These are products that a lot of people are highly engaged an opinionated about, in ways that PCs and laptop never were.^
I think we clearly see Apple leading the way (so far) with its designs & innovations. They figured out a whole lot of things that needed to be figured out in order to get a computer to pocket size and for tablet computing to work. Some of these are technical details but a lot of them are not. They're just ideas about what it should look like and how users should interact with it. Software keyboard. slide-to-unlock, rounded corners. A bunch of decisions that together amount to either a good or bad product. They may or may not have been invented at Apple but Apple did put them together and prove them in the market. They placed huge bets on these ideas and won.
I think that last part is the crucial part of innovation that IP laws are inherently useless at protecting: Putting things together to make a product and proving them in the market. It's also the part that Apple is good at.
On the other hand...
Apple is making a lot of money on iOS stuff so its hard to make the claim that they haven't been compensated. It's also hard to claim that these innovations would not have happened without the incentives guarded by IP protection. The opposite is true. We see the Android ecosystem driving down prices and improving the pace of innovation. We see more choice, including options at lower price points that Apple would never have served.
^I'm not sure, but I think this in itself is part of Apple's cultural influence. They've been encouraging people to think about products the way architects want people to think about buildings.
I don't know if you're joking, but Apple hasn't "innovated" in the mobile space for 2 or 3 years now. They've just been copying Android, with things like multitasking, notifications, and turn-by-turn directions. As of late, their new "features", such as Siri and Maps, have been half-baked. Basic options, such as changing the default app for a function or adding widgets to the home screen, still aren't available.
On the hardware side, people applaud their industrial design when they see it in an Apple store, but in actual use, the glass backing on the iPhone 4 and 4S broke frequently, and now the aluminum on the 5 gets chipped/scratched very easily. As for form factor, they're now copying Amazon and Google by releasing an iPad Mini.
Because I could swear that I've got a Windows Mobile 5.0 smart phone in the office that has Tom Tom software running on it that has been about since before the iPhone or Android existed.
As for your criticisms as to how the iPhone works in the real world, the iPhone's industry leading customer satisfaction ratings (and by a comfortable margin) suggests that you might be overstating the case just a smidge.
In the way it's done in Google Maps Navigation? Absolutely. I used a variety of standalone turn-by-turn GPS navigation devices, including Tom Tom and Garmin, before getting an original Droid in 2009, the first device with Google Maps Navigation. There was a world of difference between the two devices, and things have only gotten better with time.
I don't have any experience with Windows Mobile, but like the OP said, it's all about putting things together into a cohesive package. That's exactly what Google did with Maps Navigation.
> As for your criticisms as to how the iPhone works in the real world, the iPhone's industry leading customer satisfaction ratings (and by a comfortable margin) suggests that you might be overstating the case just a smidge.
I don't think that customer satisfaction ratings are reflective of a company's level of innovation. I know several people who've broken the glass backs on their iPhone 4s and 4Ss three or four times. The reason why they haven't complained (too much) is because there's an Apple store 15 minutes a way that will quickly replace the glass plate for free.
I'm not saying that customer satisfaction ratings reflect innovation. I'm saying that if the design was as flawed as suggested you'd expect people to be unhappy with their phones which clearly they're not.
You know people who've broken the glass three or four times, I know no-one who ever has out of dozens of people who own 4s and 4Ss. Anecdotal evidence is pretty poor for this sort of thing (my friends may wrap their phones in cotton wool, yours may sky dive with them) which is why I point to something which could be seen as a more objective measure, though I accept it's measuring many things, not just this one factor.
Not saying that there's no problem, just saying that saying "frequently" is an overstatement. I suspect if it was a massive problem the press would have a field day - it's not like the go easy on Apple design issues (see antenna-gate et al).
Google disrupted the market by innovating on the business / payment model, but that's very different to product innovation.
MS frequently used to disrupt markets by entering at lower price points but no-one ever claimed they were innovative, quite the opposite.
Not to mention that "2 or 3 years" ago was when Apple introduced the world to the iPad, of which the rest of the industry is still struggling to match the impact. Before that introduction, did you assume that Apple hadn't been innovating for "2 or 3 years" since the iPhone?
It's also a fact that a monopoly is against the free market and while it's completely debatable whether this is good or bad for innovation or the common good ... in a free market, the law of the fittest applies. The ones that innovate are the ones that have a head-start. The ones that don't either die or if they are too big to die, they are subject to the innovator's dilemma. This is why you can see newer technologies and platforms disrupt older and bigger companies. But unfortunately, these big companies, instead of innovating and keeping pace are now choosing to use the ultimate weapon against free-market competition: government-granted monopolies.
This notion that you have to be rewarded for ideas and designs is completely preposterous, because innovators are already rewarded by the market for being first. And if not, they shouldn't get rewarded with such a monopoly anyway, because if these monopolies go so out of control, there will never be another Apple, because Apple themselves got a lot of ideas and concepts from the prior works of others.
"In agreement with the court ruling Apple acknowledges Samsung hasn't copied the design of the iPad. As the judge stated Samsung products lack the simplicity of the iPad."
Might get them in bother mind, but if a judge is willing to say your product is much cooler in a court of law, on the record no less, you may as well take what you can.
I think their marketing guys are going to have a feast on this. They could start playing around the lines: Samsung tablets are not as cool or simple as ours. Sorry for taking this too far intend of working on cool stuff for you — our lawyers are design challenged.
It wasn't a "bailout" it was a legal settlement.
That investment was (in part, along with a cash settlement) the resultion of a dispute over Microsoft using Quicktime code in their Video for Windows product.
If it were a "settlement", it would have happened in the court room. Apple surrendered the case just to stay alive.
The court ruled no such thing. "[The case] is not about whether Samsung copied Apple's iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design..."
Someone said it'll be interesting to see what Samsung's lawyers let Apple get away with but I'm not sure how they can object to Apple quoting what the judge actually said in his judgement.
Plagiarism? The case has nothing to do with plagiarism. It's not about copyright, it's about registered designs. Quoting TFA: "It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple's iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law." And it isn't.
Example: If I have never heard of the ipad, and come up with an identical design purely by coincidence, then I still do infringe their registered design right. Conversely, if I copy Apple's design exactly but then alter it enough that it "produce[s] on the informed user a different overall impression" from the ipad, I don't infringe.
Apple does not sue because they want people's acknowledgement, they sue because they want those products banned from the market and for Samsung to pony up a huge amount of money as injunction relief.
And I don't know what was at stake in the UK, but you can bet your ass that a favorable verdict is looked upon by the judges of other countries involved in similar trials.
Does Samsung deserve what Apple wants? I don't know - but we are definitely not talking about clones and so where the heck do you draw the line? Because in my view this issue is much closer to "rectangular shape and rounded corners" than it is to anything else.
I don't think this is just replication. There's only a handful of ways you can craft the simplest design of a tablet computer, and the possibilities don't differ much. Apple happened to enter the market first but the tablets wouldn't eventually be much different if someone else had. The collective design would've converged to something like iPAD in a few years.
 You can certainly generate thousands of different tablet designs if you don't care about creating the simplest one. But once you do, it pretty quickly boils down to the fundamentals of designing roughly an A5-size device with a dominating touchscreen. It goes pretty much as "The touchscreen takes 95% of the front face. If you want button(s) on any side, you put them below the screen because people hold their tablets from underneath, instead of grabbing them from the top. You put any USB/headphone sockets on the side so that the user can put it on a table while charging/heaphones connected." Given those limits, you maybe get to decide if you want square or round edges or something in between. But that's just cosmetic and certainly doesn't warrant being "a design".
They didn't even do that. They entered a market that was created well over a decade ago but that was reduced to a tiny niche because limitations in the early models had scared companies off from trying to make them consumer devices any more.
They deserve a lot of credit for getting the timing right and putting together a very polished consumer product far superior to the extremely niche competitors that were left in that market, but the idea was old already when the tablet market started taking off for a short lived fad last time, around '99.
(in the interest of disclosure: I worked on a tablet in '99 until early 2000; it was fun. Definitively not something comparable to the iPad, but I still wish we'd have pulled it off - company kept trying a few years after I left, but getting funding for a decent sized production run turned out to be a far bigger challenge than actually designing the thing)
But apparently that idea is itself radical, since almost no tablets before ~2007 strove for the simplest design.
So you think it is perfectly ok for a company to make very public accusations repeatedly and get away without providing any kind of restitution once their claims are found to be without merit?
Now that would be carte blanche for some seriously nasty mudslinging competitions...
(and this case was not about whether or not Samsung "replicated much of the iPad" but whether or not they violated some very specific design patents)
Minor inconvenience in the great scheme of things.
"Samsung tablets are not as cool as Apple's"
— Judge Name
Is the US the only country to have found in Apple's favour in these cases?
> Secondly I cannot see any basis for an interim injunction. The UK court had already granted a final declaration. Moreover it was sitting not just as a UK court but as a Community Court. Interim injunctions are what you grant in urgent cases where there is not enough time to have a full trial on the merits. That was not this case. [...] Further Judge Birss was not sitting as a purely national court. [...] So his declaration of non-infringement was binding throughout the Community. It was not for a national court - particularly one not first seized - to interfere with this Community wide jurisdiction and declaration.
> Finally I regret to say that I find the Oberlandesgericht's reasoning on the merits sparse in the extreme
> If courts around Europe simply say they do not agree with each other and give inconsistent decisions, Europe will be the poorer.
If they'd left the talking to their lawyers in the court room, this would indeedhave been a strange ruling. But the judge has in effect made an attempt at providing Samsung restitution of sorts for the false claims Apple were repeatedly making in the press.
'Apple declined to comment specifically on the UK case but, in a statement, repeated its view that there was no "no coincidence" that Samsung's latest products resembled the iPhone and iPad.
It added: "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual properties when companies steal our ideas."'