"Patented features such as “rubber-banding,” in which a screen image bounces slightly when a user tries to scroll past the bottom, were identical. Same with “pinch to zoom,” which allows users to manipulate image size by pinching the thumb and forefinger together on the screen."
Jeff Han was doing pinch-to-zoom well before the iPhone was unveiled. I suspect that anyone that had access to a low-latency multi-touch screen would come up with it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqXPD7EHDto
"Under way since 2004, the effort constituted one of the biggest gambles in the history of the company: a cell phone with full Internet, e-mail functions, plus a host of unprecedented features."
Actually, there were many smartphones with all the iPhone's features, and more, at the time it was first released. The original iPhone didn't have apps, it didn't have MMS, etc. What it did have was a fully-capable browser, and a well-done low-latency multi-touch interface. In any case, it really wasn't about "features". Quality of implementation, yeah, features, no.
This article is just going to give lots of lay-people the wrong impression about the history of the iPhone.
Though frankly, it would still be a BS patent.
Most fanboys narratives about the iPhone are complete garbage. There were plenty of early adopters using devices which had many similar features.
Heck, the entire "slate" profile is rip-off from the HP iPaQ, which broke ground in PDA circles by adopting it years before the iPhone was even dreamed of.
Cell phone service: The negotiations that Apple had with the carriers caused the modern low-cost data plans. Before that, carriers were happy to nickel and dime you for every megabyte, and some carriers even customized smartphones so they wouldn't use WiFi, to force you into being nickeled. But the feature that impressed me the most was Visual Voicemail. "Press 7 to delete this message, or press 9 to save it."
WinCE Internet and email: Pocket Internet Explorer was years behind desktop Internet Explorer in performance and web standards. I didn't use it because it worked with few web sites. Same with Blazer and Opera Mini. Safari on iOS is comparable to desktop Safari.
The "slate" is an especially unimpressive accomplishment. Apple had slates before: the Newton MessagePad. Palm had slates. Just "slate" was an obvious design choice. The "slate" with only a single button under the screen, with a UI designed for touch instead of using a stylus to hit the Start button in the corner for everything, that was revolutionary.
There are still many features that Apple hasn't deigned to put into the iPhone. FM radio receivers and transmitters, TV receivers, giant screens, projectors, heartbeat monitors. Apple was late to do 3G and 4G, and refuses to do Flash and Java and 3GPP video calls. It's not about the spec sheet. It's about making a product that works well.
And that's the issue: Apple may have refined the feature set (and mostly benefited from being able to do capacitive touchscreens) but they didn't independently invent as some people would have it, apparently every single feature of the modern smartphone (and thus should apparently be given a monopoly forever on it via injunctions).
It's especially telling that a lot of people resort to wanting the quality of an implementation to somehow count over prior art for patent law (which is just, incredibly stupid on every level).
It's not my opinion that Apple invented all those features, though that's the public opinion. It's my opinion that Apple spent a lot of effort and patent filings to refine them, and that's more relevant to the court. And patents are valid for about 20 years, not "forever."
It is not just about touchscreens. Look at the Nokia N97 and the Blackberry Storm to see the competitors' immediate reactions to the iPhone. And look at Windows Phone for a different approach to designing for touch.
It was crap. That's why the iPhone won, and why Samsung was forced to knock it off.
After all, the Samsung presented in this article enters into new markets via wholesale IP theft. It then uses a suite of legal instruments to stall for time in order to build internal technical capabilities and intellectual capital. Samsung could stop here, but chooses instead to actually innovate and improve on the products using the knowledge and experience base it has accrued copying the product in the first place. It's a pretty shrewd, albeit completely unethical business strategy.
Another reason why Samsung's behavior might seem egregious to many American/western HNers is because their economies have historically moved past the stage where such wanton copying & corruption was acceptable. Doesn't mean American companies haven't been guilty of equally venal - at times far worse - practices. But it would help to view Korean/Chinese companies trying to "catch up" on the global stage through relevant context.
Again, I'm not justifying what Samsung does here, just saying if they hadn't done much of what the article lays out, we might not have had such a competitive and disruptive smartphone/consumer electronics sector globally.
Their only crime seems to be being big enough to beat an American company at its own game. If Apple wants to compete it need to do better than competing on 'rounded corners'. Lets face it the iPhone's cachet is rooted more in media hype than any meaningful reality.
It's not just in America. Samsung has been caught with the same shenanigans in China and in Taiwan. The author is right about Samsung - it is the world's most dirty, unethical, and corrupt corporation, by far.
So long as they can negotiate the fines that go with their misdeeds they will play dirty, assuming they get prosecuted in the first place.
Why do you think the bankrupt TBTF banks are still up and running with their bosses earning their obscene bonuses as usual?
Quality of implementation is everything. Philo Farnsworth didn't invent the first TV, mechanical TV systems existed before. But his was much more practical, a better implementation. Same with Edison's lightbulb.
I wouldn't say the iPhone was special for being the first touchscreen phone (which as you pointed out, it's not). I'd say it was the first modern smartphone.
I'm not saying it's a bad phone, but some anti-Applers like to minimize the iPhone as "just the first touchphone"; there was more to it than that.
And you can't patent "quality of implementation."
At least you're honest.
The author goes deeply into related price fixing by Samsung, but never mentions the price and wage fixing that Apple has done. The author is clearly espousing a specific and deceptive narrative.
Both companies engage in anti-competitive practices. However, you can't compare the two if you don't engage in an honest exploration of their business practices.
Really? I don't understand the debate. The fact that these companies have been 'borrowing' from each other has been great for us consumers. If nobody was competing with Apple, the iphone would be worse than it is today.
The size and cost of the legal battle between these two companies should really inform us about the changes we need to make to technology patent laws.
This is an irrelevant straw-man. Knocks offs aren't the only way to compete. Arguably if Samsung truly created something original, there would be far more pressure on Apple to improve. Indeed Samsung's real effect in piggybacking on Apple's work has been to stifle the other Android franchisees such as Motorola and HTC whose products were in many ways better.
Samsung does this shit in China, and in Taiwan. If the author was biased, it's that he completely left out all the Samsung shenanigans in China's and Taiwan's smart phone market. The author only mentioned U.S. and Europe. But Samsung, the sick assholes they are, do the same things in Asia as well.
The whole point of unbiased media is to present facts on both sides--like another comment said, we need to understand the unscrupulous practices of both Apple and Samsung.
What we currently live with is media either painting a realistic picture, or not. In this case it is realistic.
They also determined that as part of this trial Apple had extremely dubiously tried to play two European courts against each other to obtain an illegitimate injunction.
Oh wait... It doesn't change the way Samsung comes out of this.
> Oh wait... It doesn't change the way Samsung comes out of this.
You clearly have a psychological issue with understand what 'balance' is. When you point out facts that show a company to behave poorly but then ignore the facts showing their competitor to behave poorly, that is not balance. I did not once suggest Samsung didn't do these things, but to gloss over Apple's egregious and flagrant dismissals of EU wide court authority is to bias an article.
I'm sorry you are incapable of seeing this.
You would like to make the claim that they are both as bad as each other because that way Samsung doesn't look as bad as it really is. That's why you are calling for this 'balance'.
But since it is well publicized that Steve wanted to battle Android at any cost, Apple's current leadership may not have space to back down because if they back down, share holders, press, loyal fans may feel as going against Steve's last wishes...etc.
As article shows, Tim cook tried to caution multiple times, even when Steve was alive. In that sense, it is "reluctant war" on behalf of Tim cook and my guess is, he wants to settle the distraction/media glare and move on.
I read somewhere that Steve wanted Tim cook to make decisions not as what Steve would do ...etc but based on current reality. Ordered penalty is just a drop in Apple's revenue. But the constant media focus, important supplier relationship with Samsung, Tim Cook's own reluctance (despite public utterances), antipathy to patent fights in tech world means there will be gradual burial of this issue over time and focus on battle through new products/improvements.
I guess Steve also would do the same. He settled with Microsoft in the beginning to avoid distraction and focus on new products. There will be short term backlash but if they are right on roadmap, people see that as masterstroke ...etc.
Note: This is my view/guess as an outsider based on what I read about Steve Jobs, Apple ...etc.
Vendor relations are always based on cost, resources and so I guess, they will be in a flux always. So diversification away forever is not pragmatic choice, given the reliability of Samsung so far.
I never mentioned not to fight but I mentioned not through courts. Smart guys at Apple can think several options and I am novice there.
The Reality Distortion Field of 'ooh shiny' strikes again.
Apple certainly is a terrible company, and I think many of their patents should not be patentable, but this is one area where I think Samsung is in the wrong.
The most annoying part for me is that Samsung is winning with inferior quality. The Samsung devices that I've seen have annoying bugs and low build quality, and Samsung keeps stuffing Touchwiz onto their Android devices, and their own UX development always seems gimmicky. But, hey, it worked for Microsoft.
For doing what? Producing a Smartphone? Using Apple's logic any majority touchscreen device with icons is an infringement upon their patents/trade dress.
Consider the "data detectors" (one of the patents Samsung lost on, IIRC). It dates from the mid 90s and had nothing to do with smartphones until some lawyer at Apple realized that it could be twisted to cover common features like recognizing phone numbers in text messages so you can click and call them. This one happens to be particularly egregious because it is the smartphone equivalent recognizing email addresses and URLs email messages, which goes all the way back to Netscape Navigator 2! (which is at least a contemporary of the patent, if it didn't preced it)
Unfortunately, we all know how prior art and obviousness arguments usually go...
Apple spent like $60 million on the Samsung litigation. Its a drop in the bucket compared to how much they spend on R&D (50-60 times as much).