None of those have a touch based UI. Touch means finger touches. Very different from a stylus which is only touching one or two pixels at a time. This is very easy to sense because the stylus pushes two layers together physically and effectively is closing swithces. A touch is much difeferent, a finger is an amorphous blob over many pixels of a varying shape, and Apple had to figure out how to resolve that into a single pixel you intended to touch (so not the center) and ignore other things like knuckles on the screen, etc.
This is a major invention and a major difference, and that is just one part of what made the iOS touch UI.
This is the fundamental problem- you and others say nonsense like this, and I don't know if you're simply not well informed about the nature of these technologies, or you don't care and are making arguments because of ideology that you think will work propagandistically. I mean, I guess ofr many people they don't care that they aren't the same thing, they can just pretend like they are in debates like this, right?
I really don't know which. I keep hearing people claim that Apple stole from Xerox and here you imply that the palm might have come before the newton and that it is up for debate.
What's next? The Mac stole from windows?
Seriously, what level of basic understanding of the history and nature of these technologies can I expect here on Hacker News? And do you get off the hook for repeating this nonsense simply because it fits your anti-apple ideology?
 I shouldn't need this footnote, but due to the aforementioned ignorance or dishonesty, I do. Apple licensed Xerox's early research into what later became the GUI by selling them pre-IPO Apple stock which made Xerox a pretty penny and would be worth over a billion now if they had never sold it.
According to who, you? Feel free to argue around the technological improvements Apple have brought, but to argue that everything everybody has always called "touchscreen" isn't that... makes no sense.
And even by your strange definition of a "touch based UI", were Apple the first company to create capacitive touch screens? Hell, I don't think they were even the first to create phones using them, if I remember correctly LG beat them to it with the Prada? Not to mention how many people used Palms etc. using their fingers rather than a stylus.
As to working out how to ignore stuff like knuckles touching the screen... wonderful, I'm sure Apple did a great job in this area. I haven't used enough devices to really have an opinion of whether they were the first to perfect this, but it's irrelevant. Nobody is claiming Apple haven't done some stuff better than other companies - but even if you can definitively say that they created the first really good touch based UI, that's not the same as creating the first touch based UI.
You know what I expect from HN? Civilised discussion. All I've seen from you is rudeness, arrogance and a holier-than-thou attitude that could be summed up by the last part of your profile description.
Of course touch means finger touches. Writing with a pencil or stylus isn't called touching. This is pretty basic stuff, it just seems as though you have some axe to grind with this poster and want to nit pik at semantics, but in doing to it just looks rather childish.
I'm not sure that's true. For example, in the Tablet PC space, a touch screen could mean that a screen responded to a stylus, finger, or both, but usually, just the stylus! And even before the first iPod came out in 2001, screens in PDAs were referred to as touch-screens.
Handspring Edge, 2001:
"THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER PHYSICAL DAMAGE TO
THE SURFACE OF THE PRODUCT, INCLUDING CRACKS OR SCRATCHES ON
THE LCD TOUCHSCREEN OR OUTSIDE CASING."
A review of Treo 650 suggests the finger worked on large areas, 3 years before the iPhone was released, but the UI buttons in the PalmOS were unchanged from small ones created 10 years earlier for stylus-access only. (In this light, Apple's innovation was to require action buttons to be at least 40x40 pixels with enough spacing from each other in their new iPhone OS, now called iOS.)
"Extensive use of touch screen allows finger access but you will need the built-in touch pen for pulling down menus and making selections."
One could argue that Apple should not be allowed to sell a phone without a keyboard since they're improving on the Treo 650's design, just like Samsung should not be allowed to sell a phone with a larger screen and multiple physical buttons since they're improving on the iPhone design.
My overall argument was not about the terminology, but the claim that Apple invented touching with your fingers - so not sure why you picked this one point to disagree with me on if it's a childish semantic.
But if "touch means finger touches" in the tech world then what do you call devices designed to be used with a stylus? Not touchscreen? And in general English "touch" doesn't mean "with fingers" either.
> I remember correctly LG beat them to it with the Prada?
You remember incorrectly. Regarding the Palm as well. In fact, your claim is a lie. It doesn't rebut the point I am making, and instead is making a post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacy in order to knock down a strawman.
>You know what I expect from HN? Civilised discussion.
A key component of civilized discussion is reading what someone says, thinking about it, figuring out what they said and why they said it. Then thinking about where their error is, if you disagree with them, and presenting an argument to the point that addresses that error.
It doesn't involve spewing logical fallacies and then characterizing them in a derogatory fashion.
>All I've seen from you is rudeness, arrogance and a holier-than-thou attitude that could be summed up by the last part of your profile description.
One of the problems with Hacker News is that people often interpret the act of thinking differently, or presenting evidence that disagrees with the belief they'd like to hold, as "rude, arrogant and holier-than-thou" or other derogatory terms that they then feel comfortable throwing at people.
I can't count the number of times on this site I've gotten personal attacks, such as yours, responded by not calling them names (as I have not called you names in response) and merely illuminated what they were doing in the hopes that they could see their errors (I named your logical fallacies above, for instance) only to have it escalate.
Unlike you, I don't expect civilized discussion from Hacker News, because as a minority, I've found that the voting mechanism gives bullies a feeling of superiority and free reign to attack others.
I often leave this site for months at a time because I've been subjected to stalking, personal threats, harassment, and name calling.
But here I am in a thread where I know I'm the minority. I haven't gloated, I've tried to explain. When I've seen repetition of very obvious fallacies, I've asked, with genuine wonderment, if people are simply not aware of these things or not. (I mean, really, you cite the LG Prada... are you not aware of the details of that phone? You say "If I remember correctly", so it sounds like you could simply be repeating what you've heard from others.
Do you realize that almost all of the claims made in this thread of prior examples of work that negates the assertion that Apple is innovative are being made by people repeating claims they've heard elsewhere without understanding the context? (There's only two possibilities when someone tells a falsehood-- either an intent to deceive, or an error. I'm presuming an error here, which I suspect is what you call "arrogant", but the alternative is to presume dishonesty.)
So, yes, I'm not ashamed of my profile description. It's an explanation of why I'll just drop out of discussions and why I won't just roll over and repeat the falsehoods that would garner me much more karma.
Do you realize you never made an argument against the point I was making? You expressed some conclusions that, even if they were accurate, don't argue against my point.
For there to be discussion, you'd need to address my point, right? But you didn't. Near as I can tell you responded because what I said didn't agree with your ideology (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems to be the motive, since you didn't respond to the point.) And in an ideological response like that, you're going to cite "proof" that usually amounts to talking points. "The palm had it!" "The Prada Had it!" But that isn't argument.
You didn't notice that the "it" is not the same, and that the it your talking about is not the same it I'm talking about.
"I can't count the number of times on this site I've gotten personal attacks, such as yours, responded by not calling them names (as I have not called you names in response) and merely illuminated what they were doing in the hopes that they could see their errors (I named your logical fallacies above, for instance) only to have it escalate."
That says everything about you, nothing about me or this website. Look through the rest of the comments on this thread, notice how you're the only one getting into arguments while others are simply discussing and disagreeing with each other.
Notice how you're the only person I've written negatively about yet you're not the only person arguing for Apple - maybe, just maybe, what I wrote is about you, not about my hatred of Apple. Oh, and while my hatred of everything Apple fits your narrative beautifully, I'm actually a proud owner of two iPods (currently), an iPad and a macbook. Nowhere in this thread have I even come out in support of either side, all I did was debate a point in the discussion and pointed out that your attitude wasn't one that could win anyone over.
As it happens you're wrong in this topic, but the way you argue you wouldn't get many people to change their minds if you were right. And the fact that your comments in the past have led to stalking and threats... Clearly I'm not alone in my opinion.
Incidentally, you're now the second person I've ever criticised on HN, rather than just disagreed with. The first was a neo-nazi who proudly displayed swasticas on his website. I'm not an asshole, I don't call people out on their attitude because I disagree with them, I reserve it for people I consider need telling. It's fine if you disagree with my judgement of you, but don't be under any illusion that it isn't a judgement and is just my wanting to win the argument.
I wrote on my Palm Pilot Pro in '98 using my fingers. I preferred it to using the stylus, because it was faster and more comfortable for me. (Incidentally, when I left the job where I used the Palm at the end of '98, it was to work on developing a touch based tablet which had no stylus at all - see one of my other posts in this thread).
The stylus on the Palm was optional for better precision. It was by no means necessary. Not only could I write reliably with my fingertips on a Palm Pilot Pro, it was precise enough with my fingers to play games and draw stuff with it.
> This is the fundamental problem- you and others say nonsense like this
It's quite rich that you claim this when you yourself are making spurious claims about how these devices supposedly couldn't be used reliably with fingers. I can only conclude that you yourself do not have firs thand experience with these devices, or have forgotten how they worked.
The idea that the palm was a touch based UI is simply false. You needed a stylus and the UI was designed for a stylus. You could do some things with fingers and some apps were designed for finger use, where it was appropriate.
The reason you needed a stylus is because the technology was not advanced enough to detect finger touches with the accuracy that the iPhone does.
Even if Palm had all of the algorithms that apple developed for iOS, the ARM processors in those palms was not fast enough.
To claim that Apple invented nothing new because you could get a Palm to react to your finger is frankly a lie. It is a shameful lie, because when you let your ideology drive you to dishonesty, you've lost all integrity.
I have given the specifics of how and why my claims are true, but you ignore them, and you post dishonest stuff like this.
I genuinely don't know if you are simply ignorant and repeating what you've heard from others how are lying, or you're lying yourself, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter.
For the record, I have owned Palms and Newtons and Compaq's stylus driven device (iPaq I think it was) etc.
None of them could be used completely by fingers and all of them were designed to be used reliably by styluses.
I never said they would not react to finger presses at all, and I never said they couldn't be used in a limited fasion with finger presses.... so pretending that I did is yet another dishonesty.
Actually Mac did borrow a few usability from Windows too.
1. Finder Sidebar: Windows Navigation pane
2. The Mac Path bar: Windows Address bar
3. Back and Forward navigation buttons in folder windows
4. Minimizing to document windows into app icon
5. Screen Sharing: Remote Desktop Connection
6. Time Machine: Backup and Restore
7. System Preferences: Control Panel
8. ActiveSync and Exchange 2007 support
9. Command-Tab: Alt-Tab
10. Terminal: Command Prompt
While most of these are so obvious and can also be called prior art, standing in Apple's shoes, its an innovation by Windows, they had it in their OS before Apple. If you find the above list funny you know that Apple tried to sue Microsoft for having a GUI. A GUI !!
Your response is non-responsive. None of these features were stolen in the original Mac UI from 1984 from windows because Windows did not exist in 1984. My point was people were claiming someone "stole" from something that came out later.
Also, most of the things you list appeared originally on the Mac, or the windows "equivalents" really aren't and haven't caught up to the mac.
The only thing that the Mac did take from windows-- that's on your list anyway-- is Alt-Tab.
> most of the things you list appeared originally on the Mac
Since you seem like a fanboy who loves to make up facts without any basis. Let's iterate over the list one by one in more detail:
1. Finder Sidebar: Windows Navigation pane -> Appeared in Mac = Mac OS X 10.3 Panther = Two years after the Navigation pane appeared in Windows XP.
2. The Mac Path bar: Windows Address bar -> Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard added an optional Path bar at the bottom of folder windows to display the path of any selected file or folder. Double-clicking a folder in the path opens that folder. This feature first appeared as the Address bar in Windows Vista, which began appearing nearly a year before Leopard shipped.
3. Back and Forward navigation buttons in folder windows -> Microsoft first put the Forward and Back buttons of Web browsers into its folder windows with Windows 2000. Oddly, Apple first included only a Back button in the original Mac OS X. It wasn't until version 10.2 Jaguar that a Forward button appeared.
4. Minimizing to document windows into app icon -> Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard adds an option for minimizing, which is turned off by default. Instead of creating a new icon in the Dock, you can have a document window minimize into the application icon it belongs to, as Windows has been doing with taskbar.
5. Screen Sharing: Remote Desktop Connection -> Appeared in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard which was already implemented in Windows XP.
6. Time Machine: Backup and Restore -> Really? Do I really need to prove that System Restore and Backup n Restore appeared before Time Machine??
7. System Preferences: Control Panel -> Before Mac OS X, Mac system settings were found in a set of separate files. Microsoft put all the settings in one convenient place. For Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah, Apple stole Microsoft's idea and called it System Preferences.
8. ActiveSync and Exchange 2007 support -> Macs have long been second-class citizens to Windows when it comes to Exchange Server. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard added native support of Exchange Server's 2007's group scheduling, contact, and mail services.
9. Command-Tab: Alt-Tab -> Well you agreed to that.
10. Terminal: Command Prompt -> Windows has had the command prompt integrated since the very first version. Apple finally added Terminal finally after the 9th version.
Love your products and be loyal to your manufacturers, that is one thing but please don't turn off the logic side of your brain!! If you are going to respond to this comment please backup your statements too.
To be fair on 10, both OS X and Windows got that from earlier predecessors. And for 7, I'm pretty sure I remember System 7 and earlier having single Preferences folders, just like Windows 95's Control Panels. No idea which came first, but it's a pretty obvious idea once you strap a GUI on top of a config file. I'd be astonished if there wasn't a similar idea in every single GUI environment out there.
None of those have a touch based UI. Touch means finger touches.
This is dishonestly revisionist, given how common it was to see people thumbing through applications on Palm devices. That Palms came with styluses doesn't mean that they weren't touch-friendly in a lot of ways, and that should be taken into account.
Apple was neither the first to create a multi-touch user interface (the first consumer multitouch device I know of was the Lemur, but I'm sure that was predated) nor the first to put it in a handheld PDA-ish device or a phone (LG beat the iPhone to market with the Prada--which, incidentally, also used very few physical buttons in favor of software buttons).
The entire argument in favor of Apple's patents is bullshit, and nirvana has a history of bad-faith fanboyism on the topic.
Hm, I'd argue it's not that obvious, otherwise companies would just try to miniaturize everything hoping that there's a market for it. Companies won't typically make this leap because it's fairly costly and their product manager may not get a bonus that year if the product is a flop. It's only obvious to you because everything is obvious in hindsight.
Whether something is obvious or not is irrelevant to this discussion.... the fact of the matter is, Apple created iOS, they didn't license it. The point I made was that Apple created that component, it didn't exist before. It was not off the shelf (as others were broadly claiming.)
Further, "obvious" is silly since nobody did it before them, and it is a post hoc ergo proctor hoc argument.
>"Apple was neither the first to create a multi-touch user interface (the first consumer multitouch device I know of was the Lemur, but I'm sure that was predated) nor the first to put it in a handheld PDA-ish device or a phone (LG beat the iPhone to market with the Prada--which, incidentally, also used very few physical buttons in favor of software buttons)."
The LG Prada was single touch and it did not have a touch UI. Just a gimmick screen that would let you launch functions. IT wasn't even a smart phone, it was a feature phone.
>The entire argument in favor of Apple's patents is bullshit,
Its only "bullshit" that the facts of reality don't fit your claims.
>and nirvana has a history of bad-faith fanboyism on the topic.
I do have a history of citing facts that deflate ideological balloons in response to people like you who lie about history and call me names.
It really is a shame that you choose not to be honest. I mean, that guy was asking a legitimate question, and you lied to him!
> The LG Prada was single touch and it did not have a touch UI. Just a gimmick screen that would let you launch functions. IT wasn't even a smart phone, it was a feature phone.
On this you are correct. I was thinking of the Prada II, which was multitouch. My apologies. That does not necessarily make Apple's use of multitouch the novel concept you assert, however--to me, Surface, Lemur, etc. make shrinking it down to PDA size (whether or not a phone radio is in the device or not) an obvious progression.
The rest of your post is more of the curiously self-absorbed nattering we've been seeing throughout this thread, however. "Ideological balloons" is funny--I own three iOS devices and two Android ones, I have no ideological allegiance either way. I do, however, have a rather strong aversion to using the court system instead of competing and I find it ridiculous that something like the iOS "bounce" at the end of a list is a patentable effect. I am not impressed by Samsung's attempts to copy iOS, either; I find them to be lacking in creativity, but I do not find a lack of creativity to be grounds for rent-seeking and legal action.
I also have a strong aversion to your style of posting, however--your brand of obnoxiousness is something I came to HN to get away from--so I will not be replying to you again. I am sure you will enjoy the last word.
Apple did not license iOS from someone else who invented multi-touch. I was rebutting the claim that they just assembled the iPhone from off the shelf parts, like legos.
You're so focused on your ideology that you're making an argument against patents (the context where obviousness would be relevant) in response to me saying Apple created iOS.
I find your need to characterize me, rather than address my point, and your dishonesty about the point I was even making, a form of obnoxiousness that I can do without, so feel free to ignore me. '
But don't pretend like I've done anything wrong here- you lied about me, and you characterized me and you called me names. Thus I must conclude you come to HN to be in the google distortion field, unpreturbed by anyone who would bring up pesky facts you don't like. And since I dared to make an argument you can't rebut, you feel fine insulting me.
You made the error, buddy, and you're blaming me for it. Shame on you.
Precisely they used capacitive touch sensor (used on touchpads mostly at the time) instead of resistive standard used on PDAs; in practical terms this was a switch from notebook-like experience (which invites writing and checking small boxes) to magazine-like (smooth, glossy surface inviting sliding pages and large Nokia-like UI plus gestures to remove accuracy/finger-hiding problems). This way, multitouch rather just come in bundle with capacitive technology. BTW this is why I see the whole stuff as a mainly target group revolution -- simply way more people buy magazines than notebooks.
My fingernail works just fine, and with much finer control than my blob of a finger on an aPhone or iPhone. Apple added some cool stuff, but I definitely interact with my Centro's screen by touch, with very little error.
You've shifted the goalposts from "touchscreen" to "touch screens only include things operated by fingers". The DS fits that requirement. Note that makers and sellers of touch screens don't make the distinction that you claim is obvious.
You're now claiming that Apple licensed the Nintendo DS OS and put it in the iPhone, which is so false I don't believe you believe it, and I suspect you've simply become confused about what the discussion is about.
I never said there was never a screen you could get a reaction from by touching before the iPhone.
Never said that at all.
I said that to build the iPhone Apple couldn't just use off the shelf components, they had to invent new ones.
People have shown many examples of touch oriented OSs developed independently of Apple, released before iPhone.
The screen existed before iPhone. The software to drive those screens existed before iPhone. Integrating that combination into an "OS" has existed before iPhone. And the idea of multi-touch surfaces was shown in a movie (where characters interacted with both big screens and small portable devices) before iPhone was released.
You may say that I have ignored the rest of your post that I quote above -
> And having seen them, other companies can't replicate them well at all because they don't do the research.
> Calling them a lego assembler ignores all the real innovation they do.
Step away from the keyboard. Calm down. Maybe you'll realise that people don't feel the need to say "I agree with this bit" because they assume that they not talking to a rabid troll who'll accuse everyone of lying.
Who is saying that Apple invented the touch UI? This is a false argument. Apple's patent is on a very specific type of touch interface and the interactions with it. Apple-style multi-touch interfaces did not exist before the iPhone.
And if they did, you could be damn sure that whoever did invent it would have been suing Apple left and right.
Come off it, there's no such thing as "Apple-style multi-touch", there's only multi-touch, and it doesn't belong to anyone.
It's disappointing to see people actually siding with Apple here. Is it brand loyalty that blurs people's judgement?
The fact that icons are sized and spaced similarly across these devices is because most people have a similar index finger size. It's obvious what the ideal icon size and placement should be on any touch device for optimal touch usability.
The legal defense of "obvious concept" is absolutely true. There are limits to how design can optimize details such as icon display, and touch input. The concepts Apple are trying to own simply do no belong to them due to their obvious nature.
Slide to unlock, the page bounce, the icons, all of it is obvious stuff once you have the hardware pieced together.
As a result of this lawsuit, Apple has lost me as customer. I am not rewarding childish hypocrisy. I do not respect billion dollar playground fights in the courts because someone else made a similar phone that has icons and multi-touch. What a waste of time and money.
Having read some of your (very many) posts (that were made after mine) it appears you're now saying that Apple does not just assemble existing parts to create iPhone - that innovation happened in software and hardware to existing stuff and that iPhone is not possible without that innovation. (I think this a fair paraphrase of the most important point you're making; please let me know if I've got it wrong, and realise that I made a mistake and that I'm not lying to distort facts).
If we limit conversation to the sentence fragment "assemble components like lego" then most people would agree that Apple does more than that. It's unfortunate that someone in this thread used that phrase; it's unfortunate that you wrote such a broad response.
So, now we discuss whether what Apple (and it doesn't need to be Apple, my view would be the same about other companies) did amounts to patentable innovation.
We're not going to agree on that bit. But for me that's fine. You think the money and research and work that Apple did, and the result, is a significantly different implementation and so is patentable. I think it's a refinement upon existing technology.
After spending way too much time reading all of these comments, I think I have figured out the difficulty behind most of this subthread:
You're simply not clear or precise enough in your comments and statements. It takes you awhile to fully explain what you mean, and in the interim, rather than immediately realizing what has happened and making yourself more clear, you convince yourself that everyone else is crazy for not understanding exactly what you mean.
Please don't take this as a personal attack. I am merely observing. I don't think anyone here is out to get you. Most people are well-intentioned and are arguing against the precise statements you've written, not the ideas in your head. If you can't see that, then there may be no hope. But I'm hoping you will re-read some of this thread and come to the same realization.
Here's a quote from you:
Except that the major parts- like a touch oriented
UI- don't exist until Apple develops them.
This statement is horribly imprecise if, as I now believe, what you intended to convey was something like:
Apple does not merely put together existing pieces of
technology like legos. They created iOS from scratch,
which represented a significant amount of original work
in the area of touch oriented UI.
If you slow down a little, and really read what you are about to post to ensure that it reflects the thoughts in your head, I think you'll have a much more successful time debating with others here on HN.