The Whole Samsung vs. Apple Legal Debate Summed Up in One Image

OK, so the title really isn’t true – there are so many multi-faceted elements interwoven in the international legal cases between smartphone makers that summing them up simply would be impossible. But when you look at phones from Samsung and HTC and others … this one picture tells a singular and undeniable truth: all current popular smartphone designs lead back to Cupertino and the original iPhone.

Source: Cult of Mac

Categories: Gear Bits

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8 replies

  1. I seem to remember before the iPhone that there were several apps such as SPB Mobile Shell for WinMo that would let me do a design like that. Skinning the phone was pretty big before iOS came around. Has there been a lot of copying of that design since? Yes. However, it’s not original to iOS. I know I had a start screen with a bunch of apps ready to go at one point with buttons big enough to hit with my fingers instead of a stylus.

  2. Well the SPB interface was much more akin to the Palm OS so I guess HP should sue SPB.
    Seriously, though, Apples iOS interface isn’t just the rows of icons, but also the separate dock layout, and other visual cues and the way things open/move/etc. That said, I believe 2 things are true: 1) Samsung did mimic the look and feel – as many others did – once it proved to be popular, and 2) It’s still a pretty generic thing to be trying to claim any kind of copyright/patent thing on. The whole thing is kind of crazy.
    I agree that Apple has the right to protect it’s intellectual property (and I think Google is wrong in believing Apple should give that up and make everything subject to FRAND). Apple spent the resources on development and has a right to earn profits from that and others don’t, but that said, some things are just too generic to be considered “proprietary” and I think the iOS interface is pretty generic.

  3. Actually, they lead back to the LG Prada. But since Apple invented that retroactively, they can have the credit I’m sure…

    • Actually the Prada was introduced about a month later than the iPhone.

      I think that the core thing that most at least semi-objective people can agree upon is that the entire smartphone world turned on a dime the moment that the iPhone was a massive success and has never been the same. That doesn’t mean that Apple magicked stuff out of thin air, nor that they are responsible for every innovation.

      And finally I think that the tablet market is an even stronger point for a ‘just do it like Apple’ approach for folks like Samsung … again not down-playing their own innovations, but they let Apple take the first shot and after success they made a 6 month ddelay to retool their own efforts.

      • Last time I checked December 2006 was actually before January 2007, but I guess history is rewritten by the winners all the time so the cult’s official timeline stands.

        The industry turned right where it was already going. Even Samsung was showing at least one model in 2006 that was even more iPhonish than the Prada. So I think the industry went right where it was going to go, Apple or no.

        • Wow … apparently you really hate Apple … or me. Otherwise you would have at least made an attempt to be civil and respectful. Oh well …

          • Well, what I’m tired of is when stuff like this escapes whatever Reddit circlejerk it actually belongs in and starts getting taken seriously by the larger blogosphere as being worthy of discussion. It has the same relationship to the whole, unbiased truth as an election year talking point, and is only good to stir up team spirit, bolster Apple’s image by diverting attention from anything that might tarnish it ever so slightly, and troll for internet points.

            I don’t hate Apple, I’m just fed up by the hype and trolling that has emanated nonstop from their fans in recent years, and a bit dismayed by what seems to be Apple’s vision for personal computing which makes them both a universal toll collector and arbiter of what is and is not allowed.

  4. Pre iPhone, I had bet that converged devices would not succeed. PDA’s were great, but not everyone wanted or needed one, and cell phones were also great, but didn’t “have” to be connected to the PDA, since it was fine to keep them separate.

    There was also really only 3 “flavors” of smartphone – WinMo, Palm & Blackberry, if the BB was even really a smartphone at all – it was a great email device, but I never really “got” the whole BB thing anyway.

    The iPhone, when it first came out wasn’t even worth having in my opinion. It was too closed, and I could do way more things on my WinMo phone, the Mogul. I could customize it to whatever I wanted, and used programs (before the term “app” was coined) to make it do what I wanted it to do, and look the way I wanted it to look. It wasn’t until the App Store opened up and the idea of Apps really took off, that the iPhone could even hold a candle to WinMo phones.

    In fact, the biggest complaints with the original iPhone was that it didn’t play nicely with other systems, and you would only use web based apps, so being connected to the internet all the time on your device was critical, or your apps wouldn’t work, not a very good selling feature, in my opinion at the time.

    It was a big yawn to me until about the time the 3GS came up. Then my boss had given me his old iPhone to play with, and although I didn’t use it as a phone yet, I really liked it. By that point, there were enough apps in the App Store to make it worthwhile for me, and I got myself a 3GS, jailbroken and unlocked so I could use it on T-Mo, whom I had a contract with at that time. And, I never looked back after switching. Up until that time, I changed devices about every 6 months, whenever the next “best” device showed up. But, I haven’t considered any other phone as a full time daily driver in years.

    Did Apple change the world? Maybe. It showed us what was possible anyway, but it’s totally unrealistic to think that no one out there was going to try to find ways to put out competing devices. Especially since they were still locked into an exclusivity clause with AT&T, which in and of itself was enough to keep some people away.

    Here’s what I have a problem with – Apple got their EU injunction primarily because they have some kind of patent on a rectangle with a bezel. Seriously? What shape is the rest of the work supposed to use exactly? Circles, triangles, parallelograms or pentagons? WTF? How do you patent a rectangle exactly? I’m sure there is more to it than that, because it’s just patently ridiculous to think that a shape could be patented like that.

    And apps? Didn’t Apple lose a battle over the right to the word “App” because they had their App Store, and then everyone started using the term for any program that could be put on a mobile device? It’s like Kleenex – no one really says tissue, everyone says kleenex regardless of who makes it. You can’t stop the whole world from using a term, even if you wanted too. Now, that doesn’t mean that Puffs tissue can bill itself as Kleenex, but “I” can call it whatever the heck I want to, and there is nothing the Kleenex people can do about it.

    Apple isn’t sterling when it comes to patent infringement either, so it’s kind of the pot calling the kettle black there as well. They’ve had their hands slapped once or twice. I personally think that there are Samsung people and there are Apple people, and the 2 aren’t going to be mixing all that much. The real battle is for the 20% of people in the middle of the road. The InfoShade in iOS now is clearly copied from Android – why? Because people want that feature, so Apple had to put it in iOS. Why is it fair for Apple to take what it wants and implement those features, but it’s not OK for another company to do the same? I’m sure that Apple covered itself with how it implemented that feature, and I’m sure that Samsung thought they did the same with the parts of their phones that may be similar to Apple. They BOTH do it, because that’s what WE as consumers want – today’s trend is touchscreens and apps. I can’t predict what the trends will be in 5 more years. Maybe Samsung will have a circular tablet that blows Apple right out of the water because Apple is trying to force them into thinking outside the rectangle right now.

    But, personally, I think that price and previous experience of friends and family is going to be what drives the 20%, along with the sales staff at whatever telco retail store they happen to walk in to, and then what makes that kid working there the biggest spiff or bonus, because that’s what he’ll be pushing on them.