product and solid reputation.
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Forget the lawsuit, far more interesting is what this memo reveals about Samsung corporate culture.

"Hey guys, this iPhone thing is really good. Also, our UX is not so good. Can you do a better job, UX team? Here is a convoluted metaphore to inspire you. Also, here is some bullshit about design I read in a book at the airport. Also, don't go to that trade show. Also, work harder. Use more skill. Be better. I'm really important and busy, I can't do your jobs for you. Did you know you are doing a bad job and should be ashamed of yourselves? Have you tried doing a great job instead? Maybe try that. I'm just saying guys. It's just a suggestion. In conclusion, I am an executive."

Worst boss ever.
posted by tracert at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2012 [42 favorites]


First, a question: is trade dress actually an issue being raised by this lawsuit?

Yes. It's trade dress and patents.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:14 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hm. I wonder if people really perceive that box as being "an Apple box." I don't think most of the people I know would recognize it, although they might recognize the product itself (which is outside the purview of trade dress.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on August 7, 2012


Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. The timeline is clear and the evidence is damning.

I can, if I ever bothered to learn some graphics design software (hee!), do a similar timeline from the 7 inch eeePC by ASUS which came out in Dec 2006, threw the market in disarray over form factor and price, when in fact their real innovation was in the entire concept of lite, easy to use, cheap, basic computers. They created the category we take for granted now called netbook as opposed to a full featured laptop. A quick glance into any showroom will show how the market has changed, across the board, since then with regard to portable computers, in look and feel as well as price and weight et al.

That was a transition in the design language as well as product platform for that category.

What is happening here is that iPhone was indeed an innovation when it came out, but do they really expect to leave no footprint whatsoever on the entire global mobile phone market at all?
posted by infini at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wanting swooshy effects and simple GUIs isn't stupid. Calling it a "smart"phone is. It's a consumer media device. To be smart, you have to have some way of a) inputting data and b) computing with it.

Seriously? I do tons of stuff with iOS devices, including inputting LOTS of data, and computing with it. If you're gonna trot out the "consumption device" shtick, please, be real, that lots of people use iPhone and iPads to exclusively consume does not mean that they're not capable of so much more. All the art, drawing, music, writing and photography apps are there, even if you chose not to recognize their existence.
posted by dbiedny at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not to mention that you can connect Bluetooth (and USB for Android) keyboards and go to town in your SSH client or whatever. But, if it ain't a big beige Linux box then I guess it will never be a real computer to some people.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


It would be interesting to know if there exists a spreadsheet somewhere on the corporate servers at Samsung that does a cost-benefit analysis, taking into account projected legal fees and losses for design infringement against profits from units sold.

I also wonder if the last number on the lower right is greater than zero.
posted by Mooski at 10:23 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a citation for RIM's disbelief back in 2007: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/12/27/rim_thought_apple_was_lying_about_original_iphone_in_2007.html
posted by reiichiroh at 10:24 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Leaving aside legalities, if you worked hard on something, would you want someone else to show up and present your hard work as their own?

As this is primarily about design rather than technology or software, it's interesting to contrast this to other design industries. In Fashion, copyright is often not used between design houses. It is used to go after fakes, but designers do not (generally) go after each other for being "inspired" by others' creations:
Although fashion designs are works of authorship, and comply with originality requirements of § 102 of the Copyright Act, the structure and nature of the industry do not compel the need for this protection, enabling it to run efficiently without it. In order to prove the stated claim, the article will examine the history of the industry, case law, other scholarly writings and current trends in the market.
---Victoria R. Watkins, Copyright and the Fashion Industry, 2008.

The whole paper is worth a read. The author argues that, as fashion is a transitory market with high refresh rates, new clothes every season, traditional copyright (and other statutory IP) is worth much less to that industry than it is to markets with longer returns: music, movies or books. It strikes me that phones are much more a fashion item, than a long-term investment like a favourite novel. Apple is playing against their long-term interest with this suit.
posted by bonehead at 10:24 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Worst boss ever.

Maybe it sounded less asshole in Korean.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:25 AM on August 7, 2012


Wanting swooshy effects and simple GUIs isn't stupid. Calling it a "smart"phone is. It's a consumer media device. To be smart, you have to have some way of a) inputting data and b) computing with it.

Ah, no. "Smart" is a modifier for "phone", not a description of the person who ought to be using it. (Though data input and computation doesn't make for a smart person, either, as commenters on MetaFilter prove ably every day.)

What makes a smart phone a smart phone is that it sticks a bunch of functionality in one place, then UX-designs the hell out of everything so that this functionality is really easy to use. The original iPhone commercials demonstrated things like searching for "pizza" on a map, then calling the pizza place directly from the map. Or watching videos and switching directly over to Safari and looking up IMdB info or movie times. The idea being, we thought a whole lot about what you might use this phone for, and we're making it easy for you to do those things.

Richard Stallman's fears and some undeniably-frustrating inconveniences aside, iOS furthers along the "digital and open data for everyone" ideal. By creating a pocket-sized computer with terrific hardware and a number of nice software libraries, there've been an explosion of really neat programs that millions of people use that five years ago were literally the stuff of science fiction. I'm still awed by some of the apps that come out for my iPhone. All those programs have to obey Apple's guidelines, and many of them never get ported to other platforms, but there've been some terrific UI/UX innovations that we now see on all platforms that originated on iOS. Not to mention a number of programs that started out as apps and are now porting over to other platforms.

Moreover, while I can't code for my iPhone on my iPhone, I can do a whole lot of other computing/data thingies that render your cocky little ideaturd moot. I can write HTML/CSS/PHP and push it directly to my web server. I can write an essay, format/style it, and either publish it online or send it in a number of formats to email or printers or what-have-you. I can do nearly any of the things I use my laptop for, and while I wish I could do those last few tough things, I've got enough perspective to remember that hey, a few years ago I couldn't fit the machine that did all those things in my pocket, and now I can. And it's not like I can't use the lappy when it makes more sense to.

For the time being, iOS is a damned good platform, and the iPhone/iPad are among the best phones/tablets available. I'd say the best, once you factor in native applications and sheer polish, but that part's personal choice. Maybe a time will come that people decide the few things their iPhone can't do are worth using a more open "computing/inputting/smart" phone, but I kind of doubt that it'll happen any time soon. As much as a certain breed of asinine programmer likes to whine about how Apple isn't open, most of those programmers don't create anything that a general audience would really give a shit about. They have their open alternatives, which I hear are quite decent. Yet for some reason they insist on sniffing their noses at anything which appeals to a different audience.

Criticizing Apple is well and good, but the constant snobbishness directed towards people who use and enjoy Apple products is just unnecessary. Plenty of people use their iDevices to create really neat things, and find that said iDevices are the best platforms available for them. My iPhone is one of my favorite writing environments; I'm productive as shit on it because it's on hand when I get hit by bolt-from-the-blue inspiration and need to dash a bunch of ideas down. I know you're jealous that I and my phone are prettier than you are, but don't let your insecurities turn you into an ass.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:25 AM on August 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Or use a gesture that doesn't involve a moving image as visual feedback.

The idea that gestures with moving images as visual feedback is in any way currently protectable under IP law is ludicrous.

I don't have any problem with giving credit to apple for making their product what it is. They clearly weren't completely original in every aspect -- if nothing else the LG Prada is pretty convicing evidence that, no, they don't own the idea of rectangular touch screen phones -- but they did some first-rate product design. Maybe they even did some groundbreaking engineering which is deserving of protection, maybe they even have grounds for a trade dress claim.

Patents on things like slide-to-unlock? Bullshit. The extent to which it's legally defensible at this point in the development of the field is an indictment of the law rather than a defense of the concept.
posted by weston at 10:26 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe it sounded less asshole in Korean.

According to my wife, it sounds MORE asshole-y in Korean. Like a principal scolding students, she said.
posted by dammitjim at 10:27 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> But, if it ain't a big beige Linux box then I guess it will never be a real computer to some people.

Apparently the answer to when is a SmartPhone/Tablet/X a computer not a consumption device "it's not a computing device until $Person can do $Thing on it". Where $Person is usually the speaker of that sentence and $Thing is something that is already being done on it, but just not the way $Person likes it.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:27 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


What amuses me is that all this sound and fury frothing forth in this thread, and in the case, is about the surface shape and appearance etc. You've forgotten the real innovation in the iPhone, battery optimization.

You think that no one ever conceived of a giant touch screen phone before the iPhone.


Also, Apple acquired a little outfit called Fingerworks, who had done all the heavy lifting on those gestural swipes and pinch-to-zooms etc. A touchscreen that actually behaved nicely, and could be supported by battery for a day, was the innovation. And it was great. The rest of the UX is pretty straightforward and you could have dreamed it up in focus groups in a few days.
posted by colie at 10:28 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Patents on things like slide-to-unlock? Bullshit. The extent to which it's legally defensible at this point in the development of the field is an indictment of the law rather than a defense of the concept.

Yeah, this is frustrating. Defensive patents I understand, but attacking other companies for taking really smart and simple innovations and running with them is just going to lead to a generation of phones that make you go through stupid steps just to turn them on.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:29 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> a generation of phones that make you go through stupid steps just to turn them on.

Mine looks at my face!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I bet if no one was creating hardware and software very similar to Apple's Apple would experience meteoric growth and become the biggest most profitable technology company on the earth.
posted by I Foody at 10:31 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


> A touchscreen that actually behaved nicely, and could be supported by battery for a day, was the innovation.

A touch screen without lag, is possibly the biggest and most glaring UX difference between hoping between iOS devices and Android devices. It was a weird orwellian moment when Google went from saying "there isn't lag" to "We fixed the lag issues we kept saying weren't actually a problem" at the last Google IO conference.

If the samsung phones didn't have that one big glaring difference, would they have earned the wrath of Jobs? Maybe not. Jobs supposedly said he didn't mind being copied, as long as the copies were improvements on the original. And while the first batch of phones in question came out, they may have had more features list, but not the polish in the UI and the screen delay was horrible.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:32 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also - the production cost of viable of Gorilla Glass for the screen was a genuine innovation. Everyone had assumed the glass would scratch too easily for a capacitive touchscreen phone.
posted by colie at 10:33 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This overview of the development of multitouch interfaces is quite an eye opener as to how many concepts brought into popularity by the iPhone have in existance long before.

What Apple did in creating the iPhine was to bring these ideas together in a package that worked, and they did an incredible job of it. Also, they did it at a time that was right - checkout out the IBM smartphone with pretty much all the iPhone feature set but it looks like a brick because the technology wasn't there to support it.

Unfortunatly for apple bringing things together really well isn't patentable, which is why all of their cases, like this one, are on either based on patents built out of scraps ("on a phone" patents) or, like this one, the horrible bullshit that is the "design patent", which lets you patent rectangles.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Mine looks at my face!

I have to beat mine at Tic-Tac-Toe. I haven't been able to make a phone call in years. :(
posted by kmz at 10:35 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


And the screen lag issue is definitely one of those things you don't notice if the only thing you've used is Android devices and other touchscreen systems, but as someone who was using an original iPhone, it becomes extremely strange and awkward on why things just aren't feeling the way they should.

Android users I know eventually kind of touch type it and trust that the buttons will respond to the presses and go on, but when you are first moving to the device, it is a strange experience.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:36 AM on August 7, 2012


Maybe it sounded less asshole in Korean.

According to my wife, it sounds MORE asshole-y in Korean. Like a principal scolding students, she said.


As I read that it simply looks to me like an executive who just got his ass chewed out by a tag team of shareholders and board members who all are wondering why their wives' iPhones are so much cooler than what Samsung gave them at the last annual meeting.

He wants to fix things, but as he's typing the email, he realizes that he's the captain of a really big ship that is going really fast down the wrong river. To use another metaphor, he's got a car broken down along an abandoned road, with no cell service, and after opening the hood, he finds he has no idea what happens in his car past what he sees on the dashboard.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:37 AM on August 7, 2012


Defensive patents I understand, but attacking other companies for taking really smart and simple innovations and running with them is just going to lead to a generation of phones that make you go through stupid steps just to turn them on.

This is why competing in the courts rather than in the market is against their interests. As a counter example, Google could have gone after Apple for being "inspired" by their notification system.

Do we, as buyers, want phones that compete on the best technology and the best design, or do we want to have to choose between slide-to-unlock on one side and notifications-that don't-suck on the other, and design divides that have to last as long as patents do?
posted by bonehead at 10:38 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stuff like the Apple-Samsung case is pretty infuriating if you get infuriated by very smart people wasting their time.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:42 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


The only screen lag I've seen on Android devices is orientation change transitions, which are kind of jarring compared to iOS devices. Otherwise, there's no lag in keyboard inputs, gestures, etc. The newer 4.1 devices don't seem to have that lag, although that's small consolation to the majority of device owners that won't get 4.1.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on August 7, 2012


A touch screen without lag, is possibly the biggest and most glaring UX difference between hoping between iOS devices and Android devices. It was a weird orwellian moment when Google went from saying "there isn't lag" to "We fixed the lag issues we kept saying weren't actually a problem" at the last Google IO conference.

If the samsung phones didn't have that one big glaring difference, would they have earned the wrath of Jobs?


1) Android ≠ Samsung

2) It's not a touchscreen without lag, it's a touchscreen that stops everything else while it's being touched. Android devices keep on processing while you type (which can sometimes produce perceivable lag), iOS devices temporarily shut down all processes not using the touchscreen as long as there's contact. It's a bit of an academic difference to an end user, but when we're talking about performance of the actual hardware and software, it's less so. That line is already fairly blurred, and it's easy to see where a performance bottleneck tied to the touchscreen might be a hindrance to iOS in the future.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:48 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I have a Galaxy and let me tell you about lag. If there's anything, anything at all going on in the background, the keyboard is unusable. In fact the whole damn phone is generally just bad, even compared to my first-gen iPhone (and I got this phone *after* the iPhone 4 came out). If you want to experience what it's like to vomit with rage, I recommend attempting to use it for GPS navigation.

Then there's the fact that Android manufacturers generally just take your money and almost never update your device to the latest OS. My phone is currently on Froyo, even though the hardware is absolutely capable of running ICS (for example, the twin device to mine, the Nexus S, is running it).

I honestly don't understand why Apple is going after the competition. They're taking home the vast majority of the profits in smartphones, and the competition is (IMHO) just barely squeaking by (or are losing money). It just reeks of poor sportsmanship.
posted by mullingitover at 10:54 AM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]



What Apple did in creating the iPhine was to bring these ideas together in a package that worked, and they did an incredible job of it. Also, they did it at a time that was right - checkout out the IBM smartphone with pretty much all the iPhone feature set but it looks like a brick because the technology wasn't there to support it.


This is actually what Apple has been really good at in the past decade or wee bit more since they first demonstrated their ability to package a bunch of things into a killer device/service/enduser ecosystem that worked. The iPod killed off Creative Technologies and yes, there was a patent fight but it was all so long ago etc etc

The thing is, one now wonders, whether this ability is what being able to "envision" is all about... and whether this ability is what may not be available on tap, hence the desperate yet not unique attempts to protect the "way things are right now".

I bet if no one was creating hardware and software very similar to Apple's Apple would experience meteoric growth and become the biggest most profitable technology company on the earth.

I wonder if that's why the guy formerly in charge of [redacted] for pods and pads and pons went off to volunteer in an African village recently? Because this theory does not make for a sustainable future growth strategy that the world has gotten accustomed to receiving from the might fruit.
posted by infini at 10:58 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If say kicking carriers out of the equation was another huge innovation. Carrier supplied versions of phone OSs are always behind and always loaded with garbage.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's not a touchscreen without lag, it's a touchscreen that stops everything else while it's being touched. Android devices keep on processing while you type (which can sometimes produce perceivable lag), iOS devices temporarily shut down all processes not using the touchscreen as long as there's contact.

Not true; were this the case then, for example, DJing apps which let you control the speed of a playing sound by scratching a virtual turntable would not be possible. Not to mention many touch-operated games.
posted by acb at 10:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


If say kicking carriers out of the equation was another huge innovation. Carrier supplied versions of phone OSs are always behind and always loaded with garbage.

Oh God yes. If every Android phone were a Nexus, even with the manufacturers putting out completely varying hardware/buttons/screen sizes/storage etc. this "maybe we'll update you, maybe we won't" crap would never happen.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:02 AM on August 7, 2012


The iPhone patent Steve Jobs particularly cared about - inertial scrolling

Lutton explained that Jobs approached Samsung himself, initially, because of the "deep relationship" the two companies had and that Apple wanted "to give them a chance to do the right thing."

In any event, Forstall responded:
Rubber banding is one of the sort of key things for the fluidity of the iPhone and - and all of iOS, and so I know it was one of the ones that Steve really cared about.

I actually think that Android had not done rubber banding at some point and it was actually added later. So they actually went form sort of, you know, not yet copying and infringing to - to choosing to copy, which is sad and distasteful.

But I can't give you a specific recollection of - of Steve, you know, going over rubber banding with - with them in those meetings or not...

I expect it came up, because it's one of the key things we talked - you know, he and I talked about, but I don't know if it came up there.
That notwithstanding, court filings from a few months ago revealed that Apple offered Samsung a license to the '381 patent in November 2010. Clearly, that offer never resulted in any sort of agreement. Perhaps the royalty Apple was seeking was too high or perhaps Samsung felt it shouldn't have to pay anything at all.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:03 AM on August 7, 2012


Then there's the fact that Android manufacturers generally just take your money and almost never update your device to the latest OS. My phone is currently on Froyo, even though the hardware is absolutely capable of running ICS (for example, the twin device to mine, the Nexus S, is running it).

That's less the manufacturers than the carriers controlling, one of the things Apple did right (and of course was easier to do, what with being an American company dealing mainly with American carriers). Or, what Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish just said.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:08 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If say kicking carriers out of the equation was another huge innovation. Carrier supplied versions of phone OSs are always behind and always loaded with garbage.

Only in America.

Where phones are subsidized and doubled branded by the carriers. The Rest of the World (tm) is an "open" market.

And that was what had Samsung nervous initially about starting to design for the 'open' markets (prepaid plans, swapping SIMs, phones purchased anywhere etc). If you note in the first page or two of the memo, there's actually mention of how to be good little "yes, sir" men to the carrier requests. That drove design direction more than any one else standing up and valiantly fighting the tide. Steve Jobs has done a lot for the North American mobile phone market and industry.
posted by infini at 11:12 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not a touchscreen without lag, it's a touchscreen that stops everything else while it's being touched.

Technically iOS goes into a different "run loop mode" when scrolling or dragging, which limits certain operations that can be performed. This plus the Core Animation compositing model is responsible for the responsiveness you didn't get in early Android. Not to say *everything* is fast in iOS -- some things are dog slow -- but once something starts animating, by gosh it keeps going.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:21 AM on August 7, 2012


(As a total aside, I loved the little Samsung featurephone that I had before my current Nokia. SGH-A77 or something. It had a feature which I haven't been easily able to duplicate ever since: custom text-message tones based on who sent it. Several Symbian apps claim to do this but never worked well, and iPhones barely have text message tone choice period. Anybody know if Android/WP7 have me covered in that regard?)


My iPhone 4S definitely allows custom text tones. Go to the Contacts app, choose a person, hit "edit", then pick a custom text or ring tone.
posted by The Lamplighter at 11:27 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung Investigating Alleged Child Labor Abuse at Chinese Factory: "It looks like Apple and Samsung have another thing in common, aside from their love of rectangular tablet designs: alleged labor abuses at the Chinese factories which make their products."
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on August 7, 2012


People who mention apple copying notifications just show their ignorance.

Let's look at the baseline here: there are a lot of companies that Apple hasn't sued (at least for this issue.) The idea that there claims are no more detailed than "notifications" (all one word, well it is one word, that is a vague patent indeed) is wrong. They aren't talking about coping features, they're talking about copying specific design elements.

Instead of going on and on about "notifications" why not come up with an example of Apple copying something the way that the images show Samsung designers sat there at their computer and copied the iphone (aka the phone icon with the same color stripes.)
posted by Wood at 11:48 AM on August 7, 2012


I honestly don't understand why Apple is going after the competition.

Because capitalism.
posted by colie at 11:50 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hardware and software vendors don't really distinguish themselves through uniqueness, anyhow; they distinguish themselves through quality of product and solid reputation.

Which is exactly the point about design patterns and trade dress. These are non-functional elements that people associate with a produce and reputation.

But anyway Apple may not win, but there's no going back. Look at Acer yesterday. The idea that the computer industry is going to thrive with a bunch of midget companies competing on the quality of their implementation of the same old shit is over.
posted by Wood at 11:53 AM on August 7, 2012


Wood: In Android, since the first release, you can swipe down from the black bar at the top of your screen to see a list of any notifications that have been pushed to you by various programs - new text messages, missed calls, weather alerts, and so on. That is exactly what you get in the iOS Notification Center. The big differences are that (a) it shows individual emails and (b) the background is more of a slate than a pitch black.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:54 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices. It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America). Its frightening to me how every single thing is becoming a signifier for what side of the fence you're on. I don't have to discuss politics with coworkers or neighbors - my stance is absolutely evident from the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the things I read, listen to or watch.
posted by newdaddy at 11:55 AM on August 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers...

You're being a bit paranoid. I do kinda hate Apple products and thought Steve Jobs was a juicebox, but I am married to an Apple user and she is a big fan of its products (luckily she's not a cult of personality sort (except for Obama)). We are both progressively politically (me more than her, of course, ;)

I am curious what "Apple fan" or "Apple hater" signifies in terms of "identity politics." I've seen them in all stripes and colors...
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, so, wait - it looks like this whole design thingy is based on a design patent in Germany? And they're filing in US court? Explain?
posted by symbioid at 12:06 PM on August 7, 2012


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices. It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America).

So are Apple the fancy latté of tofu-crunching liberalsm or the SUV of crew-cut Republican triumphalism these days?
posted by acb at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tribalism by consumption. If you're in a tribe there has to be another tribe to fight, otherwise, what's the point? Ford/Chevy, Lakers/Steelers, Apple/Microsoft.
posted by bonehead at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2012


> Where phones are subsidized and doubled branded by the carriers. The Rest of the World (tm) is an "open" market.

And while not amazing for people outside the US, I remember when the 4S was announced, and right there, on the Apple Store, at preorder time, was a "Buy an unlocked version in November" banner.

The reason why AT&T and Verizon store employees are pushing Android phones over iPhones? I'm guessing in part because they get to push around the manufacturers and prevent potential customers from even knowing that they can buy the new hotness phone for that week without requiring reupping their contracts.

Carriers want users back in the old model, of buying a new phone every year and reupping their contract for another two. Apple was one of the first phone manufacturers to create such a desirable product that the carriers gave in to apple, instead of the other way around.

For those who wandered how big of a change Apple actually made in entire world of mobile application development, check out this article.

People forget that before iPhone, there was a market to make applications for cellphones, but it was a horrible place, dominated by what the carriers and the manufacturers thought to include on your device. Apple's walled garden has nothing on the levels of barriers developers had to go through to get their apps on mobile phones previously.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:08 PM on August 7, 2012


> So are Apple the fancy latté of tofu-crunching liberalsm or the SUV of crew-cut Republican triumphalism these days?

Hardly!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 PM on August 7, 2012


To be smart, you have to have some way of a) inputting data and b) computing with it.

Like a calculator? I think even old Nokia bricks had one of those.
posted by spitbull at 12:09 PM on August 7, 2012


It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America). Its frightening to me how every single thing is becoming a signifier for what side of the fence you're on. I don't have to discuss politics with coworkers or neighbors - my stance is absolutely evident from the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the things I read, listen to or watch.

What "identity" is being dog-whistled to (or against) here? If a certain type of consumer device is now an identity, then that's a problem. So is putting it on the same level as race, gender, sexuality, religion, or any of the other things that actually constitute an identity.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:12 PM on August 7, 2012


People forget that before iPhone, there was a market to make applications for cellphones, but it was a horrible place, dominated by what the carriers and the manufacturers thought to include on your device. Apple's walled garden has nothing on the levels of barriers developers had to go through to get their apps on mobile phones previously.

It was possible to sideload apps onto phones outside the USA, both J2ME phones and Palms. The apps, though, sucked. J2ME was a lame sandbox capable of just about running the most primitive arcade games with an annoying lag, and that's all it had; substandard platform games written to spec for ringtone retailers. PalmOS was less crippled, though it also was an OS which came about when someone looked at MacOS Classic, the creaky, architecturally convoluted old OS Apple were keen to get rid of, and thought “this would make a good model for a new mobile OS”.
posted by acb at 12:13 PM on August 7, 2012


Rush's understanding of how cell phones work is as stunning as his mastery of politics and economics. Truly, that man is a marvel.
posted by bonehead at 12:13 PM on August 7, 2012


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices.

Maybe for some people, but anti-Apple sentiment around this issue can't be dismissed so easily. For me, and I suspect for lots of folks in this thread, it's entirely about Apple's business practices. These lawsuits are the capitalist version of trying to smother your competition in its sleep, and they're exploiting the senility of the USPTO to accomplish their goal. Certainly, other companies do this too, but Apple is an egregious offender and is making the world a worse place by doing this. Apple has always been an amoral actor, though, so it's hardly much of a surprise.

So what if Samsung consciously copied Apple products? I don't buy this "people will be confused by the packaging" crap for one second. And Apple's own designs borrow heavily from technological predecessors, as others have mentioned, making this kind of litigation seriously hypocritical. But they're doing it because they can, and the fact that they can shop around judicial jurisdictions until they find one where they can win is very depressing for innovators everywhere.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:15 PM on August 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices. It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America).

Oh good, I can't wait to be accused of being homophobic for not liking Apple products again.
posted by kmz at 12:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


That comment about identity politics is pretty close to trolling, so I don't know why it has to be a derail.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on August 7, 2012


Obama's minions are taking over.

Sent from my iPhone
posted by mazola at 12:32 PM on August 7, 2012


Groklaw has excellent coverage of the actual trial for those interested.
posted by euphorb at 12:44 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wasn't my intent to troll - I'm just being honest here. People size you up by the stuff you own and wear. It is very tribal, at least where I am (an hour outside of DC.)

WRT the lawsuits. Maybe I'm missing some of the nuance, but it seems entirely self-evident that smart phones before and after the advent of the iPhone are entirely different things. I think it's disingenuous to ignore that, and the very flagrant intent of the memo (which is the main point of the FPP) and carp about 'rounded buttons'.
It seems clear, to me at least, that Samsung set out deliberately to copy a competitor as closely as possible.

And I'm also skeptical that a lot of people sit around getting bummed about the relative ethics of patent cases. Companies sue each other every which way, every day of the week on several continents. It is, sadly, part of business. Can anyone name another patent law case that's come up recently and incensed you, outside of Apple?
posted by newdaddy at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices. It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America). Its frightening to me how every single thing is becoming a signifier for what side of the fence you're on. I don't have to discuss politics with coworkers or neighbors - my stance is absolutely evident from the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the things I read, listen to or watch.

Can you explain this more, because I have never noticed a connection between consumer electronics purchases and political values, whether it is an iPhone or an HTC, or an Xbox or a PS3. I've known people of various political stripes to both swear by and villify Apple products, so I just can't imagine where you're coming from.
posted by modernnomad at 12:58 PM on August 7, 2012


Oracle v. Google
SCO v. Everybody
All phone companies v. all other phone companies
posted by kmz at 12:59 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


What kmz said. Or just click on the patent tag.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on August 7, 2012


So what if Samsung consciously copied Apple products? ... is very depressing for innovators everywhere.

How could any intelligent person write that? Apple innovates, Samsung copies. Since the iPhone came out, Samsung has produced a string of slavish copies. First the Apple detractors said the Samsung predated the iPhone, now they are saying that of course Samsung copied, so what? But claiming that copying is innovating is simply demonstrating that you do not understand what "innovating" means.
posted by epo at 1:05 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


They also did their competitors' market research for them. They can't turn around and sue people for selling things that people demonstrably want without failing the laugh test.

I think this is at the core of why people are upset by these types of lawsuits. It's all well and good to say that Apple did their competitors' market research for them but so to did Apple's competitors do market research for them as well. Apple went into the cell phone market later than some of their competitors and I have no doubt that they took a look at the state of the industry at the time including the NeoNode, which had a larger touchscreen (for the time and had filed a patent on swipe to lock) as well as some other devices. None of them were exactly like the iPhone of course, but looking at how the industry was working and trying to do it better is common practice. People are wondering if this sort of process will not be basically fucked by large companies suing it out of existance. We'd have to pretend that design and innovation lives in a vacumn.

It's akin to saying Apple owns minimalist design. That's like say the Tea Party owns the idea of a people's revolution. It's abhorent that just because a company has made something popular again in the minds of some people they effectively own that. I think a lof of people fear these sorts of arguments extending to things like the shape of televisions, the colour of toe nail clippers, etc. It also reminds me of the Apple owns the term "App" even though I and I'm sure others, heard it years before, including a popular show called X-Files.

For some, its an outrage what Apple is doing, but at the same time would never thing to question copywrite protections for designers or novelists. Without IP protections, and unfortunately, litigation, there would be chaos.

I disagree. If someone were to try to own or copyright or patent basic story structures there would be outrage. For example, something that happens in a play or a book, by what is occuring now, could be owned by a company because they did a similar thing in a movie and filed to protect their "innovation". Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against Cameron for the Terminator is widely despised by people who know of it, particularly since he managed to get a settlement out of it. Similar ideas appeared in the work of Philip K. Dick for example, machines that looked human, machines and people that travelled in time, an apocalyptic future Earth. Harlan doesn't own these.

Given the wealth of evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality.

Hello Mr. Pileon! Not at all. Some of us just don't believe common similarities are owned by one company and have a different point of view than say yourself or others. No need to imply we are divorced from reality, classy as that is. I have, of course, nothing but the upmost and supreme respect and admiration for your point of view and wonderful input to this site, but I will have to humbly disagree with it. I apologize. The cross examination of Bressler resulted in Bressler stating that they are getting him to compare peanut butter to turkey while at the same time he's saying that they are copies.

The implication that consumers are complete idiots and we have to bow down to that idiocy is also a dangerous and potentially destructive idea. Just look at the GOP for a prime example of where that leads.

The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad boxes being rather strikingly similar on Samsung's part and Samsung duplicating everything from the 30-pin dock connector and USB adapter wouldn't have anything to do with it now would it?

People don't know the names of stuff. They just look for the thing that looks like they thing they've seen on TV or the thing that their friend was showing them all the cool stuff on.

How many times have you asked what kind of computer a technically illiterate friend jas and they have no clue?

Samsung preyed on that.


My sister, senior counsel at a major financial institution, owns an iMac. She thought she could install Windows software on it. I wonder if the monitor, keyboard, and mouse had something to with that? Did Apple prey on that? I explained to her the state of modern operating systems. She got it. Consumers have to be responsible for educating themselves to some degree and if they buy a product that says Samsung on it and expect it to be an Apple then to bad. Do we have evidence this is happening in droves? Is Apple experiencing some sort of massive sales drop off as people mistakenly buy Samsung's Android ware all along beleiving it to be from Apple? So when Fox sued Franken for potentially confusing consumers that Fox endorsed his book they were probably right?

Where do we draw the line? If a consumer can't tell the difference between a Civic or a Corolla should we ban one in favour of the other to accomodate that? The insult to consumers here is astounding but not surprising given Apple's lastest "Best Buy" like commercials.

A touch screen without lag, is possibly the biggest and most glaring UX difference between hoping between iOS devices and Android devices. It was a weird orwellian moment when Google went from saying "there isn't lag" to "We fixed the lag issues we kept saying weren't actually a problem" at the last Google IO conference.

Pretty common for software to experience further optimization. There was this OS called Snow Leopard, for example, from Apple, that was largely just that, even though the same company, Apple, claimed their previous OS was quick.
posted by juiceCake at 1:05 PM on August 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


the Samsung "designs" predated
posted by epo at 1:06 PM on August 7, 2012


My sister...She thought she could install Windows software on it. I wonder if the monitor, keyboard, and mouse had something to with that?

Oh, is that why I couldn't install my Amiga Commodore 64 software onto my new PC?
posted by Chekhovian at 1:15 PM on August 7, 2012


SCO v. Everybody

The only patent claims in the SCO case were counterclaims brought by IBM. SCO made a lot of claims, but none of them were patent related. Its primary claims were about breach of contract.
posted by jedicus at 1:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fucking Apple. If they made cars we would be stuck at the Model T

Without Apple, we'd all be driving Stanley Steamers.
posted by mach at 1:21 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a Galaxy S3.

Apart from the green phone icon, it is nothing like an iPhone. To confuse the two, you would need to have never seen, used, or held and iPhone.


I suspect there is a non-trivial market of such people and Samsung knows this.
posted by dgran at 1:24 PM on August 7, 2012


Apple innovates, Samsung copies.

Really? There's plenty of evidence that Apple, like most companies, copies and borrows. In fact, they're better-known for it than others. Many of their products are the (admittedly well-made) conglomerations of efforts, both idea-wise and physically, from many companies including Samsung.

Since the iPhone came out, Samsung has produced a string of slavish copies.

Two does not constitute a string.

First the Apple detractors said the Samsung predated the iPhone, now they are saying that of course Samsung copied, so what? But claiming that copying is innovating is simply demonstrating that you do not understand what "innovating" means.

You do know this applies just as much to Apple as it does to anyone else, right? Apple makes things convenient, or mixes them in interesting fashions, but their popular products (including multimedia phones, tablet PCs, and slim laptops) aren't particularly innovative. If "intelligent people" don't "understand" this, then you're just as guilty of it as the rest of us.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:29 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I suspect there is a non-trivial market of such people and Samsung knows this.

If I have never seen an iPhone then it does no good for Samsung to copy the trade dress of an iPhone in order to sell their products to me. If something is a selling point in its own right, rather than a "this is made by Apple" signal, it does not qualify as trade dress.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hello Mr. Pileon! Not at all. Some of us just don't believe common similarities are owned by one company and have a different point of view than say yourself or others. No need to imply we are divorced from reality, classy as that is. I have, of course, nothing but the upmost and supreme respect and admiration for your point of view and wonderful input to this site, but I will have to humbly disagree with it. I apologize.

...

If we are all wrong, and you are right, then please prove it with actual facts. Feel free to cite something credible, other than opinion. Dated, verifiable photographs of Samsung phones prior to 2007 would work for a lot of us, I think.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on August 7, 2012


Data point: my wife had her iPhone 4 and suggested her mom get an iPhone too. Her mom and step-dad came home with Samsungs because they were essentially told "they're the same thing". By eyeballing them, you'd think they were the same, too.

Fast forward to not even two years later and the Samsungs are gone and they both have iPhones.
posted by mazola at 1:41 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chekhovian: "They did amazing engineering to get every mAhr into the phone and use it as efficiently as possible."

No, that's why the OG iPhone didn't have 3G. Because the 3G chips at the time sucked too much juice to make a 3G phone work with a screen that size.

mach, my circa 2005 Symbian phones did almost everything an iPhone does (minus the GPS/compass/magnetometer combo), just without a touchscreen. And the interface was quite good for buttoned use. The icons on the menu were even arranged in a grid, perish the thought. What did not exist was the App Store or its equivalent. Programs had to be sideloaded or downloaded with the browser.

BP, that was an awesome dodge. When someone says "I don't think Apple can keep people from making similar phones" you say "show me similar phones from before Apple made theirs." Wow. Just wow.
posted by wierdo at 1:41 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


> It was possible to sideload apps onto phones outside the USA, both J2ME phones and Palms. The apps, though, sucked.

Why did they suck?

I'm guessing because besides being increasingly difficult to develop for them, there was little return financially, so anyone smart enough to write a killer mobile app was smart enough to realize there wouldn't be any money in it (or was already employed writing apps for the phone manufacturers already).

The App Store leveled the playing field, and created a baseline for mobile app development. I doubt we would see the same developments in mobile computing that we have now if it weren't for what Apple had done. Android alone would have been a blackberry clone produced possibly just for google as their own phone.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:46 PM on August 7, 2012


Because the 3G chips at the time sucked too much juice to make a 3G phone work with a screen that size....mach, my circa 2005 Symbian phones did almost everything an iPhone does (minus the GPS/compass/magnetometer combo), just without a touchscreen. And the interface was quite good for buttoned use.

Points you're missing:
-Bigger screens draw more power
-Touch capacity draws more power
-Smooth graphics/animations draw more power
posted by Chekhovian at 1:48 PM on August 7, 2012


My iPhone certainly resembles my girlfriend's Samsung, in that they are both black-bordered rectangles consisting of a large screen which can alter itself to represent different UXs and responds to touch.

Almost certainly, I would think, Samsung saw the enormous success of that form factor and decided to follow suit. But, Blaze, the issue is not whether Samsung had similar form-factors before 2007, so asking for photos of such is irrelevant. The question is whether or not that kind of form factor can be patented. I think most people would argue that shape, unless it is critical to the functioning of the product, generally does not fall under what are traditionally considered 'patentable' ideas. Thus, we can all buy competing TVs and monitors that are essentially the same black rectangle shape with ever-decreasing bezel size.

Generic shape should never be considered trade dress. If Samsung built a phone that looked like an Iphone right down to an apple-like logo, then maybe you'd have a point. But the idea that Apple (or anyone) ought to be able to patent broad shapes for the hardware or patent the idea of a basic, icon-based UX is just crazy.

What's patentable is the method by which the end goals are achieved, not the actual end goals themselves.
posted by modernnomad at 1:48 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is Apple experiencing some sort of massive sales drop off as people mistakenly buy Samsung's Android ware all along beleiving it to be from Apple?

Data (by Gartner) linked in one of my comments above on the Q2 2012 mobile phone sales results shows that they've overtaken everyone in every category - smartphones, android smartphones and mobile devices in general.

Now that Samsung is uber #1 and teetering at that global top spot, we get such "journalism" as this piece:

Samsung: power, corruption and lies


As Apple’s only significant competitor in the tablet space – besides Google’s rather tasty Nexus 7 – and the only third party making real money from Android, Samsung should be more closely scrutinised.

The idea that South Korea is a shiny futurescape of democratic wonder is ultimately the result of sitting next to the fetid, Communist disaster that is North Korea.

The South looks better, thanks to the success consumer technology and semiconductors has brought, it but the grip of the chaebols is pernicious and corruption lies beneath every facet of Korean society.

You’re welcome to love Android and hate Apple. Just don’t be fooled into thinking Samsung are the good guys.


Now I'm no Samsung fangirl, though I will take their money when offered, but reading horseshit like this makes me question who exactly was buying this Brit journalist (his own claim)'s drinks at the bar in Seoul.
posted by infini at 1:50 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I first saw the original Samsung Galaxy S in person, I was shocked that a brand-name company like Samsung would have the nerve so shamelessly copy the iPhone. It was way, way more of a knockoff than any of the other large-screened, keyboardless android phones out at the time.

I'm not sure that means they should be sued but what they did with that particular phone was really pushing it.
posted by The Lamplighter at 1:52 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just to make things clear, Samsung's phones are not 'slavish copies' of the iPhone. This is what a 'slavish copy' looks like.
posted by mullingitover at 1:55 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Heh, I was just about to link a few fakes. There are some impressive ones out there, with iPhone cases and screens likely made in unauthorized runs, Android OS, and then mystery chips inside.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on August 7, 2012


And they all seem to have TV tuners and antennae as well.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:58 PM on August 7, 2012


When someone says "I don't think Apple can keep people from making similar phones"...

One impression I left with from reading the Bressler cross-examination article that was cited is that the writer suggests his viewpoint is invalid in no insignificant way because he was paid to be an expert witness in a court case.

I am still unsure what the obvious fact that expert witnesses get paid in all manner of court cases necessarily leads to the implied invalidity of the Samsung memo (that memo, which, incidentally is the subject of this post).

If the contents of the memo are invalid and the timeline of Samsung designs pre- and post-iPhone is incomplete or inaccurate, it seems reasonable to ask to see the evidence for that claim. Let us see for ourselves evidence that is verifiable. That seems fair.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:01 PM on August 7, 2012


Can you explain this more, because I have never noticed a connection between consumer electronics purchases and political values, whether it is an iPhone or an HTC, or an Xbox or a PS3. I've known people of various political stripes to both swear by and villify Apple products, so I just can't imagine where you're coming from.

I feel like if I were to spell this out, I would be tacitly advocating the exact circumstance that I'm objecting to. I don't think I really want to go there. If people consider this a derail, I'll just back out of the thread.
posted by newdaddy at 2:02 PM on August 7, 2012


> I feel like if I were to spell this out, I would be tacitly advocating the exact circumstance that I'm objecting to

Dude, it's seriously confirmation bias. Assholes of all stripes like Apple just like they like Android or whatever other tech thing. Maybe you've witnessed some weird clique-ish behavior, but it's impossible to derive a general national trend.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:06 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung is not copying Apple; here's the proof!
posted by entropicamericana at 2:09 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


As remarked frequently above Apple's here is pretty BS, but I do want to say this:

I'm pretty sure Apple hasn't nailed the Platonic ideal of the smartphone shape. I mean, come on, it's more a screen than a phone. The "magic pane of glass" model is interesting, but I don't think it's the end-all of phone design. I strongly believe that Apple's great success here is more being the first mover, by breaking the old cell phone paradigm where every cellular company provided their own bullshit OS and bullshit Tetris clone, and sold terrible overpriced bullshit features, without even bothering to think that maybe users would like actual computer features in their phones. Apple blew that hateful inbred marketplace wide open. I think they they deserve a lot of credit, and moneys, for doing so. In fact, they have gotten a lot of both those things. But the iPhone is not perfect, and believing that it is is kind of foolish.

Second: whenever a company cajoles you, or a judge, about what they "deserve" through their "innovation," or "technology," or whatever, it is always bullshit. Words like those have no use when thinking about companies. They are trying to position their actions so it will be percieved by the public in the best possible light, because that way they can more easily influence social and legal realities in their favor. Companies are nothing but profit-making machines, and its a mistake to accord to them human attributes.
posted by JHarris at 2:10 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


And maybe that there is the kind of political statement made when brand choosing being referred to earlier? I do know my friend will never buy L'Oreal or Nestle products as a protest to their practices in the field.
posted by infini at 2:14 PM on August 7, 2012


(Note: my saying how Apple "deserves" something, then turning around and saying it's a mistake to say a company "deserves" anything, should be seen as how my own opinions are somewhat conflicted. I think the latter opinion is stronger than the first, in any case.)
posted by JHarris at 2:22 PM on August 7, 2012


RobotVoodooPower: “Not to say *everything* is fast in iOS -- some things are dog slow -- but once something starts animating, by gosh it keeps going.”

Tell me about it. That "page loading" animation never quits.
posted by koeselitz at 2:24 PM on August 7, 2012


I think we're conflating two issues here.

One is the ideal of the meritocratic society's appreciation and just rewards for invention/innovation/novel/aha and the original principles for patents and copyrights. That our ideas, on which we rely upon to pay the rent and buy the occasional chicken for the pot, will be protected, nurtured and allowed to flower and flourish.

The other is this blatant disregard for good sportsmanship and resistance by any means to the natural order of things, that change happens and we must again continue to adapt and innovate in order to reap our next reward.

As the cycle of innovation increases faster due to the increasing delta of rate of change of information flow, the time period in which an innovative company can rest on its laurels to claim its rewards from the marketplace is decreasing in duration.

Apple has still managed to profit for 6 years and that is also long enough in today's world for the impact of its design language to have influenced consumer perceptions as well as acceptable performance and design standards on entire product categories.

Now its pushing it.

Samsung's behaviour I won't comment upon but the alternative approach would have been Nokia's fate. What, if any, is the way out now or middle path, if possible, for any device maker (particularly given that it'll still take 12 to 24 months to market).

Apple's design language has influenced more than just another glass topped table. I purchased an ASUS Zenbook which, in many many ways, seems little different in look and feel and box and trade dress from the Air.

Either they come to terms with their own influence (and I've written on this before, a half decade ago) on product design, globally, or continue fighting from cash rich reserves for as long as they can.
posted by infini at 2:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


newdaddy: “I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the level of animosity directed at Apple and Apple customers is less directly related to the products themselves, or even Apple's business practices. It's another dog whistle for identity politics (in America). Its frightening to me how every single thing is becoming a signifier for what side of the fence you're on. I don't have to discuss politics with coworkers or neighbors - my stance is absolutely evident from the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the things I read, listen to or watch.”

Other people seem bothered by this – I think it's a little silly myself. Let's follow this out and think about it – what are you suggesting? I'd guess – please correct me if I'm wrong – that you mean that Apple is a signifier for "liberal Democrat." Does that mean that people who use Windows machines are conservative Republicans? Or I guess at least that people who dislike Apple are anti-liberal or anti-Democrat? That certainly doesn't seem to hold in this thread. So are you suggesting that Apple users are more likely to be Republicans? I can see some other problems with that, honestly. And where does that leave us Linux users?

I just don't think this scheme works out in any rational way. This is Metafilter. As always, the majority in this conversation is politically left-leaning, at various points on the spectrum. Some of those left-leaning people like Apple, some of them hate Apple, but pretty much none of them seem to be dog-whistling in any way, as far as I can tell.

Or do you have some deeper meaning when you call animosity toward Apple a "dog whistle for identity politics"?
posted by koeselitz at 2:34 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing because besides being increasingly difficult to develop for them, there was little return financially, so anyone smart enough to write a killer mobile app was smart enough to realize there wouldn't be any money in it (or was already employed writing apps for the phone manufacturers already).


That and the platform was half-baked and designed by committee. A pre-iPhone app-capable phone was basically a normal, fixed-function mobile phone with a Java sandbox bolted onto it. The CPU was underpowered (as a fixed-function phone CPU didn't need much power, and the sandbox was an afterthought), and so anything running in the JVM was slow and jerky. (And we're talking ports of early-80s arcade games with the keypad as controls, not anything fancy.) The sandbox was just that: it had no access to most of the hardware, with the possible exception of being able to do HTTP requests. The potential of the platform didn't extend far beyond currency calculators and the aforementioned Tetris-scale games. Oh, and the APIs were a pain to develop for. The executive-grade Symbian/PalmOS phones were slightly better, though only quantitatively, rather than qualitatively.

Then the iPhone came along, and changed the game. (Well, Apple didn't open the APIs at first, until jailbreakers forced their hand.) Unlike the old J2ME phones, an iPhone wasn't a GSM handset with a VM sandbox bolted on but a pocket computer with a GSM modem, one of whose applications was a telephony app. The APIs that were used to build the phone were used to build anything on it. And those APIs were modelled on MacOS X (the Foundation layer is essentially identical, the UI layer is different though uses similar design patterns) and beneath that POSIX. When the API was opened, developers didn't have to wait for whoever was budgeted to bolt the sandbox onto the phone for the benefit of the $2 game industry to implement an API; it was already there, as the phone was built with it. And the APIs were properly documented and came with development tools that weren't a pain to use.

I've written iOS apps, and one a PalmOS application (which wasn't much fun), and I've beaten my head against J2ME, and I tell you, the difference is like night and day.
posted by acb at 2:42 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's follow this out and think about it – what are you suggesting? I'd guess – please correct me if I'm wrong – that you mean that Apple is a signifier for "liberal Democrat." Does that mean that people who use Windows machines are conservative Republicans? Or I guess at least that people who dislike Apple are anti-liberal or anti-Democrat?

Or maybe Apple users are right-wing fascists like Obama and the New York Times, with the true Left only using Android handsets with hand-rolled firmware?

I've noticed that there used to be a right-wing culture-war aspect to anti-Apple sentiments: that Apple machines are for the “liberal elites” who think they're better than the ordinary small-town types/hard-headed realists with serious work to do who use Dell machines running Windows. Not sure how much of this remains after George W. Bush's iPod and the iPhone becoming the mainstream goliath.
posted by acb at 2:46 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Apple hasn't nailed the Platonic ideal of the smartphone shape.

It's only 5 years old. It's a classic piece of ID certainly, but I'm also certain that it will look hopelessly early-21st century in ten years time. From the looks of things coming, we may not have the same form factor, a 10 cm by 3.5 cm slab of glass, in a few years time. Foldable, flexible and wearable devices are coming.
posted by bonehead at 2:57 PM on August 7, 2012


If we are all wrong, and you are right, then please prove it with actual facts. Feel free to cite something credible, other than opinion. Dated, verifiable photographs of Samsung phones prior to 2007 would work for a lot of us, I think.

Hi Mr. Pileon! I aplogize very humbly, but there has been some sort of misunderstanding. I never said anyone was all wrong and I was all right. I simply disagreed with your wonderfully intended comment that labeled those of us with a different opinion being effectively divorced from reality. You are welcome to that opinion and as mentioned I have nothing but the greatest respect for you and your input on this site. However, I do disagree with it. I apologize for that but I cannot help it.

I offered my opinion, since I am not a lawyer. I never pretended otherwise. I have no issue with Apple getting inspiration from other sources, because they do. Likewise, I have no issue with Samsung doing the same. I never made the claim that neither Samsung or Apple do not do this. Myself, and others, do have issues with trying to suddenly stifle this common procedure in design and innovation by these type of lawsuits. I apologize for any confusion and indeed, for disagreeing and failing to provide you with an argument that I didn't make. I hope that others in this thread can fulfill that role and make this thread great!
posted by juiceCake at 2:58 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I purchased an ASUS Zenbook which, in many many ways, seems little different in look and feel and box and trade dress from the Air.

The Macbook Air is a pretty straightforward descendent of the Sony Vaio X505. Apple's laptop designs don't just come from thin air.
posted by euphorb at 3:09 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple's laptop designs don't just come from thin air.

Um...
posted by mazola at 3:12 PM on August 7, 2012


Yep, Samsung pretty much copied the iPhone. Next.
posted by quadog at 3:12 PM on August 7, 2012


Nor did their ideas for app stores and the like. Andy Rubin, who founded Android in 2003, was talking about it back when he was making the Sidekick.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:13 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple's laptop designs don't just come from thin air.

Clamshell! The Story of the Greatest Computing Form Factor of All Time

I'd say introducing the trackpad was more influential than the skinny design of the Air.
posted by Artw at 3:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung's phones are not 'slavish copies' of the iPhone

Then they're at least "indentured servitude copies".
posted by Egg Shen at 3:20 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


acb: "That and the platform was half-baked and designed by committee. A pre-iPhone app-capable phone was basically a normal, fixed-function mobile phone with a Java sandbox bolted onto it. The CPU was underpowered (as a fixed-function phone CPU didn't need much power, and the sandbox was an afterthought), and so anything running in the JVM was slow and jerky. (And we're talking ports of early-80s arcade games with the keypad as controls, not anything fancy.) The sandbox was just that: it had no access to most of the hardware, with the possible exception of being able to do HTTP requests. The potential of the platform didn't extend far beyond currency calculators and the aforementioned Tetris-scale games."

Yes, if you compare feature phones that can only run J2ME third party programs to smart phones that run binaries natively compiled for their CPU, feature phones will lose on power and extensibility. Thank you for playing the role of Captain Obvious there. While I'll grant that the Symbian API was shit, although that's mainly because C++ features taken for granted today didn't exist when EPOC32 was created, so they had to do it all themselves (that's what it really means to be a first mover, BTW), your complaints are ridiculous. Please point out the greater than 400MHz CPU that was available before 2007 that had a power profile usable with a less than 2000MAh battery, for example.

Symbian did really well in Europe where the carriers didn't have a say in what was made. Here in the US, nearly all phones were and still are sold by carriers and nearly all are subject to their meddling. Even the iPhone, although to a much lesser degree. They were all about reducing the BoM cost, even over functionality. This is why the 6682 shipped with 8MB of memory in freakin' 2005.

I guess if you want to knock everyone else for giving it a go before hardware had caught up, you can, but it seems a little weird.
posted by wierdo at 3:21 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Guys, collectively cut it out. Thank you.]
posted by cortex at 3:21 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the looks of things coming, we may not have the same form factor, a 10 cm by 3.5 cm slab of glass, in a few years time. Foldable, flexible and wearable devices are coming.

Any interesting concept designs beyond the usual design student work out there for a looksee?
posted by infini at 3:29 PM on August 7, 2012


I'd also say this about the Air – it's a prime example of a company getting things right the second time around – the first Air was awful, a prime example of fashion over usefulness, but they've really turned it into a fantastic machine.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on August 7, 2012


Ars Technica: Apple v. Samsung: Legendary Mac designer testifies about 'copied' icons
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:34 PM on August 7, 2012


Huh, I own an HTC phone so I didn't realize that the Samsung screen in question is the app drawer, rather than the actual TouchWiz homescreen.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:43 PM on August 7, 2012


Are you actually suggesting that someone would twist the facts about the difference between a home screen and an app drawer? I'm shocked that anyone would do that!
posted by zombieflanders at 3:54 PM on August 7, 2012


I'm more shocked that all the reporting on the suit is using that picture without pointing out that only one of the phones is displaying a home screen.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


SCO Files for Chapter 7
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Korean companies have been fast followers, and slavishly copied (and usually, eventually, improved upon) anything they could get their hands on, since the beginning of the emergence of Korea as a consumer products exporter. Even though that is changing to some extent in recent years, with actual design advances sometimes being made in Korea, that's just not a controversial thing to say (well, except here in Korea, of course).

I have little doubt that Samsung's phone division copied as much as they could from the iPhone.

That said, this lawsuit of Apple's is... distasteful and retrograde. But it's probably something they feel they need to do, to protect all those patents.

The problem here, I think -- and I am a very much a layman when it comes to the law -- is more the way that thse design and software patenting works than anything else.

"Hey guys, this iPhone thing is really good. Also, our UX is not so good. Can you do a better job, UX team? Here is a convoluted metaphore to inspire you. Also, here is some bullshit about design I read in a book at the airport. Also, don't go to that trade show. Also, work harder. Use more skill. Be better. I'm really important and busy, I can't do your jobs for you. Did you know you are doing a bad job and should be ashamed of yourselves? Have you tried doing a great job instead? Maybe try that. I'm just saying guys. It's just a suggestion. In conclusion, I am an executive."

Worst boss ever.


Ah, well, not so much. Really, it's an indictment of the way that corporate culture works here in Korea. (Again, like so much, it's slowly getting better, but in this case very slowly indeed.)

Management -- particularly at the chaebols, which are not publically held companies, but it's true in general -- here in Korea is, no matter how much window-dressing is draped over it, generally by fiat. The bossman (and it's almost without exception, still, a man) says some goofy shit in his faux-deep Voice of Authority, and everybody makes a big show of following the dictates of his received wisdom. This could be anything from 'everybody should say "thank you" to everyone else a lot more' to 'we need to copy the shit out of this competitor's product now get on it'.

There is more pushback to the imperial corporate edict here than there is in Japan, say, and there is certainly more labor organization and unrest (though that too is diminishing in frequency and intensity, overall), but the overall culture is, thanks at least in part to the neoConfucian organizing principles of the society at large, very much one of unquestioning submission to authority. Or perhaps more accurately, great skepticism privately but silence publicly. It sets up one of the primary cultural tensions here in Korea that seems to define so much of the way things work.

So this Samsung boss was really just doing what Korean bosses in general do -- assuming the infallibility of their own ideas, even if those ideas are half-digested, repackaged ideas that others have had before (see the Korean repackagings of Moore's Law as a (I think it was a Samsung exec's) Korean formulation, or the corporate rah-rah book called The Samsung Way, which was a straight-line response to the Toyota Way, and on and on), or whims, just plain wrong-headed and based on the ways things were decades ago, when they were coming up.

Which is not to say that Koreans don't have great ideas sometimes, that companies here do sometimes innovate, and that there aren't superb executive talents at some companies. All of those things exist. But corporate (and broader) culture at large has different ideas about how things are meant to work, and only recently has been starting to really internalize 'western' ideas about those things.

But the chaebols in particular -- those massive, family-owned conglomerates like Samsung and their ilk, who almost literally own the country -- are run like little kingdoms, in the old Choseon way.

I sometimes refer to North Korea as Korea's biggest chaebol, which either amuses or shocks the Korean friends I'm talking to, because it paints those massive companies on which the South Korean economy depends in an entirely different light than most are accustomed to.

Peter Underwood, a business consultant here, said similar things recently in this interview.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:00 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


If we are all wrong, and you are right, then please prove it with actual facts. Feel free to cite something credible, other than opinion. Dated, verifiable photographs of Samsung phones prior to 2007 would work for a lot of us, I think.

Here you go:

samsung designs from 2006, prep iphone
more designs pre and post iphone
a samsung UX touchscreen grid, 2006
A very 'iphone' samsung design - from 2006

Then we have these 'Sony inspired' i.e. 'taken from a Sony engineer design' sketches for what eventually became the iphone, in Apple's discovery for the trial:
Sony
'Jony'

What made the iPhone possible was capacitive multi-touch. smartphones and pdas prior to that - i.e. windows mobile 6 devices, for example, or Palm devices - used resistive screens, thus the requirement for styluses and hardware keyboards.

Apple did not invent multitouch capacitive screens, nor did they even make them, despite their claims at the iPhone launch.

Here's an example of the tech under discussion in 2005.

The original iphone was actually pretty limited though. No 3rd party apps - they wanted all 3rd party software to be HTML websites at original launch. No cut-n-paste. No multitasking at all. And of course the 'launch grid of icons' was a carbon copy of the old PalmOS interface, just in more colours.

I intentionally stuck with windows mobile for years after the iPhone came out because having tried one at the time, it was far too limited for the things I actually needed an internet connected PDA for (my phone was a basic nokia that went for weeks between charges; my windows mobile smartphones lasted a full day no problem). I'm still not convinced that getting great smeary fingerprints all over the screen you're actually trying to read is an improvement, to be honest.

But to go back slightly, if you build a device that is designed to be finger driven - i.e. using a capacitive screen - it's inevitable that it's going to need to be flat, large, and smooth. What the iPhone DID demonstrate was that the US smartphone market was so bad, that people would embrace a device that was pretty limited on features, as long as the features it did have were easy to pick up; and of course lack of multitasking made the smoothness possible, as it didn't have to worry about killing off all other processes when the screen was being touched.

The iPhone did of course get extra features in later versions; cut-n-paste, multitasking, native apps, notifications, voice actions, voice search... none of which they did first.

It's got nothing to do with whether you like Apple products or not; I'm typing this on OSX in safari, I recommended the ipad to my dad, and regularly do so to others; I'd probably be quite happy with an iPhone bar the walled garden, if I hadn't already gone with android back in the early days when it was the geeky OS for nerds, and have all my apps there.

But the smartphone market evolved as I was using it, and despite claims to the contrary, the iphone did not come out of nowhere, nor were apple first with many of its features - nor with any of the features that came later. It was part of a technical continuum - evolution, not revolution.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:06 PM on August 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


Then we have these 'Sony inspired' i.e. 'taken from a Sony engineer design' sketches for what eventually became the iphone, in Apple's discovery for the trial:

The Jony phone? Even Gizmodo disproved that story.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:26 PM on August 7, 2012


The "disproof" is Apple saying "nuh-uh." Man, that's convincing!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


And of course Apple seems to be saying how everything was locked down in a very internal and hush-hush atmosphere. If that's the case, how was Samsung copying if they had pretty much all of the essentials during said lockdown. Unless they're alleging corporate spying--which as far as I can tell they are not--they can't have it both ways.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:36 PM on August 7, 2012


The claim that any of these phones didn't influence the others seems doubtful to me. This is why hardware and software design patents are of dubious value.
posted by koeselitz at 6:44 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ArkhanJG: I'd argue that Apple's key innovation was that the software and, more importantly, UXX wasn't an afterthought - by which I really mean Jobs didn't let the carrier hack the experience to pieces or sandbag software updates. There were phones which technically had some features earlier but often effectively did not due to either horribly cumbersome implementations (Windows CE) or poor execution (Palm), rarely ever fixed in software updates. The iPhone shipped with a much better base implementation and Apple iterated at a pace which was previously unkown in the US phone industry.
posted by adamsc at 6:47 PM on August 7, 2012


OMG. So it turns out that the phone mockup photo that ArkhanJG linked to isn't even the same phone that Samsung called the Sony model during proceedings, but was, in fact, a Sony Ericsson Walkman that looks absolutely nothing like an iPhone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:09 PM on August 7, 2012


I'd be interested in seeing exactly how they decided that the "Sony style" argument refers to that particular Ericsson, and not the part of the interview where Ashida talks about his design goal of a phone that lacks hardware buttons completely.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:25 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyways, it's fucking ridiculous for non-shareholders to give a shit about this. Let them all rip-off each other and keep prices competitive for consumers.

No, this affects us all. There is an incredible amount of innovation and advances that are denied us because the big established players will move the competition out of the marketplace and into the courtroom when it suits them to do so. Smaller players - often genuinely revolutionary - are routinely crushed by these tactics, when they would likely triumph in the marketplace - which is why their larger competitors play dirty and win. The unusual thing here is that both ends of the "dispute" have an 800 pound gorilla, so the outcome isn't assured.

With the tech industry is so litigious, advances proceed at a pace largely throttled by court injunctions, legal threats, and bullying, while the immense costs of all this legal time (both monetary and other) is passed directly to the consumer.

You are the one paying for this circus. In more ways than you know.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:26 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


OMG. So it turns out that the phone mockup photo that ArkhanJG linked to isn't even the same phone that Samsung called the Sony model during proceedings, but was, in fact, a Sony Ericsson Walkman that looks absolutely nothing like an iPhone.

Uh what? If you're going to ignore everything else I said and just focus on one sub-link, you might at least get your facts right.

Here's what you linked - a Sony walkman, that was about an entirely different argument from Samsung; to whit, that an existing phone, the Sony Walkman, was inspiration for the iPhone.

The one _I_ linked to is a design by Shin Nishibori, who worked for Apple :

"Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was asked to create an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony’s design aesthetics back in 2006 after Tony Fadell sent around an interview with one of Sony’s chief designers. Nishibori even left the Sony logo on some of his mockups, while some of the logos were changed to “Jony” in homage to Apple’s Chief Designer, Jony Ive."

Don't believe me? Try here.

It was part of the design process of what eventually became the original iPhone. It was not the sole influence, and Apple had other designs as well. The point remains, despite your attempt to cloud the issue with completely irrelevent links, that the design around capacitive touchscreen phones was not solely an Apple phenomenon, nor were they the only company looking at such designs.

But what I linked IS a design that Apple came up with, with a Sony logo on it, inspired by information from Sony, as part of the design process of the iPhone.

OMG!

Now, care to the address the rest of my rebuttal at all?

If we are all wrong, and you are right, then please prove it with actual facts. Feel free to cite something credible, other than opinion. Dated, verifiable photographs of Samsung phones prior to 2007 would work for a lot of us, I think.


Asked, answered.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


corporations: they're all microsoft now.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:35 PM on August 7, 2012


The point remains, despite your attempt to cloud the issue with completely irrelevent links

You linked to the wrong phone, at least according to the WSJ. Now, if you want to question their facts, you're welcome to, but the phone you linked to is not the Sony phone that Samsung claims is infringing. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:40 PM on August 7, 2012


quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon: corporations: they're all microsoft now.

Ironically, all except Microsoft. They're working at it, though.
posted by gilrain at 7:40 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Don't make it personal folks, MetaTalk is your option.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:20 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung does not claim any Sony phone is infringing, according to your own link. They claim that an interview with Sony designers, which does not mention any particular Walkman model and has no illustrations, caught Jobs' eye, and "[r]ight after this article was circulated internally, Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to prepare a 'Sony-like' design for an Apple phone and then had CAD drawings and a three-dimensional model prepared."

No one disputes that this design was the result; the only difference between it and the one linked earlier is that one says "Jony" and the other says "Sony." What that indicates about how it was treated within Apple, I don't know. But the Sony phone it's put next to in an article illustration is irrelevant, because Samsung didn't claim there was an 'infringing phone.' The article that prompted the whole thing was text only and concerned a button-free design ethos. The Walkman 950, having a full keypad, is clearly not what Ashida and Morisawa were talking about.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:49 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung has been ripping off everyone forever. And no one seems to have a problem with that, which is amazing.

I honestly don't understand why Apple is going after the competition.

Because capitalism.


No, this affects us all. There is an incredible amount of innovation and advances that are denied us because the big established players will move the competition out of the marketplace and into the courtroom when it suits them to do so. Smaller players - often genuinely revolutionary - are routinely crushed by these tactics, when they would likely triumph in the marketplace -

Haven't read the whole thread, but this stuff caught my eye. Reminds me of where we are. William Gibson's future (from thirty years ago). Post-political, which is to say, it isn't capitalist/communist, east/west, left/right -- it's competing MEGA-SUPER-POWERFUL+WEALTHY interests who maybe aren't even human anymore playing on a level we normal folk can't even fathom (beyond borders, national currencies etc). And short of our cash, our assets, our blood (because they are vampires) they don't give a flying fuck about us.

So why take sides?

Actually, scratch that. I sort of have taken sides. With Samsung (for now), because it probably means I can get the cool stuff I need to accomplish the stuff I want to accomplish for cheaper. (for now) But that'll change, I suspect.

I conclude this sloppy attempt at articulation with the DEVO Corporate Anthem.
posted by philip-random at 9:58 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apple using the system to further their corporate goals, is just capitalism, plain and simple.

I missed the part about capitalism requiring government enforced monopolies to limit competition. Government enforced monopolies are the opposite of a competitive free market.

it's fucking ridiculous for non-shareholders to give a shit about this. Let them all rip-off each other and keep prices competitive for consumers.

Avoiding competitive pricing for consumers is the whole point of Apple's case. Apple is fighting to keep its monopoly in order to keep prices high. The last thing they want is competition.

The U.S. Constitution Copyright Clause states "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

The intent of patents is to promote progress, not to secure monopoly profits for corporations. It should be incumbent upon the patentee to prove that giving them a government monopoly does more good than harm to the public welfare. In addition to the harm to the public because of monopoly pricing, patents also inhibit new cycles of innovation based on the current state of the art.

The idea of "limited time" should be revisited. There is no evidence that limiting Apple's patent to say one year instead of 20 years would make any difference. It has taken competitors six years to make competing products while Apple has accumulated billions in its cash fund. There is no benefit to the public welfare by giving companies extended monopolies.
posted by JackFlash at 10:09 PM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


BP: OMG. So it turns out that the phone mockup photo that ArkhanJG linked to isn't even the same phone that Samsung called the Sony model during proceedings, but was, in fact, a Sony Ericsson Walkman that looks absolutely nothing like an iPhone.

Really? You don't think this looks like this? ...a metal band sandwiched between two black panels.

I'm not saying it's an exact copy, but there seems to have been some... inspiration. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to claim it looks "nothing like an iPhone." Also, I don't get how the phone/walkman distinction matters here.

I don't know if the walkman image I linked to is the one in question, but it looks like the one in the AllThingsD article.
posted by VoteBrian at 10:51 PM on August 7, 2012


Here we go, 132 pages with images.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:01 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really? You don't think this looks like this? ...a metal band sandwiched between two black panels.

If you ignore the hardware keys, the screen set in a bezel, the jog wheel, the IR port, the stylus, the pop port, the operating system, the matte finish and that the metal band on the W950i is plastic.

Sure. I guess you could say it looks like it.
posted by Talez at 11:12 PM on August 7, 2012


Talez, you did continue reading didn't you?

I'm not saying it's an exact copy, but there seems to have been some... inspiration. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to claim it looks "nothing like an iPhone."

You're clearly trying to be an ass about this, but do you really think it looks nothing like an iPhone?
posted by VoteBrian at 11:20 PM on August 7, 2012


it looks nothing like an iPhone?

I really don't. But that's because of the matte finish alone and squarish profile rather than Web 2.0 rounded corner obsession. It's a glass and metal construction vs a injection molded plastic relic. Then the width of the plastic metal accent compared to the rest of the construction is all off compared to the iPhone, the screen is in the wrong place and it generally has as much in common as a Huawei Blaze.
posted by Talez at 11:33 PM on August 7, 2012


Also, I love how (while making your reply as snarky as possible), you had to resort to the fucking operating system as an example of how the two look different. Especially since the walkman is powered off in the picture I linked.
posted by VoteBrian at 11:37 PM on August 7, 2012


I used to use one?

Before the iPhone they were the best, most responsive (post-T610) phones you could buy.

Z1010, Z800i, W950i, W910i (arguably the best feature phone ever made) and going on to the iPhone 3G after it was finally released in Australia.
posted by Talez at 11:52 PM on August 7, 2012


Although UIQ was far less responsive than the Sony Ericsson OS (hence the move back to the W910i).
posted by Talez at 11:53 PM on August 7, 2012


Samsung’s 2010 Report Says its Galaxy Would Be Better If it Were Just More Like the iPhone

As part of its case against Samsung, Apple has shown snippets of an internal Samsung document comparing the original Galaxy S phone with the iPhone.

On Tuesday, Apple managed to get the whole 132-page document admitted into evidence. And it’s a doozy.

The 2010 report, translated from Korean, goes feature by feature, evaluating how Samsung’s phone stacks up against the iPhone.

Authored by Samsung’s product engineering team, the document evaluates everything from the home screen to the browser to the built in apps on both devices. In each case, it comes up with a recommendation on what Samsung should do going forward and in most cases its answer is simple: Make it work more like the iPhone.

In short, the evaluation report makes the case that the Galaxy (identified here as the “S1″) would be better if it behaved more like the iPhone and featured a similar user interface.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 AM on August 8, 2012


You're clearly trying to be an ass about this, but do you really think it looks nothing like an iPhone?

Look, just taking inspiration from other people's designs, whether protected under a design patent/registered design or not, is quite legal.

As I've already tried to make clear a few dozen comments above, the scope of protection given to design patents is really narrow. It's pretty difficult to be found to infringe unless you deliberately set out to make a confusingly similar product. Is the iPhone confusingly similar to that Sony phone? Clearly not. The question here is whether the early Samsung Galaxy models were confusingly similar to the iPhone. At least one English court has found they were "not as cool", let's see what this US court says.

If this was such an easy call, Samsung and Apple would not be litigating all over the world. They would have reached a settlement long ago, or, more likely, Samsung would have done like other Android vendors and made their phones look distinctively unlike the iPhone. Instead, they sailed quite close to the wind. Too close, perhaps? We'll see.
posted by Skeptic at 1:02 AM on August 8, 2012


That report BP just linked is pretty damning. I recommend zooming and actually looking through it (embedded a little ways down the linked page), not just the executive summary.
posted by churl at 2:22 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haven't read the whole thread, but this stuff caught my eye. Reminds me of where we are. William Gibson's future (from thirty years ago).

Except, ironically, that nobody in William Gibson's future had smartphones.

(My Palm TpipeX, which I loved, actually behaved a lot like a smartphone - large screen, hardware buttons at the bottom, grid of apps on the home screen. But it had an outcurving shape, and a resistive touchscreen, of course - the second of which felt like a bigger change than the first when I upgraded.

I used to connect it by bluetooth to the EDGE connection of my Sony Ericsson phone, and use it, for all intents and purposes, as if it were a smartphone - although that means by tapping out IMs to my partner with a stylus. At the time it felt awfully futuristic... but nowadays, when I connect my tablet to my smartphone's data connection by wi-fi to tap out IMs to my partner with a finger, it all feels very old-fashioned....)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:49 AM on August 8, 2012


You linked to the wrong phone, at least according to the WSJ. Now, if you want to question their facts, you're welcome to, but the phone you linked to is not the Sony phone that Samsung claims is infringing. Sorry.

No, I linked to precisely the image I intended to - the 'Sony inspired' sketches that an Apple designer made as part of the iphone design process - to add weight to my entire argument that design follow technology, to whit, capacitive touch screens i.e. finger driven phones will be all screen and flat - as samsung were working on it 2006, for example.

You're the one who brought up an entirely different actual Sony phone that samsung claimed in a deposition was part inspiration for the iPhone - an argument I did not make, link, or in any way refer to.

In other words, classic misdirection in another direction entirely because you are unwilling to admit you're wrong.

If we are all wrong, and you are right, then please prove it with actual facts. Feel free to cite something credible, other than opinion. Dated, verifiable photographs of Samsung phones prior to 2007 would work for a lot of us, I think.

Which I've done - samsung phone designs prior to 2007 that look remarkably like say, the Galaxy S, and were the basis for the F700. Now, care to address my actual post instead of repeatedly going off on an entirely different tanget about a different Samsung argument that I never mentioned; where you're claiming that A Sony Walkman phone was what I meant to link to, instead of what I did actual link to and talk about?

I'm not disputing facts. I'm disputing you're arguing in good faith.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:58 AM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Mac designer: Samsung phone fooled me

That anecdote, shared in court this morning, came from Susan Kare, who is perhaps best known for designing the original set of icons for Apple's first Macintosh. Those designs include the "happy Mac" icon users saw when booting up the machine, as well as the bomb icon when something wrong...

At the heart of it is Apple's '305 patent (pictured right), which covers the design of the iPhone's home screen. That's the first screen Apple filed a patent for immediately after releasing the iPhone in June 2007, and was later granted for in November 2009. In this trial, Apple is aiming the patent at numerous Samsung devices over what it says are design similarities, claiming that consumers could be confused.

Kare said that that was, in fact, the conclusion she had drawn after evaluating nearly a dozen Samsung phones. On that list were 11 of Samsung's smartphones, including the Fascinate, Captivate, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S (i9000), Gem, Indulge, Mesmerize, Galaxy S Showcase (i500), and Vibrant -- all devices Kare said were similar to the design depicted in the patent.

"The overall visual impression on all of these screens -- compared each one by one -- compared to the screenshot from the iPhone 3G, were confusingly similar," she said...

Kare offered that there were numerous ways Samsung could have provided designs that she thought would not be so similar, saying it was her job as a designer to do that...

Kare's design chops extend well beyond Apple. In addition to working for the graphics on the first Mac and Steve Jobs' NeXT, Kare noted that she's worked for rival Microsoft. There she designed the card decks in the built-in solitaire software, and the notepad icon in Windows 3.1 and beyond.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:27 AM on August 8, 2012


Conan on Samsung vs Apple: Samsung, Think Slightly Different
posted by Chekhovian at 3:50 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That report BP just linked is pretty damning. I recommend zooming and actually looking through it (embedded a little ways down the linked page), not just the executive summary.

How, exactly? First of all, it's from 2010, not 2007. Second, it's pointing out exactly how different they are, most of the recommendations are pretty generic (better use of space, synchronize with devices easier, etc), and a good number of them are Android issues that they wish

Mac designer: Samsung phone fooled me

Interesting that you left out this exchange (emphasis mine):
Samsung fought back against Kare's claims by showing one of the company's Droid-branded phones booting up, live in the courtroom. The device in question showed a prominent Samsung logo, Droid opening video with sound, and required two extra user steps before users could see the same application view Apple claimed Samsung was infringing. Kare replied by saying she had only prepared to compare the look and feel of the two operating systems, and not evaluate their functionality.

Samsung made further efforts to point out the differences between the look and feel of the two platforms, breaking out side-by-side comparisons of where icons were placed and the way they looked. Samsung counsel Charles Verhoeven drilled Kare on who owned the basic iconography found on both platforms, including things like the phone receiver, the clock, and even background colors on the icons.
Or as the WSJ puts it:
Ms. Kare said that she had even become confused herself, once picking up a Samsung phone off a table full of devices at one of the lawyer’s offices when she wanted to make a point about the iPhone.

“I mistook one for the other,” she said. “In addition to the analysis, I personally had the experience of being confused.”

Samsung lawyers, in their cross-examination of Ms. Kare, focused on the start-up process for a Samsung phone, including when it initially says “Samsung” on the screen, shows an animated “Droid” advertisement and then a home screen with a Google Inc. search bar at the top. Customers then have to push a button for the phone to display the familiar grid that Apple claims infringes its design. Google supplies the Android software used in Samsung smartphones cited in the case.

Samsung’s lawyer, Charles Verhoeven, asserted that in the process for getting to the application screen—which Apple accused Samsung of copying from the iPhone—a customer would clearly know the difference between an iPhone and a Samsung phone.

Mr. Verhoeven also cited the differences between icons, such as the messaging application in the Samsung “Fascinate” phone, which doesn’t use the familiar rounded-square images. Additionally, he noted, images such as the one used for Apple’s Calculator app looked different from Samsung’s images.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:40 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


By 2006, it was evident that the mobile device was already moving towards full touch candy bar shapes and these conceptual designs were emerging from varied continents and brands and designers. Did Apple copy LG to be copied by Samsung given they were all copying BenQ is not a matter that is worthy of the time and effort invested in litigation. This entire exercise is one of market dominance and "business as war" metaphorisms, not IP or design language choices. We'll look back in 2014 and write case studies concluding the same.

This is also Apple's modus operandi - while grey box IBM PC clones ended up changing the market, yet the dominant standard offered its own long term revenue benefits - the deliberate shut down of the Tangerines and Pomegranates resulted in the closed controlled ecosystem visible today. The same thing happened with Creative Tech when the iPods came out.

The phone market however is not and will never be comparable to the PC market. And attempts to strangle its evolution in the same way as MP3 players and desktop boxes is what has resulted in this ever growing mess. There's a lovely visualization somewhere of who is suing whom in the mobile arena.

The reasons for this not following the same smooth path that the music and the computer system patent suit play did are more related to the fundamental characteristics of the telcom industry/s and markets - here, unlike in the case of a music shop or software store, the service is provided by myriads of national and private operators, many of whom have entirely different mandates for provision in their home markets.

imho only of course.
posted by infini at 5:35 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Apple hasn't nailed the Platonic ideal of the smartphone shape. I mean, come on, it's more a screen than a phone.

Popping in here late to say that there's a subset of consumers (I'm one) who don't really care if they ever get another phone call again but are very happy to have an easy-to-use email/text/web-surfing machine that works almost anywhere in their pocket. The "phone" is a secondary part of the equation for me; I care about the pocket computer and the data contract.
posted by immlass at 6:28 AM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah, the Nokia Morph concept of flexible, wearable and whatnot. It'll have to be a Meego based startup then at the rate their shedding jobs in Finland.
posted by infini at 6:31 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a vague and spurious patent with a scope so broad it's impossible to enforce without utterly stifling the market.

In 2012, there's some other kind? I can't remember reading one.
posted by flabdablet at 10:42 AM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interesting that you left out this exchange

Interesting that the part you didn't highlight is kind of a critical point, emphasis mine:

Samsung fought back against Kare's claims by showing one of the company's Droid-branded phones booting up, live in the courtroom. The device in question showed a prominent Samsung logo, Droid opening video with sound, and required two extra user steps before users could see the same application view Apple claimed Samsung was infringing. Kare replied by saying she had only prepared to compare the look and feel of the two operating systems, and not evaluate their functionality.

Kare's expertise is not in the mechanics of how Android boots up, but how it looks and feels. It doesn't matter, really, that she didn't look at the boot-up window, because, as she points out, the design elements that Samsung copied were somewhere else entirely. Samsung's lawyers are applying their classic misdirection tactics, by trying to shift focus away from the elements that their engineers were directed to copy, at the request of one of the bosses, as the shooting memo uncovered, and which this latest 132-page UI treatise doubly confirms.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:24 AM on August 8, 2012


How, exactly? First of all, it's from 2010, not 2007. Second, it's pointing out exactly how different they are, most of the recommendations are pretty generic (better use of space, synchronize with devices easier, etc), and a good number of them are Android issues that they wish

That's one interpretation. The document outlines specific details of iOS design that needed to be copied more or less intact. In fact, the unambiguous wording on several slides is, more or less, "We need to fix up our device to look like Apple's." Further, non-generic adjectives like "luxurious" were used to describe what design aspects needed to be copied. I've never before heard of luxury being equated with something generic. But people should read the document. It's very interesting insider stuff.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on August 8, 2012


Kare's expertise is not in the mechanics of how Android boots up, but how it looks and feels. It doesn't matter, really, that she didn't look at the boot-up window, because, as she points out, the design elements that Samsung copied were somewhere else entirely.

The whole point of the suit is that Apple is losing money because people are confusing their products with Samsung's. Which would mean that they have to ignore:
the box with the prominent Samsung logo on it
the prominent Samsung logo on the phone itself
the boot sequence with a large "Droid" animation and loud voice saying the same thing
the homescreen that is not in the same format as an iPhone
the sequence of actions to get to the app drawer that is not used on an iPhone
The fact that she wasn't brought in to compare that just means that, just maybe, there's a whole lot of stuff that differentiates Samsung's products from Apple's, but their lawyers and supporters have chosen to zero in on one or two surface elements as evidence of an complete--or in their words "slavish"--product similarity. And some of that (devices that are rounded rectangles and gear icons for settings should beexclusive to Apple? WTF?) would be silly if it wasn't so dangerous. What's next, only Apple can use green buttons for positive/approve functions and red buttons for negative/disapprove functions, despite the universal significance of those colors for those functions?

Samsung's lawyers are applying their classic misdirection tactics, by trying to shift focus away from the elements that their engineers were directed to copy, at the request of one of the bosses, as the shooting memo uncovered, and which this latest 132-page UI treatise doubly confirms.

If Apple is going to make the main thrust of their argument that no one can tell the products apart, then it's not "misdirection" when Samsung shows them that, hey, that's not really the case.

That's one interpretation. The document outlines specific details of iOS design that needed to be copied more or less intact. In fact, the unambiguous wording on several slides is, more or less, "We need to fix up our device to look like Apple's."

Could you point out those slides? I'm not seeing any "unambiguous wording" that their device specifically needs to look like Apple's or details of iOS design as opposed to UI/UX in general. As I pointed out above, the suggestions seem to be more along the lines of "this needs to take up more/less space" or "we need to show the device is connected."

Further, non-generic adjectives like "luxurious" were used to describe what design aspects needed to be copied. I've never before heard of luxury being equated with something generic.

Uh, what? I can think of tons of things where "luxurious" is equated with something generic. For instance, if the CEO of Toyota pointed out heated leather seats in a BMW as a suggestion for his engineers, would you really call for Toyota to be sued when they start using heated leather seats in their cars? There's tons of general aspects of cars, or houses, or furniture, or any of a number of products being referred to as luxurious.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corinthian leather?
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


would you really call for Toyota to be sued when they start using heated leather seats in their cars?

If Toyota copied the leather texture, color, stitching, shape and other details — as part of a larger corporate directive to copy their competitor in other ways, if you want the correct metaphor — no one should act surprised if they get sued.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on August 8, 2012


If Toyota copied the leather texture, color, stitching, shape and other details — as part of a larger corporate directive to copy their competitor in other ways, if you want the correct metaphor — no one should act surprised if they get sued.

Your definition of "copy" here seems to be rather broad and not exactly correct. To continue the metaphor, it's like Toyota's corporate directive was to have a sporty car with heated leather seats and four doors that came in the same colors, but BMW's lawsuit claims that it's an exact replica of an M5 because it's car-shaped, and further, that large numbers of consumers have been buying your car and thinking it's still an M5 despite the fact that it says "Toyota" inside and out, has a different engine, and comes in automatic instead of manual.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at competitor's products in an attempt to compete with them in a number of areas is common in the auto industry. One of the oft cited examples is Ford's attempt to improve the Taurus:

Breaking down and testing competing cars, as well as listening to customer input played a large part in the development of the third-generation Taurus, just like it did during the development of the first generation. Many competing cars were broken down and extensively tested in order for the Taurus to be designed to be superior to them in terms of comfort, performance, and refinement.[4] Most notably, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord were extensively tested, and the Taurus' suspension was designed to emulate these cars' ride and handling techniques.

Source

Apple's attempt to stifle this common practice is terrible. They build products based on what others have done before them as well. These things do not exist in a vacuum. Perhaps they'll succeed in legally getting something that does not exist to exist.

Cars from different manufacturers can also look remarkably similar as well in terms of shapes, colours and attempting to compete by analyzing, mimicking, and copying others is how it's often done, including by Apple.
posted by juiceCake at 12:49 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blaze, you still fundamentally misunderstand what the law of patents and trademarks is supposed to protect and what it is not. You're not a lawyer, but some of us are.

That Samsung saw the iPhone and thought, "fuck, that's so much better than what we're doing, we need to compete" is not in dispute. Wanting to compete and following the lead of the market-leader is not legally actionable, no matter how much you wish it were.

What is in dispute is whether the product that Samsung created was so similar to the iPhone as to mislead the average customer (the trade dress claim), or used registered marks without licence, or used patented techniques to make their product work. None of the evidence you bring -- "look, Samsung saw the iPhone was better and wanted their phones to be more similar!!!" has any relevance to those legal claims. Zero. As with the Ford anecdote above, it is not surprising, shocking, or illegal for competitors in a marketplace to seek to follow the lead of the acknowledged market leader.

Apple has yet to bring forward significant numbers witnesses who went to the trouble of purchasing a Samsung, got it home, and were baffled that it wasn't an iPhone. They have yet to prove that Samsung took one of their trademarks and used it (all they have noted is that some icons were 'similar'). And as far as I know (but could be wrong on this point) they have yet to identify a specific patent that Samsung has violated in the design of their phone (this is why they are relying heavily on the trade-dress claims, but again, without significant numbers of customers coming forward saying they were duped, this is a hard claim to make out.)
posted by modernnomad at 1:13 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


juiceCake, as it happens, carmakers are among the chief users of design patents. They may look at what each other do, and mimick each other, but only up to a point. If they feel a competitor has stolen their design, they will fall on them like a ton of bricks. They may even go after repair part makers.
They also take their utility patents pretty seriously, btw.
posted by Skeptic at 1:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I quite liked the UK High Court decision, myself - that Samsung products could not be mistaken for Apple products, because they weren't cool enough. Samsung get to say "officially not mimicking Apple!" and Apple get to say "officially cooler than Samsung!"

In a way, everyone gets what they want - apart from the money, obviously, but what matters more, in the end? A few billie, or bragging rights?
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:58 PM on August 8, 2012


Could you point out those slides? I'm not seeing any "unambiguous wording" that their device specifically needs to look like Apple's or details of iOS design as opposed to UI/UX in general.

Just about every slide summarizes what Samsung needs to do to make their products look like Apple's. Putting a screenshot of an iOS app next to a Samsung application and writing bulletpointed notes about what needs changing is unambiguously saying, "Here is a specific situation where we need our software to look like iOS. Here's how." "Here's another situation, why it needs to change, and what we'll do to copy from iOS."

None of the evidence you bring -- "look, Samsung saw the iPhone was better and wanted their phones to be more similar!!!" has any relevance to those legal claims.

If your claim is true, Samsung would not have needed to work day and night to try to keep these increasingly damning documents out of court proceedings. I don't need to be a lawyer to know that Samsung's behavior stinks of nervous guilt.

The trade dress claim you refer to is something that Samsung is particularly worried about in the 132-page memo. It's almost like people don't read the links, but I'll even highlight the section of the article that mentions it:

Of course, to win its case, Apple will have to prove not just that Samsung made its phones more iPhone-like, but that it either infringed on the specific design and utility patents at issue, or that it infringes on specific design elements of the iPhone and iPad — what’s known in legal terms as “trade dress.”

What no longer in dispute is that Samsung directed its engineers to copy Apple's products. Not just abstract rectangles, but clear, detailed aspects of hardware, software and packaging were lifted wholesale into Android.

As I said before, given the wealth of documentary evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. (Reality being, you know, facts, evidence — the sort of verifiable, real-world thing that people can see in front of them.)

It's all documented, now. Samsung's policy of copying Apple is what the legal documents show, and that documentation what Samsung has been fighting tooth and nail to keep anyone from seeing for themselves.

Where we are now is lawyers interviewing UI experts to determine if specific patents that Apple owns were violated.

And when Apple brings in a UI expert (who worked for Apple, but also worked for Microsoft), Samsung's response is to ask her questions that are almost completely irrelevant to the patent(s) in question. No one goes to an AT&T store to look at phones boot up, so no one is going to confuse Samsung clone phones with an iPhone from looking at boot-up screens. But more to the point, the patent(s) in question are not related to Samsung's boot-up screens, but the layout and design of icons and widgets in apps throughout the phone.

Samsung's lawyers were trying to distract the jury with questions irrelevant to why Kare was there, and Kare was clever to see through it and cut through Samsung's BS and explain clearly what a UI designer is and why this particular UI designer was on the stand. Good for her for standing up to them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:58 PM on August 8, 2012


juiceCake, as it happens, carmakers are among the chief users of design patents. They may look at what each other do, and mimick each other, but only up to a point. If they feel a competitor has stolen their design, they will fall on them like a ton of bricks.

Further digging shows that that's not exactly related to Apple and Samsung's dispute:
The extent to which the QQ was a copy of Daewoo Matiz aka Chevrolet Spark was also demonstrated by the GM executives. The guys from GM also demonstrated that various components of Spark are interchangeable with the QQ without any modification. GM China Group has said that the two vehicles in question "shared remarkably identical body structure, exterior design, interior design and key components.”
There is no identical body structure or exterior design with the Samsung products. Similar, yes, but as far as anyone's been able to prove, only in the way that most mobile devices are, not identical. And of course, the interior design and key components aren't really similar, let alone interchangeable, and even less so without any modification.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure. I never denied that there aren't disputes, that patents aren't protected. But I don't see Toyota suing Honda who in turn sue Mazda for the similarities between the Camry, 626, and Accord for example, or suing over the use of leather seats. All of are, I suspect, though I wouldn't want to pretend to know the minds of others or distort their perspective, aware their is line that can be crossed. All of us are not in agreement of where that line is.

The culture, I think, has changed as well, with lawsuits flying left, right, and centre. I've even seen some people claim, for example, that the very fact that Samsung has a black coloured phone is crossing the line. I disagree. Some, I think, would not.
posted by juiceCake at 2:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


If your claim is true, Samsung would not have needed to work day and night to try to keep these increasingly damning documents out of court proceedings. I don't need to be a lawyer to know that Samsung's behavior stinks of nervous guilt.

That isn't how lawyering works. I'm not an attorney but I read a shit-ton of legal briefs for my job, and it's pretty impressive how far they'll go to exclude some probably-innocuous factoid solely on the principle that the other side wants it in. You don't give an inch when you can avoid it, and the lawyers get paid by the hour so why not contest everything?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:17 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just about every slide summarizes what Samsung needs to do to make their products look like Apple's. Putting a screenshot of an iOS app next to a Samsung application and writing bulletpointed notes about what needs changing is unambiguously saying, "Here is a specific situation where we need our software to look like iOS. Here's how." "Here's another situation, why it needs to change, and what we'll do to copy from iOS."

Here's the "Directions for Improvement" from the first couple of slides:
"Landscape mode should be supported whether rotated horizontally to the right or left."
"Need to modify by increasing the size of the daily schedule display area in order to make it ledgible [sic]."
"Need to enlarge the text in the menu options at the top and the number fonts on Dial screen to match the space."
"Need to modify so that a Call can be ended using the Hold button.
As you pointed out above, it's up to interpretation here, and yours is that basic device aesthetics and UI concepts belong to Apple, which is frightening in its scope.

What no longer in dispute is that Samsung directed its engineers to copy Apple's products. Not just abstract rectangles, but clear, detailed aspects of hardware, software and packaging were lifted wholesale into Android.

This bears repeating: Android ≠ Samsung. Android doesn't do anything with hardware or packaging, and there are tons of things about the software (including the Android concept and company) that existed before the release of iOS. Which, again, was under such a lockdown that Apple would also have to be suing to prove that everybody had infiltrated their design team to be credible. And as for hardware, we've got plenty of evidence refuting that above, to which you held up just one small part (the "Jony" model) as a total vindication without any further explanation. And let's be honest: there are large parts of of the "packaging dispute" is quite frankly astoundingly stupid, as if Apple is the only one deserving to, have a white box with the product displayed on the front, or to be the first thing you see when you open a box.

As I said before, given the wealth of documentary evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. (Reality being, you know, facts, evidence — the sort of verifiable, real-world thing that people can see in front of them.)

This goes both ways, as pointed with the examples of the LG Prada and various portions of preceding Android functionality. And that doesn't even get into the manipulation of images Apple's been guilty of. You've selectively addressed whatever evidence makes your arguments convenient (your focus on the small "Jony" portion of the design documents, for example).
posted by zombieflanders at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyway, the car thing is an absolutely atrocious metaphor, and so I'm not surprised to see it get dragged into here. No one expects to open up a Ford car and sees a competitor's engine under the hood — and we don't. No one lifts up a Ford car and expects to see a competitor's catalytic converter at the back — and we don't. No one sits in a Ford car and expects to be sitting in a GM power bucket seat underneath a Chrysler moonroof. Likewise, no one opens up a Samsung phone and expects to see iOS-styled components — but, unfortunately for Samsung, we do — as well as UI experts testifying in court, who can see the same thing for themselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:24 PM on August 8, 2012


As I said before, given the wealth of documentary evidence at this point, anyone who denies that Samsung and others redirected their efforts to copy Apple after the release of the iPhone — from important aspects of hardware to software to packaging — is basically demanding everyone else to close their eyes and ignore reality. (Reality being, you know, facts, evidence — the sort of verifiable, real-world thing that people can see in front of them.)


Except I'm not sure who's denying that, other than your opposite numbers on the Android side of the fanboy fence. My point was precisely that yes, it is very clear that Samsung wanted to imitate the successful UX and other design elements of the iPhone, but that clear imitation does not meet the legal threshold of violating trade-dress IP. What you see as the "end of the argument" is nothing more than the beginning. Again, for clarity, trade dress laws are designed to prevent consumers from being duped into purchasing one set of good believing they were the goods of another. If Apple can't bring evidence showing this, they're going to have a hard road ahead of them (or, alternatively, trade dress laws in the US are about to get a huge shakeup, which is entirely possible).

Samsung's lawyers were trying to distract the jury with questions irrelevant to why Kare was there, and Kare was clever to see through it and cut through Samsung's BS and explain clearly what a UI designer is and why this particular UI designer was on the stand. Good for her for standing up to them.

This is just some weird anthropomorphization where now even lawyers hired to professionally represent a client are full of "BS" and shady tricks when they in court because they represent a corporation you don't like, while expert witnesses paid to testify on behalf of the client you prefer are "clever". You do realize that both Samsung and Apple hire outside counsel for big cases like this, right? It's not Tim Cook and a couple of Apple Genius bar guys sitting around with their head legal counsel coming up with strategy? I find this projection of personalities onto corporations very strange.
posted by modernnomad at 2:28 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Anyway, the car thing is an absolutely atrocious metaphor, and so I'm not surprised to see it get dragged into here. No one expects to open up a Ford car and sees a competitor's engine under the hood — and we don't. No one lifts up a Ford car and expects to see a competitor's catalytic converter at the back — and we don't. No one sits in a Ford car and expects to be sitting in a GM power bucket seat underneath a Chrysler moonroof. Likewise, no one opens up a Samsung phone and expects to see iOS-styled components — but, unfortunately for Samsung, we do — as well as UI experts testifying in court, who can see the same thing for themselves.

Metaphor? What metaphor? Did someone pull out the old BMW = Apple nonsense in this thread and I missed it?

No one expects to turn on a Samsung phone and find iOS running on it. And get this, they don't.

Now in the case of cars, when I get in one I do often seen bucket seats, steering wheels, gear shifters, etc., that are remarkably similar to those in other cars. My experience must differ from your own but of course, experience does differ.
posted by juiceCake at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


My fiancee's Honda has the same icon for headlights and high beams as my Hyundai. This is somewhat different from using identical engine blocks.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do often seen bucket seats, steering wheels, gear shifters, etc., that are remarkably similar to those in other cars.

Back when I had my little Honda Civic, I don't recall seeing a Toyota-designed steering wheel in it. Just one person's horrible experience!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2012


Except I'm not sure who's denying that

I could very easily cite several comments in this same thread from a number of people, if I cared to. Not to mention comments in previous threads on this same subject.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:47 PM on August 8, 2012


Indeed, they would, as noted, be the fanboys on the other side of the fence. The fact that they exist does not prove Apple's legal claims.
posted by modernnomad at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Likewise, no one opens up a Samsung phone and expects to see iOS-styled components — but, unfortunately for Samsung, we do — as well as UI experts testifying in court, who can see the same thing for themselves.

Yes, some of those pictures show close matches. But others use basic and fairly universal concepts (gears, pictures of flowers, speech bubbles, etc.) that these same UI experts are claiming deserves to be unique to Apple.

Metaphor? What metaphor? Did someone pull out the old BMW = Apple nonsense in this thread and I missed it?

To be fair, BMW was a stand-in for "interchangeable luxury item" because BP was claiming no one had ever used "luxurious" in a generic sense to refer to a product.

Back when I had my little Honda Civic, I don't recall seeing a Toyota-designed steering wheel in it.

But I'm assuming it was a circle, had 2-4 spokes, a horn in the middle (with a bugle-like icon), and had one or two stems for lights and/or wipers, no?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back when I had my little Honda Civic, I don't recall seeing a Toyota-designed steering wheel in it.

That's great, perhaps they weren't using the same steering wheel supplier at the time. Did the Honda steering wheel function at all similarly to a Toyota one? Was it round? Did it have a horn? An airbag? Was it green instead of black or grey or brown? Did it turn the front wheels to the left and right or was it pretty unique and managed to turn the back wheels on a FWD car and it was square?

My Android phone doesn't have an Apple designed OS on it either. It does have a screen, it is black, it's considerably thinner than my sister's iPhone and we get along great. I'm using Mint on my Netbook, if only Apple had the rights to GUIs then I wouldn't be so confused and not understand that I'm using Mint instead of OS something or the other.

Somehow I think that the Toyota 86, which is very similar in form to the Hyundai Genesis won't be resulting in any lawsuits. Thankfully Hyundai isn't Apple.

Very different perspectives here and it seems they will not meet. No biggy.
posted by juiceCake at 3:19 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's patentable is the method by which the end goals are achieved, not the actual end goals themselves.

One may not be a developer but some of us are. And we know that UI elements — such as those in question in this trial — are computed procedurally:

When iOS displays your application icon on the Home screen of a device, it automatically adds the following visual effects:

• Rounded corners
• Drop shadow
• Reflective shine (unless you prevent the shine effect)


I'm not a lawyer, but if one agrees that a method is patentable, and given that cited process of making icons look a specific and consistent way in iOS makes use of a method or process to accomplish, the documentation that shows Samsung directing its engineers to copy this method to render its own user interface — specifically, slide 126, which unequivocally directs engineers to copy these same rendering effects to remove inconsistencies in appearance and make Android more iOS-like — does not seem to bolster the idea being bandied about that UI design is a generic bit of engineering.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: “No one expects to open up a Ford car and sees a competitor's engine under the hood — and we don't.”

So imagine how confused I was when I opened up my Apple iPad and found a Samsung engine under the hood.
posted by koeselitz at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weren't you the one who said this isn't about patents on rounded corners?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


i'll admit, i was pretty confused when i walked into the yugo dealership and saw pictures of mercedes-benz cars on the wall.

(oh god participating in a thread that has devolved into car analogies what am i doing)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:50 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


(oh god participating in a thread that has devolved into car analogies what am i doing)

This must be a corollary to Godwin's Law, where someone feels compelled to drop in awful car-based metaphors and analogies. We'll call it the Corolla Corollary.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on August 8, 2012


Weren't you the one who said this isn't about patents on rounded corners?

Um. Nope.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2012


This must be a corollary to Godwin's Law, where someone feels compelled to drop in awful car-based metaphors and analogies. We'll call it the Corolla Corollary.

It's a wonderful way to dismiss relevant examples too, except of course, when you use them as an example yourself. I often forget the privileges of the regal class who can put down what others do even if they do it themselves. Woe are we beneath the heels.
posted by juiceCake at 4:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, Blaze, you're still confusing the method/result distinction from a legal perspective. The result here is rounded corners and what have you. The method would be whatever programming technique Apple uses to make that happen. In other words, rounded corners, dropped shadows, and reflective shine are not things that have historically been patentable. If, however, Apple for instance developed a particularly effective algorithm for determining how those 3 things could be accomplished with 30% less computing resources, then that method would be patentable and Samsung would not be able to use that particular technique.

In any event, I get the feeling this yet another one of those things that we are just going to keep going in circles on. It seems like you want to argue all day about how Apple makes better phones and is generally more innovative than Samsung. Funnily enough, I don't even disagree with you on that score, but it's simply not relevant to the legal questions at issue. I think you've got the corporate blinders on again, not for the first time.
posted by modernnomad at 5:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


In any event, I get the feeling this yet another one of those things that we are just going to keep going in circles on...

I get that feeling too. Thanks for not making your disagreement personal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:47 PM on August 8, 2012


Samsung Calls BS On Apple's Charges Of Copying
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:49 PM on August 8, 2012


I for one am extremely glad that there are phones available that let me do pretty much everything I can use an Apple phone for without requiring me to engage with Apple's vendor lock-in.

I would never buy an Apple phone. Not because they're bad phones - they're fine phones - but because I have never been given any reason to trust Apple, post-Woz, to give two hoots about the safety of my data or the ways I prefer to use and combine my devices.

Avoiding vendor lock-in to the greatest extent possible is an attitude that informs all my personal technology acquisition decisions, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. The idea that I might buy a Samsung phone because I thought it was an iPhone is beyond ludicrous.
posted by flabdablet at 9:08 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The irony is that Apple is trying to do the same thing they complained about Microsoft doing. In this case they are trying to use a government enforced monopoly, which is much more restrictive than any market monopoly, to keep prices artificially high, limit customer choice and limit industry innovation.
posted by JackFlash at 9:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


juiceCake, you are still being very disingenuous. a Toyota 86 may look to you quite similar in shape to the Hyundai Genesis, but it isn't more similar to it than previous sports cars were. It hasn't copied what makes the Genesis distinctive with respect to every other car.
Apple's attack on Samsung is three-pronged: trade dress, design patents and utility patents. The distinctiveness aspect is fundamental to the "design patent" prong.
And, again, car makers are jealous guardians of their designs. See this case in the UK (hot off the presses) with BMW suing somebody for infringing their registered designs (the European equivalent of a US design patent) on specific alloy wheels and winning (interesting from a legal point of view because EU law excludes repair parts from registered design protection. The judge found however that aftermarket rims are not repair parts.)
posted by Skeptic at 10:50 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung Calls BS On Apple's Charges Of Copying

Hah. I note however they do the same thing Apple have done in other court filings - stretch the pictures of the Samsung devices to the same aspect ratio and size of Apple devices, as well as compare the app drawer grid to the home screen of iOS. Slightly disingenuous.

I also note that we've only seen Apple's side so far in the current US court case - of course they're going to be focused on very specific areas where they say there's copying.

Samsung's defence part of the trial - as well as when Samsung demonstrate Apple's alleged infringement of their patents - will be where they get to show their side of the story.

Here's the galaxy S side by side to an iphone 3gs, its competitor at the time;

and here's a video of the two phones together around the samsung launch - they get compared side by side at about 1.50. You can just hear them saying over the music ("big difference, big difference")
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:34 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing that people don't seem to be generally aware of is that there were over a dozen Galaxy S variants. Here is the AT&T version, the Captivate compared with the iPhone 4. The Galaxy S phones were launched in June-September 2010 and the iPhone 4 launched on June 24, 2010
posted by euphorb at 12:56 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


26% of an iPhone is currently made by Samsung.
posted by infini at 1:19 AM on August 9, 2012


I notice very few Samsung fanboys, Motorola fanboys or Blackberry fanboys...just Apple fanboys who violently defend what they don't quite understand - and the rest of the world who make fun of what they can't see.

Last comment on this article

Which is cleverer, the Galaxy or the iPhone? Katie Cincotta reports.

'Where can I buy MAC eyelashes in Melbourne?'' I ask both phones. Siri gives us a Google search return in seconds with a list of MAC stores. But when I ask her to find my husband, she goes shy. Yes, she gives me his contact details on the screen, but when I ask to dial his number, she's obviously out on a smoko and repeats twice, ''Here's that contact information,'' which is code for, ''Do it yourself, you lazy human.''

If I ask the Galaxy III S Voice the same shopping query, I'm told, ''I know I love you. I cannot love as humans do.'' Has Galaxy taken an acid trip? I try again. This time Galaxy thinks I've said, ''Where can I buy Mac on elections in Melbourne?'' Fail. On the third try, S Voice offers to do a web search but I have to type in the query. Epic fail.

Where Galaxy picks up points is on navigation. I set off to navigate from home to my son's school and it brings up the map instantly and proceeds with turn-by-turn navigation - superb functionality if you haven't had time to set up and program your GPS.

Siri says she can only look for maps and traffic in the US. ''Sorry about that.'' Well, how's that for a parochial PA?

posted by infini at 1:59 AM on August 9, 2012


I notice very few Samsung fanboys, Motorola fanboys or Blackberry fanboys...just Apple fanboys who violently defend what they don't quite understand - and the rest of the world who make fun of what they can't see.

I have a friend who only buys phones made by one of those brands. This is not, however, because she believes them to be the best phones ever - she just got into the habit, and finds that it saves her a lot of time when she is looking to get hold of a new device to limit her choice to a small number of possibilities by applying an arbitrary distinction.

Her logic is that the possibility of getting a somewhat better phone does not outweigh the time she would have to spend comparing phones, reading reviews, soliciting advice and so on. Once she settles on a model, which takes about ten minutes, she runs it past me and a couple of other geeks, and if none of us shout "GOD NO IT'S AN EDSEL", she buys it.

It's actually very refreshing to have a conversation about technology with someone who is technologically able and functionally "brand-loyal", but can talk about their experience with a manufacturer over several technology generations without all the aggression and technofapping.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:30 AM on August 9, 2012


juiceCake, you are still being very disingenuous. a Toyota 86 may look to you quite similar in shape to the Hyundai Genesis, but it isn't more similar to it than previous sports cars were. It hasn't copied what makes the Genesis distinctive with respect to every other car.

I agree, it hasn't copied what makes the Genesis distinctive with respect to every other car, but it does look very similar in shape. That's my point. Samsung phones relative to Apple's are, I believe, in the same in the same boat, as it were. If that is disingenuous then so be it.

I believe it just as much as those believe otherwise really

As for lawsuits between auto manufacturers I never said they do not occur but with how Apple is conducting this one, they would occur a lot more frequently.
posted by juiceCake at 5:55 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung phones relative to Apple's are, I believe, in the same in the same boat, as it were.

Well, that, exactly, is what Samsung and Apple are argueing about. As I said, if it was a clear call, there wouldn't be so much litigation (nor would different courts in several countries come to different conclusions, as they've done so far).

As for lawsuits between auto manufacturers I never said they do not occur but with how Apple is conducting this one, they would occur a lot more frequently.

I frankly don't think so. As I said, it isn't such a clear call, and with such high stakes, this degree of litigiousness is pretty much par for the course in any industry (and has been so for a long, long time: the Apple-Android wars still can't hold a candle to the no-holds-barred battles of the War of Currents, for instance).
posted by Skeptic at 7:37 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding fanbois, there has been an interesting development in the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit...
posted by Skeptic at 7:46 AM on August 9, 2012


Regarding fanbois, there has been an interesting development in the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit...

Wow, that is definitely interesting. I wouldn't mind hearing who's on Google's payroll in the press.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 AM on August 9, 2012


I'd be interested in hearing everyone who's on someone's payroll. Google, Apple, Oracle, it doesn't matter.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:24 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Definitely. I'd love to see an industry requirement where any reporter/blogger is required to disclose any source of income or 'privileged/early access to products' from any company when they write about the industry that company operates in.
posted by modernnomad at 9:47 AM on August 9, 2012


Well, that, exactly, is what Samsung and Apple are argueing about.

I am aware of that.

As for lawsuits between auto manufacturers I never said they do not occur but with how Apple is conducting this one, they would occur a lot more frequently.

I frankly don't think so.


And that's fine. I believe in you're frankness. I'm being frank with my views as well. Lay persons could potentially confuse the 86 and the Genesis from 10 feet away and yet there has not yet been a lawsuit about that. It's all a matter of where you draw the line as mentioned before. Some feel the line has been crossed in Apple versus Samsung, others don't and from the course of this thread, few people are going to change their minds and that's fine, it's been a nice and interesting discussion save accusations of divorce from reality if one disagrees with an opinion and fanboyism, but even that sort of nonsense has been kept to a minimum thankfully.
posted by juiceCake at 10:21 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


save accusations of divorce from reality if one disagrees with an opinion

You're doing that thing again. No one said this. Your reading comprehension needs serious work.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 AM on August 9, 2012


blogger is required to disclose [..]'privileged/early access to products' from any company when they write about the industry that company operates in.

This may not apply to those members of the design industry who blog.
posted by infini at 11:41 AM on August 9, 2012


The Number That Shows Why Apple is Suing Every Android Manufacturer in Sight

The eyes of the technology world are focused on the epic patent struggle between Apple and Samsung - the latest iteration of Apple’s frantic legal battle against everything Android. The iPhone maker has also brought suits against Android device manufacturers HTC and Motorola. Apple has faced criticism for its endless lawsuits designed to stunt competition from Google's Android, but a quick look at Android device shipments in the second quarter of 2012 reveals a key number that suggest Apple is right to worry.

That number is 68.

According to research firm IDC, Android devices made up a whopping 68.1% of all smartphone shipments in Q2 2012. That calculates to 104.8 million of the 154 million smartphones that left manufacturers plants in the quarter
[...]
So Apple is doing fine on its own terms. The problem is that Android has become a runaway freight train on the global smartphone market, with Samsung as the engine. Much of Android’s growth is coming in emerging markets with floods of low-priced Android smartphones coming from Asian manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE. Mid-level Android manufacturers like HTC, LG and Motorola also have several different variations of devices in all corners of the world. Apple is fighting not just Samsung’s wide variety of Galaxy devices, but a many-sided war.

[...]
The unrelenting flood of Android devices is one reason that Apple has turned to its legal department for help. Apple knows that it cannot match the Android ecosystem in sales and shipments, but hopes to force Android manufacturers into settlements over patents and design issues that will lead to time-consuming redesigns and functionality changes.

Silly fight, imho. Or maybe silly article? Apple doesn't compete in the majority of the markets where low cost Androids are flooding in. Just heard anecdote from a friend who lives in rural Rajasthan that the only way he can order beer is to FB message the waitron who hears the ding but has kept his sms/ringtone on silent.
posted by infini at 12:42 PM on August 9, 2012


It might actually be more embarrassing for people who have been furiously repping for their corporation of choice to have it disclosed that they've been doing it for free...
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:17 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apple is "struggling" because this year has seen a flood of good enough Android phones at the $150 to $250 price points. It's the same story as with Apple computers. They don't really compete below about $1200 to $1500, while there's a large segment of the market buying Windows laptops and all-in-ones in the $500 to $800 range.

I think Apple is pretty ok with that---it dilutes their brand to go cheap and it's a low-margin mugs' game anyway, from their perspective. Dell and HP make far less per machine than Apple does on a Mac.

Similarly, HTC and Samsung aren't making huge profits on these phones, but they are selling a lot of them. The fastest growing market segment in the US in 2012 is not the high-end contract phone, but the "cheap" $200 smartphone with a pre-paid, no-contract plan.

I don't think Apple will do a low-end smart phone, no iPhone mini. A commoditized market is not where Apple makes the most money. They've had about 5 years of first-mover advantage

The best thing for them is to develop a new market. Right now that's tablets, but other manufacturers are starting to get their acts together. By next year, I suspect Apple will need a new game plan and a new product. I have not clue what that will be, but they will need one. Maybe Apple TV?
posted by bonehead at 2:18 PM on August 9, 2012


I don't think Apple will do a low-end smart phone

They already do. Right now, it's the iPhone 3GS, free on contract, or the iPhone 4 for 50 bucks.

After the next-gen iPhone comes out next month, it will presumably be the iPhone 4, free on contract, or the iPhone 4S for 50 bucks.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:39 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


According to the Apple store, the 3GS with no contract is about $375. I'm pretty certain that's the US price. That's a good deal for an Apple phone, I guess, but it's still almost double the $200 off-contract price point that's driving the market right now. A new 4 seems to be at least $550 off-contract, btw.
posted by bonehead at 3:04 PM on August 9, 2012


Do most people buy smartphones off-contract, generally speaking? Some do, no question, but is this the way most people do things?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:11 PM on August 9, 2012


I don't know why you would buy a no-contract phone in the US considering you're paying for the subsidy whether you use it or not.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:12 PM on August 9, 2012


Similarly, HTC and Samsung aren't making huge profits on these phones, but they are selling a lot of them.

HTC may not be a great example - their Q3 outlook is TW$10-20 bilion lower than the Street prediction, they aren't selling in the US or Europe at the levels they need to be and they have lost two thirds of their value in the last year. It's been a difficult 2012 for them so far...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:22 PM on August 9, 2012


That's where sales growth in the US market is right now, apparently. From the article I linked above :
The burgeoning US pre-paid market is where the current action is, it seems. Year-over-year smartphone sales to post-paid contract subscribers was flat, while pre-paid smartphones grew 91 percent.
posted by bonehead at 3:35 PM on August 9, 2012


Interesting. Perhaps that's indicative of contracted-phone end users subscribing to two-year contracts and not replacing the phone until the plan is up for renewal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:06 PM on August 9, 2012


entropicamericana: "I don't know why you would buy a no-contract phone in the US considering you're paying for the subsidy whether you use it or not."

Not really. T-Mobile has 100 minutes, unlimited messaging, and 5GB of data for $30 a month. No free phones on prepaid, though. There are also several at&t MVNOs who don't subsidize phones but have monthly rates far better than what's available directly from any of the big carriers.

For a while, T-Mobile would even give you a lower postpaid rate if you didn't take their subsidy.

Even though I subscribe directly to at&t (I have true unlimited for a stupid cheap price, so I'm not changing anything), there's still no way I'm signing a contract with them. Not only would I then be locked into a contract again (it's been 8 years since the last one and I don't plan to go back now), there aren't any phones they subsidize to the tune of $480 dollars.

Buying a phone on contract is just dumb, even if you really really really want an iPhone. You can buy a Galaxy Nexus, use it with T-Mobile for around 7 months and have an effectively free phone compared to the rack rate, then keep using it for another year and you've now got $600 to spend on the latest iPhone sans contract out of the savings from your (likely) previous monthly plan alone, and that's after paying for a Galaxy Nexus to tide you over until you can afford the iPhone.

Of course, once you switch to the iPhone, you have to use some other carrier since Apple doesn't see fit to make penta-band 3G phones, but that's neither here nor there. Straight Talk is still less than half the price of at&t postpaid, even after corporate discounts.
posted by wierdo at 4:10 PM on August 9, 2012


I don't know why you would buy a no-contract phone in the US considering you're paying for the subsidy whether you use it or not.


Can't speak to the US, but buying an unlocked iphone 4S from Apple in Canada means my monthly bill is about $27-38 (varies depnending on how much data I use per month) on no contract at the the unlocked price vs $70 a month if I bought it 'subsidized' on a 3 year contract at $249. Plus I travel overseas frequently and popping in a local sim card saves me countless amounts vs canadian carrier's ridic roaming charges.. so when you add all that up and add in what I will be able to sell it for after a couple of years, the unsubsidized factory unlocked iPhone is definitely the way for me to go.
posted by modernnomad at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2012


According to the Apple store, the 3GS with no contract is about $375.

That is interesting, because an iPad 2 is $400.
posted by JHarris at 12:24 AM on August 10, 2012


Sub USD $ 100 Android smartphones

Google is not loading for me as they're too busy running the whole world in the background so here's the DuckDuckGo search on this as the first link above - ZTE and Huawei are the frontrunners, happy to allow multiple branding like for the Safaricom IDEOS shown in the second link - Google (tm) on the back prominently shown
posted by infini at 12:46 AM on August 10, 2012


Do most people buy smartphones off-contract, generally speaking? Some do, no question, but is this the way most people do things?

If you're not qualifying that geographically, then, yes, the majority of the world's phone market is an 'open' one and even where contracts prevail, the subsidies may not be quite the same as they are in the US. Here's an old story of what happened when the iPhone first came to India.

Will this kind of model work in India? Certainly, it will not.”There is no question of subsidizing the handset in India. The U.S. service providers are able to subsidize handsets because they can make up for that with their call charges. Their charge rates are like 25 cents a minute. India being a low tariff nation, the charges here are only 1.5 to 2 cents a minute,” said Manoj Kohli, CEO, Bharti Airtel recently. If service providers in India are burdened with such a handset subsidy of $350 for the iPhone, it will be a tough situation for them to successfully launch iPhone 3G, given their lower level of ARPU, which is, according to IDC India, stands at a measly $6.24 per month.
[...]
Hence, unlike AT&T in the U.S., service providers in India cannot profit from the heavy subsidy of $350. Hence, service providers in India, like Bharti, will face difficulty selling the iPhone beyond a limited high-end market existing in the country. In fact, only 17 out of 1,000 people go for high-end devices in India.


Long story short, Apple has never been able to capture the kind of volumes they should have been able to in a market sized like India and people tend toward the Samsung instead right now from what I've been hearing/seeing. It'd be interesting to dig into why, I suspect the answer might end up being as pragmatic as repair and maintenance and cost as well as details like dual SIM facilities and battery life.
posted by infini at 1:01 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some interesting info on sales is coming out of the trial evidence. Apparently the Samsung phone that sold the most units between late 2010 and early 2012 was the Prevail, a modest Android 2.2 device that retailed mostly for a pre-paid service at about $180. Their high-end phones sold in much less volume. Interestingly, the high-end phones have both higher margins and total profits, even at lower sales volumes, than the low-end phones.
posted by bonehead at 9:25 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're doing that thing again. No one said this. Your reading comprehension needs serious work.

Thank you friend, I'll work on it! We all mistakes. My sincerest apologies.

Do most people buy smartphones off-contract, generally speaking? Some do, no question, but is this the way most people do things?

Has research been conducted? Are their numbers that answer this question?

Outside North America where prices are said to be far more reasonable I imagine so.

Here in Toronto, we're fortunate enough to have alternatives to the major providers. We have a number of no-conttract providers with much better prices though the iPhone is signal incompatible with all of them so the phones are always Android based or Blackberries. The success of these companies may point to more people looking to go contract free. It's happening with Internet service as well.
posted by juiceCake at 10:08 AM on August 10, 2012


Do most people buy smartphones off-contract, generally speaking? Some do, no question, but is this the way most people do things?

Has research been conducted? Are their numbers that answer this question?


Its all about the business model for the telcom operators in the GSM world. The research is available here, here and here. Goes back a few years since telcom operators tend to know how many customers they had each year.

There's a chart available for 2009 data that mapped prepaid subscriptions globally against postpaid but I'm not in the mood for a self link right now.
posted by infini at 10:57 AM on August 10, 2012


Apple Patent Head: We Don’t Want to License Clones

The head of Apple’s patent licensing effort testified on Friday that Apple warned Samsung in 2010 that it believed the Korean company was copying the iPhone.

Boris Teksler said that Apple was shocked when it saw the first Galaxy phone that came from a company it considers a close partner.

“We didn’t understand how a trusted partner would build a copycat product like that,” Teksler testified, indicating that late CEO Steve Jobs and then COO Tim Cook spoke to Samsung about the issue.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 PM on August 11, 2012


Similar response to what LG had with the Prada. The comments are very similar as well:

Of course everybody knows that LG have patents and are the rightful inventor of everything that is rectangular, flat and with a large screen, which are the similitudes between the Prada and the iPhone. Some people are simply disillusional and we should have pity on them and let the professionals take carre of them.
posted by juiceCake at 8:44 AM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


When the memo comes out showing Steve Jobs directing engineers to copy Prada fashions, I'll be right there with you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:24 PM on August 12, 2012


When the memo comes out showing Steve Jobs directing engineers to copy Prada fashions, I'll be right there with you.

Thanks. That's very gracious but unnecessary since I'm not there myself. Hope you don't stand alone nonetheless.
posted by juiceCake at 5:05 PM on August 12, 2012


Thank you for your sincere concern. Still, do let us know when that memo comes out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:11 AM on August 13, 2012


How Google's stealth support is buoying Samsung in Apple fight

Rather, Google has been quietly lending support, coordinating with Samsung over legal strategies, providing advice, doing extra legwork, and searching for prior evidence, CNET has learned from people familiar with the situation. Last month, Google asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to intervene on HTC's behalf in its case against Nokia. In addition, many of the companies that rely on Google's Android operating system to power their handsets, coincidentally or not, have tapped Google's law firm of choice.

The steps Google has taken to aid its allies illustrate the tenuous line the company walks as Apple wages war against many of them. Though Google and its Android platform have a vested interest in Google partners succeeding, the company has yet to directly take on Apple itself.

"Google will want to stay away from this trial as much as possible," said Neil Shah, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. "They don't want to directly confront Apple."

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:20 AM on August 13, 2012


"Google will want to stay away from this trial as much as possible," said Neil Shah, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. "They don't want to directly confront Apple."

Well, of course. They're still the default search engine on iPhone, which is worth a lot. There's income to be lost.
posted by jaduncan at 5:33 AM on August 13, 2012


Still, do let us know when that memo comes out.

There won't be one as far as I know, nor did I ever imply as such, nor do I feel it's important as that was not my point. I apologize for the confusion, as was said upthread, we clearly don't understand each other, and that's a shame but that's how it goes. Nonetheless, an interesting discussion. Thanks mate!
posted by juiceCake at 8:08 AM on August 13, 2012


So anildash says that Microsoft is back and bigger, badder and meaner than ever so Apple should watch out.

and unlike the rest of us, he gets to say it on Wired while we fight it out here in the trenches *sticks tongue out*
posted by infini at 8:16 AM on August 13, 2012


How Google's stealth support is buoying Samsung in Apple fight

As expected, though I do recall a lot of noise about how Google abandons its partners, which in some cases, probably can be interpreted that way. Fortunately, the world is not black and white despite how some of these arguments can be.

Companies work together all the time. Hell, even Samsung and Apple work together (though obviously not in this case) and of course one of Apple's counsel, Michael Jacob's worked for Oracle against Google, which turned out wonderfully for those of us who felt Oracle's argument was nonsense, and one of Samsung's counsel, Charles Verhoeven, worked for Google and managed to successfully defend them against patent claims. Neither of their previous results imply or mean anything for this case of course.
posted by juiceCake at 8:27 AM on August 13, 2012


So anildash says that Microsoft is back and bigger, badder and meaner than ever so Apple should watch out.

God damn, I wish I could get paid to troll, too.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2012


If the rumors are true and the Surface RT is going to retail for $199, that's a threat to Samsung and Apple, really - unless Apple genuinely are that dumb and decide to go with an iPad Mini, which I guess is possible. The Surface Pro... enterprise, primarily, at least initially. Price is a factor. Maybe there's a backwards halo effect on Windows Phone 8, but...
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:33 AM on August 14, 2012


Judge removes international galaxy S, SII and Ace from the case, as they were largely sold as US specific versions - custom versions for each carrier - instead.

Remaining are phones like the AT&T specific captivate - with 4 capacitive buttons rather two capacitive and one central button in the international i9000 galaxy S, as well as a range of different case designs, such as the sprint epic 4G with slideout keyboard, or the infuse 4G with significantly squarer profile than the iphone - which may harm Apple's trade dress infringement claims, given their prior focus on the launch of the international i9000 galaxy S at trial and it's supposed similarity to the iphone, and the much wider range of design in the various carrier specific models.

It's unlikely to have any impact on the utility patents though, as 'touchwiz', samsung's variant of the android launcher is largely common across all models at issue.

Samsung have now started their defence to Apple's claims - starting with the 2004 LaunchTile and early 2000's DiamondTouch table to supposedly show prior art for touchscreen zooming; and single finger scrolling/two finger zooming & 'rubber banding' respectively - some of Apple's utility patents at issue. Samsung argue that Apple's utility patents on gestures shouldn't have been granted in the first place as they don't pass the 'novelty test' - in the U.S. an idea is not patentable if previously known or used by the public.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:25 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


How Google's stealth support is buoying Samsung in Apple fight

Rather than waiting for Apple to attack each Android phone manufacturer in turn? How unsporting!
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


(oops - that should have been "If the rumors are true and the Surface RT is going to retail for $199, that's a threat to Samsung rather than Apple"...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:28 PM on August 14, 2012


No way in hell will the RT go at that price.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on August 14, 2012


Artw: "No way in hell will the RT go at that price."

Microsoft might not be the best in the game, but they're still not a afraid to blow four billion or so for some market share. It might not be $199 but I'm sure they're going to make price a compelling feature.
posted by mullingitover at 2:56 PM on August 14, 2012


Anything under $399 would be pretty shocking.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on August 14, 2012


Unless of course it's the wrong leak - and the $199 was for a 7" Surface RT as yet unrevealed...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:47 PM on August 14, 2012


an iPad Mini,

I'm sorry, I know it's juvenile, but I can't help but snicker when I read that. What's next, the iPad OB?

Sorry, if Apple does do a smaller iPad, I really hope they don't choose that name.
posted by bonehead at 10:07 PM on August 14, 2012


iTtybittyPad?
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2012


I read that ^^^ as tIttyPad. That's going to sell.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:34 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ. of Missouri Professor
posted by jeffburdges at 2:16 AM on August 16, 2012


From our friends over at Core77:

Rumble in the Patent Jungle: An Interaction Design Perspective, by Dave Malouf

We are about to reach the climax of a very big war among multi-national technology companies. The chess pieces of this war will be intellectual property (IP). In all war there is collateral damage and in the IP battles that damage is two-fold effecting consumers and smaller technology companies.
posted by infini at 6:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given what I've said earlier re: my opinion of Samsung's fast followerhood and current pressure as a leader, this snippet from the above linked article is an eye opener that made me quirk my lips in an emoticon of some sort:

In its counter suit, Samsung does something very interesting. Samsung feels it has to defend its honor as an innovator and major design force, citing competition wins for their designs. It comes across as desperate in the read and as a lay person I'm left to wonder as to the legal significance to the case at hand.
posted by infini at 10:52 AM on August 16, 2012


Judge asks if Apple's lawyers are "smoking crack".
posted by modernnomad at 11:28 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand high power lawyers do coke the old fashioned way, not crack.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:54 AM on August 16, 2012


Correct.
posted by modernnomad at 12:55 PM on August 16, 2012


Which is convenient. That's why Apple's lawyer was able to step forward and promise that he wasn't smoking crack.
posted by koeselitz at 12:57 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The evolution of computing to tablets. Ideas and concepts that have been around for years and anticipated fruition at the turn of the century.

We may still use computers to create information, but we'll use the tablet to interact with information.

The tablets, though large and stylus based, look somewhat familiar...
posted by juiceCake at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2012


Apple overtakes Microsoft as most valuable stock of all time
posted by homunculus at 12:42 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a comeback story. Could you imagine going back to 1997 and trying to tell somebody that?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:57 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who Cares If Samsung Copied Apple?
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on August 20, 2012


If you go back to the mid-1990s, there was their famous "look and feel" lawsuit against Microsoft. Apple's case there was eerily similar to the one they're running today: "we innovated in creating the graphical user interface; Microsoft copied us; if our competitors simply copy us, it's impossible for us to keep innovating." Apple ended up losing the case.

But it's what happened next that's really fascinating.

Apple didn't stop innovating at all. Instead: they came out with the iMac. Then OS X ("Redmond, start your photocopiers"). Then the iPod. Then the iPhone. And now, most recently, the iPad.


It's an interesting argument, except that in mid-1997 they were nearly put out of business by the company that copied from them, being brought only a few months away from bankruptcy. Microsoft only invested in Apple to keep them around long enough to distract the DoJ's antitrust proceedings. It was innovate or die, more or less.

That's an oddly major historical detail for an HBR writer to just leave out, that space of time between the lawsuits against Microsoft and the Steve Jobs-led recovery, when Apple's future was very uncertain.

While Apple now has a lot of cash in the bank, it seems obvious the tough lessons they learned in the 90s are built into the parts of the company that managed to survive. Right or wrong, given its history, why they would willingly allow their competition threaten to bring them to back to those old dark days of the mid-90s is not clear.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple-Samsung jury: Verdict form may blow your minds - The nine-person jury in the trial between the two tech giants faces a wildly complex form to determine the winner.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on August 21, 2012


Sounds like a larp to me.
posted by infini at 11:31 AM on August 21, 2012


If the jurors were required to determine how many hit points each corporation has left after scoring the patent damage, it would instantly and completely reverse my feelings about this trial.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I RTFA correctly, that's almost exactly what they're supposed to do with their take home 100 page document - that's available linked to within Artw's article.
posted by infini at 12:28 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why I’m uninstalling Windows 8
posted by homunculus at 8:31 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something very telling and very beautiful about one of the comments explaining, as if to an idiot, that you can go straight to the Desktop mode at login by putting in a simple reg hack. I feel there may be a philosophical divide opening between those whose expectations were set by Windows 98 and those whose expectations were set by, say, iOS.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:50 AM on August 23, 2012


I haven't dabbled with Windows 8 but from what I've seen from commentary on it, it belies the notion that the desktop is dead.
posted by juiceCake at 5:06 AM on August 23, 2012


Windows 8 proves more than anything else to date that Microsoft doesn't know what the hell it's doing. That's almost certainly due to managerial cluelessness. Certainly they have developers who know what an amazingly bad idea Metro on Desktops is. They must be paralyzed with fear to tell the reining emperors anything about their unfortunate wardrobe choice.
posted by JHarris at 9:39 AM on August 23, 2012


"New Microsoft logo looks like something I just came up with in MS Paint"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:48 PM on August 23, 2012


That's not fair; I love the new Microsoft logo. Its bland, milquetoast, derivative, designed-by-committee appearance really captures the essence of their brand.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:52 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The difference between the logo and the recreation-in-Paint is a pretty good proof - if one really needed one - that things created by design agencies and things made in MS Paint do not look the same.

I'm sort of surprised that that was a thing requiring proof, but I guess it's good that we have that as part of the sum of human knowledge now, I guess.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:50 PM on August 23, 2012


"New Microsoft logo looks like something I just came up with in MS Paint"

Sounds like an awful client and a complete asshole. There's more to design then just taking an existing design and recreating it. What she says about the logo can be said about a lot of logos. It's just a piece of fruit with a bit out of it. It's just a horse with fire coming out of the mouth. It's just a nice typface in lowercase with a swoosh beside it. I can do that! What do you mean you're charging us because we want a booking system in our latest email newsletter, I can make a form in Excel!

What a horrible article.

I had thought simplicity was admired by some, but to each their own of course.
posted by juiceCake at 5:22 PM on August 23, 2012


Somewhat from the left field - would a Windows 8 failure open the door for Google to sweep in with a Chromified Android to swoop in, possibly in an alliance with Acer?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:19 PM on August 23, 2012


(Gut feeling? Probably not.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:20 PM on August 23, 2012


You know this could really, finally be Ubuntu Linux's big cha--

Wait. Unity. Never mind.
posted by JHarris at 6:36 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


This time. Surely this time...
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:38 PM on August 23, 2012


a South Korean court has ruled that Samsung didn't copy Apple's iPhone design in a similar case to the US one, but both companies have had older products banned due to patent violations.
It is not possible to assert that these two designs are similar based only on the similarity of those features,” the Seoul Central District Court said today, referring to the rectangular shape with rounded corners of the devices in question, the Associated Press reported. The court also said Samsung’s application icons are not similar to the ones used in Apple’s iPhone.

But the case still results in an immediate sales ban on numerous products in South Korea. The ban affects the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2, and Samsung’s Galaxy S, S2, Galaxy Tab and Tab 10.1, IDG said. The ban does not affect products released after the case was filed, such as the latest iPad, the iPhone 4S, or the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Samsung was faulted for copying Apple’s patented bounce-back technology, a feature of touchscreens in which the screen snaps back into place after the user has scrolled to the end of a page or document. That same technology is part of Apple’s case against Samsung in the US as well.

Apple, meanwhile, infringed upon Samsung’s wireless patents related to 3G and UMTS technologies.
posted by ArkhanJG at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2012


A South Korean court said Samsung, the largest conglomerate in South Korea (comprising 1/5 of its exports), did not copy Apple's design? I am shocked!
posted by entropicamericana at 10:32 AM on August 24, 2012


Let's hear what the judge from Cupertino has to say!
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A South Korean court said Samsung, the largest conglomerate in South Korea (comprising 1/5 of its exports), did not copy Apple's design? I am shocked!

And yet banned sales of Samsung's flagship tablet, while allowing all of Apple's most-hyped models to continue.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:37 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the jurors were required to determine how many hit points each corporation has left after scoring the patent damage, it would instantly and completely reverse my feelings about this trial.

And Apple rolls a Natural 20!
posted by entropicamericana at 3:42 PM on August 24, 2012


Pretty much a foregone conclusion for some time.

What'll be interesting is if they can hold on to it through appeals, and if they can extend it to the rest of the competition. I'm guessing they'll be picking another manufacturer rather than Google as their next target and just keep picking them off.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on August 24, 2012


Congratulations. Using more than one finger on phones and tablets is now the property of Apple.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:48 PM on August 24, 2012


And so are rounded square black devices.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:51 PM on August 24, 2012


And home screens with icons on them.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:52 PM on August 24, 2012


They own little rounded square black devices but not big ones? Weird.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2012


This is fucking ridiculous. Apple is basically being handed the ability to kill off the entire smartphone market unchallenged.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:59 PM on August 24, 2012


No, just the slavish imitators.
posted by entropicamericana at 4:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, right. The door is now open to more or less kill multitouch and home screens (or at the very least, make everyone pay to use them).
posted by zombieflanders at 4:03 PM on August 24, 2012


or at the very least, make everyone pay to use them

Not Apple's style.
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2012


When was the last time you saw Apple go after Windows Phones or Blackberry?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:09 PM on August 24, 2012


Presumably once they've finished using this as president to munch through Android phones, though I'd assume both Microsoft and Blackberrry have patents that would give them pause.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on August 24, 2012


I doubt RIM will be around long enough to fight it. They'll join one or the other.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:18 PM on August 24, 2012


Is that a crystal ball you're gazing into, or just a Nexus Q?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:21 PM on August 24, 2012


Considering RIM's famous financial problems and Apple being given free rein to claim that they came up with stuff others did before, I don't see why not.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:34 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xerox must be fucking pissed right now.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:35 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the march to patent troll armageddon continues apace?
posted by vuron at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, just to be clear, we're now in a situation where engineering patents are worth less than a dollar and UI patents are worth $30?

This is just unbelievably depressing. It isn't even about Android, it's about the fact that now open source entry to the market is impossible. You literally can't develop and deploy an OS without being one of the world's biggest companies.

And EVERY big company has patents. It's going to be a complete fucking clusterfuck.
posted by jaduncan at 4:47 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Xerox must be fucking pissed right now.

Bell labs, IIRC. Of ocurse they never filed any "....on a phone" patents for multitouch.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on August 24, 2012


Well, assuming this holds at appeal...but the findings of fact aren't so easy to reverse as the findings of law. Samsung have a hard time ahead.
posted by jaduncan at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2012


The most disturbing aspect is the patents on multitouch that Apple have been granted, something that they most definitely did not invent (Bell Labs primarily gets the credit, thought it has a long history). It's the kind of result you'd expect with a judge who has no interest in prior art or obviousness getting in the way of the patent system.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on August 24, 2012


The tendency of US patent law to be a brake on innovation rather than an incentive to innovate is definitely a feature rather than a bug for many of these companies.

I'm not saying that patents shouldn't be honored but the US patent law (and patent law in general) seems like it's being used primarily as tool to raise the barrier to entry in all sorts of areas. When basic fundamental concepts are awarded patents you are basically condone all sort of patent troll tomfoolery.
posted by vuron at 5:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xerox must be fucking pissed right now.

Maybe. They cashed Apple's check, though.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apple didn't pay them for anything.
posted by koeselitz at 9:33 PM on August 24, 2012


(People love to claim that they did; but I've never seen any substantiation of that claim. I'd love to be proven wrong on this, though.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:19 PM on August 24, 2012


They paid with a stock offering, so technically Apple cashed the check.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:32 AM on August 25, 2012


Wikipedia says
Xerox was allowed to buy pre-IPO stock from Apple, in exchange for engineer visits and an understanding that Apple would create a GUI product[.]
The article cites a New Yorker article by Malcom Gladwell:
Apple was already one of the hottest tech firms in the country. Everyone in the Valley wanted a piece of it. So Jobs proposed a deal: he would allow Xerox to buy a hundred thousand shares of his company for a million dollars—its highly anticipated I.P.O. was just a year away—if PARC would “open its kimono.”… [I]n the end, Xerox went ahead with it.
Gladwell, of course, does not cite any sources, so this is at best a secondary source for the stock compensation claim.
posted by jepler at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2012


[The New Yorker](http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_gladwell), FWIW.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:29 PM on August 28, 2012


Dammit.

Here it is.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:30 PM on August 28, 2012


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