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back to article Magpie Apple plunders the competition for cosmetics, as egos run wild

If you're an AAPL shareholder, there are reasons to be deeply troubled by last night's WWDC announcements of new Macs, OS X 10.9 and iOS 7. It was widely believed that "Apple was unmanageable" after its mercurial, driven co-founder Steve Jobs departed in 1985 - without Jobs, egos ran rampant and chaos ruled. Apple in 2013 is in …

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Anonymous Coward

Any issues with iOS7 will be fixed in iOS8. Any issues in iOS8 will be fixed in iOS9, etc.

Anyone who speaks against the greatness of iOS or Apple in general should be strung up by their hamstrings and subjected to the public ridicule they deserve. So sayeth the Gospel of Jobs.

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Holmes

And iOS9, due in 2 years, will have the features of Android 4.2, out last year

It's all so tediously predictable.

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Re: And iOS9, due in 2 years, will have the features of Android 4.2, out last year

"Re: And iOS9, due in 2 years, will have the features of Android 4.2, out last year"

which Symbian had 2 years before.

E.g. Clock with fatter font as hours (Symbian Belle 2011) or call logs with divider for missed, received, made calls (Symbian since forever)

All those Americans are thieving hypocrites!

Desktop OS's ripping off features from UK's invented, created and developed RISC OS (antialiasing onscreen fonts with hinting and kerningm iconbar, contextsensitive menu's etc...)

Phone OS's ripping of features from Finland's Symbian (which is in essence ex-UK's Epoc32).

F T all!

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Familiar

It wasn't unexpected the direction they'd be going. They'd really backed themselves into a corner, and WP8/Android were showing that functionality beats pretty UI's that need extra clicks.

The Notification bar, the quick settings, it's obvious that Apple have sat down with everything out there and /really/ looked carefully at it, probably had meetings on what to take it, improve it, and make it look 'appley' but it's incredibly obvious to anyone who looks at them where the ideas are coming from.

And that's ok! It really is! Palm had some great ideas too, as can be seen by the switcher.

But...

You know deep down every iPhone user is going to look at this and think "well, they kept telling me this was better than the competition for all those years, and that they were copying MY phone, but now they're copying them and... I just feel uncomfortable. What else do other phones do better?"

Then again, maybe it'll get a few others to re-look at iPhones and say 'oo, nice hardware and now a nice OS that works like i'm used to'.

Shame they're going to Bing though, to get away from Google, they're once again willing to break their functionality. Unless they think Bing's good enough now. But as bad as Google may be perceived to Apple, have they REALLY forgotten how Microsoft works?

Shows an Apple that's following, following, racing around, sniffing for clues. And at last, the general press seems to be aware that the smoke and mirrors are just that.

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Unhappy

Re: Familiar

"well, they kept telling me this was better than the competition for all those years, and that they were copying MY phone, but now they're copying them and... I just feel uncomfortable. What else do other phones do better?"

Actually they will just rewrite history. In a years time the "fanbois" will claim that Apple had been developing these features for years, and the competition must have stole these things from Apple somehow.

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JDX
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Re: Familiar

You know deep down every iPhone user is going to look at this and think "well, they kept telling me this was better than the competition for all those years

Yeah, the average Apple user definitely thinks all that, rather than just buying iPhone because it;s cool and pretty. People buy phones because they like them, not as a result of prolonged introspection.

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Alert

Re: Familiar

.....the competition must have stole these things from Apple somehow.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the countdown to the first lawsuit claiming exactly that has just started....

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Re: Familiar

"And that's ok! It really is! Palm had some great ideas too, as can be seen by the switcher."

Funny I thought the switcher looked more like Harmattan's than Palm's.

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Anonymous Coward

They had to do it.......

....just because its "that" time of the month. St. Jobs used to do it, so thay have to do it. So anything goes, to keep up the tradition.

Next year will be the same, mark my words.

Nothing revolutionary is coming out.

Would be nice to see some lawsuits flyiing about copying/ripping ! The year will pass interestingly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They had to do it.......

"Would be nice to see some lawsuits flyiing about copying/ripping ! The year will pass interestingly"

Just as well they stock piled that cash, sounds like they are going to need it!

iPhones/iPads have always appealed to the weakest, those who think cool exists, especially because they bought a piece of tech.

You sad sad people. Only now can you start to see your false messiah!

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Re: They had to do it.......

"Would be nice to see some lawsuits flyiing about copying/ripping ! The year will pass interestingly."

It wont happen they missed their change.

Windows 8 without start-button.

--> this means that the bottom iconbar looks even more like OSX's Dock... and yet not a peep from the fruit-factory.... they've lost their pedals, I guess.

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Guesses

Since the top left icon has what looks like switches on it, I'm going to guess it's for "settings".

The top right icon has rectangles that look like the iPhone itself, but in different colors. So that's likely to be "personalization".

The bottom left icon seems to be a sort of color wheel, so it may have to do with choosing colors too, even though that ought to be covered in "personalization".

But you're absolutely right that people shouldn't have to guess like that; instead, there should be legends under the icons so that people know what they're doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guesses

perhaps it's to save on the costs of localization

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Holmes

Re: Guesses

The bottom left is photos - but I only think that because of a screen shot earlier in the article.

Ghod knows what the top right one is.

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Re: Guesses

Top right is multitasking, iianm.

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TK1

Re: Guesses

Top Left= Broken (melted) Lego

Top Right= Venetian Blind Selector

Bottom Left= Gardening App

Bottom Right= Ride your bicycle upside down app

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Meanwhile Stephen Fry professes his love of iOS 7 via twitter.

So it must be good then. :)

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This is the same guy who a few years ago did videos telling us the wonders of Open Source and Linux, and how it was so obviously better because of course people should be able to do what they like with their machine, and for it to be modified, no different to any other piece of hardware that you own like a car.

Why, if only there was an Open Source and Linux-based platform for phones. Instead he now advertises for the most closed platform around.

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Anonymous Coward

Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away

What exactly are the parallax wallpaper effect and rain and snow falling on the weather app, if not "Conspicuous ornamentation"?

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P_0

How could Apple end up with THIS as their best effort? It is without doubt the worst UI design I have seen in a long time. Where did they find the designers? In some dark corner of an insane asylum? I almost want to apologize to Steve Ballmer, cus Windows 8 now seems beautiful.

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FAIL

It's a cross between Nokia's Evolve theme (which came out first with MeeGo/Symbian Belle/Asha) and WP (which came out second), but sadly as Apple are third they get to pick the short straw every time for each icon's design.

The only thing new they've brought to the table is a white background, but, hey, battery life isn't important.

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@ P_0

Worst UI design?

What about Windows Mobile: http://www.geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/default-start-screen.jpg

...or the Ribbon http://i.msdn.microsoft.com/dynimg/IC234842.png

...or some of Stardock's stuff http://www.stardock.com/products/windowblinds/index.26.jpg

...or even Blender; a superb bit of software with a truly, truly horrible interface. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/Yafaray0.1.1.jpg.

Bad UI abounds. iOS7 is a long, long way from being the worst out there.

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<clicks twice, turns winpho 7.8 background to white>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ P_0

Actually Windows Mobile 6.1 was a fantastic homescreen.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/02/Sshot114(v2).png

You could see everything that's important on one (1) screen. Including missed calls, missed emails, appointements, connectivity, time and date, battery strenght, signal strenght etc...

without stupid "widgets" or "tiles". Plain and simple text!

Lord Elpuss: what you linked to is the application's menu not the startscreen. And what's more importantly the icons were clear and concise. That UI was not as horrible as "the press" make us (you) believe. In fact I loved WM6.1. You could record calls with the inbuild notes-app, local syncing (MSFT deliberatly crippled activesync by removing Wifi-support in activesync 4.x but USB and Bluetooth syncing was possible), full outlook compatible, there was some great software (e.g. iGo navigation)

And there were some great UI's (e.g. SPB Mobile shell) around which unfortunately nobody ever noticed. Probably because it wasn't build by an American company and thus deemed unimportant.

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There are only so many ways to do something. If Apple is improving their product by including them and there are no patent issues, what's the problem? I think the current Android, Blackberry and Windows phone devices owe more to the original iPhone than vice versa.

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That's obviously true for Android and WP, but only because we haven't yet invented Time Travel, so obviously a 2007 device won't owe anything to platforms that were released later.

However, the 2007 iphone still owed plenty from previous companies like Nokia or LG, or platforms like Symbian or even feature phone platforms. And iphones today owe plenty to platforms like Android.

You're right, there's no problem with copying, which all companies have done in mobile (and elsewhere). But it is worth pointing it out, when fans claim that one company invents everything and only others copy.

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Anonymous Coward

Copying

Your entire sentiment that Apple copying other companies is something new is laughable. Jobs was NOTORIOUS for ripping off other companies ideas, then pretending he invented the idea. Remind us all again what amazing new innovations Jobs released over the last 3 years of his tenure. Siri? Bought from another company. Maps? Broken. Spaces on OSX? Already existing in the various *nix environments for decades.

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Cue the rampaging responses from Apple fans

iOS 7 does feel like a coming together of other old interfaces, but it needed to be updated. Maybe 7.1 will be better?

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Re: Cue the rampaging responses from Apple fans

Is iOS7 released into the wild, yet? There is every chance this criticism is valid, and if so it will still be valid after someone has spent a week with this new iOS version.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the rampaging responses from Apple fans

"iOS 7 does feel like a coming together of other old interfaces, but it needed to be updated. Maybe 7.1 will be better?"

Yeah, like Windows 8 needed to be better. Thus tommorow we'll have Windows 8.1... oh dear.

Now when is that Jolla phone coming out?

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Fair comments, but....

Everyone seems so quick to point out the 'theft' from other device interfaces. Yet nobody seems to be concerned that Eric Schmidt ran away to Google after bagging a whole bunch of Apple ideas, which he then put straight into Android. So theft is fine as long as you are the first person to produce a device with the idea in use.

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Re: Fair comments, but....

"So theft is fine as long as you are the first person to produce a device with the idea in use."

And the winner for the first fanboy to say that Apple had been developing those features all along is in

Congratulations!

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Re: Fair comments, but....

I think the distinction is the lawsuits and claims from Apple (and iFans) that those dirty rotten scoundrels Google, Samsung, Moto, HTC.... stole Apple's ideas and they must pay, but then Apple turns around and does a fair bit of 'blatant copying' of their own. Good for the goose, etc.

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Re: Fair comments, but....

Yeah, sure, whatever JayTee. Apple started pooing in their pants about "theft" first: the moment Steve Jobs laid eyes on Android he knew it was a threat to iOS. That's why he threatened to nuke it, rather than just act arrogantly smug.

And lets not forget that he knew how to "bag" ideas from others and run back to Apple...

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iOS 7 looks like Yahoo Weather

Coincidence?

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Anonymous Coward

Erm, it's a phone OS. It doesn't matter.

Honestly, mobiles phones are the new religions of this world. How long before someone suicide bombs an Apple or Google office because they didn't like what they were doing?

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I think its quite sad how upset and emotional fully grown adults get over defending their chosen mobile phone provider.

Its a phone at the end of the day, maybe if you worked for the company then you are abit more right to take offence. But no, put your phone down and do something procutive

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Anonymous Coward

" think its quite sad how upset and emotional fully grown adults get over defending their chosen mobile phone provider."

Actually its not my mobile phone provider that worries me. But the missing of features that I find important which are missing in todays products. Features (like 2 way call recording) which have been exchanged for bigger screens (which i find useles in a phone). High quality and high volume speakers that have been exchanged for thinner profiles and less capable batteries. In fact my SGS3 with it's 4.8" screen and HD-ready resolution looks stupid compared to my Nokia 808PV with 4x less pixels. The Android OS doesn't use that screen estate to the fullest with stupidly big text and ridiculously big widgets. E.g. en email-widget that takes up 3/4 of a homescreen (in 1280x720)... serious?

I find it very worrying indeed that the majority of consumers favored a completely crippled walled garden phone with less capabilities then sturdy, stable (feature)phones from years past. Solely because they're not fancy enough. Sad indeed.

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"Ripping off" is a subjective matter

You accuse Apple of ripping off other companies' work - mostly Windows "Metro" interface with a smattering of Blackberry and Android rip-offs thrown in. But are they really? I read an article yesterday that suggested that Jon Ives already had the idea for a flatter UI back in 2005 - which would be way before "Metro" was a glimmer in Microsoft's eye. I dug it up and leave it to your "objective" eye to decide:

http://www.cultofmac.com/231140/ios-7s-flat-icons-are-a-blast-from-the-past/

With respect to Apple ripping-off the "layering" GUI elements of BlackBerry - that's also questionable. Z-ordering of GUI elements has been part of computer science even when I was in college (that would be the late '80s), so the fact that Apple did something with it doesn't mean they ripped off anybody. Similarly the card-layout for quick task switching. This graphical way of representing tasks isn't something Blackberry invented (I vaguely remember an Apple product called "Hypercards" that may have used the metaphor in the early '80s....if that is not right, there were other instances I saw it and just can't remember).

You may have a good point with Apple ripping-off Android's "Notification Center". I don't know. But as with many things, there aren't a heck of a lot of ways on a small, 2-dimensional screen to "notify" someone unobtrusively. I think anybody given that task would come up with something similar to Android's. It just makes sense - you don't have to copy Android to come up with the same thing.

You mention Air drop being old hat (Lion users already had it) - but leave out that it's been made much easier to take advantage of via the share sheets.

Your article's main thrust, though, is that Apple isn't innovating and that shareholders should be wary. You back up your opinion with the above-mentioned "ripping off", but leave out evidence that counters your opinion! From where I sit, the new Power Mac appears very innovate. The new power management features in the new version of Mac OSX seems very innovative. What other operating system has the memory compression mechanism they talked about? That alone will allow me to hopefully ring more usefulness out of my 8GB system that needs to swap pages to disk/SSD because of the workload I put on it. There was talk of Siri's "No eyes" integration in many cars in 2014 - that, while perhaps not "innovative" is definitely a good sign for investors. You write off the new music service as a "me too" product. But from an investment perspective, this new product is a VERY GOOD thing: (1) by putting a one-click "buy" button next to every song that is being played, Apple will make a ton of money and (2) it is yet another reasons for people to go to Apple (or to stay with Apple) because it has the most useful features OUT OF THE BOX.

With regards to Apple not having to announced a new iPhone at MWDC: Management decided to move iPhone introductions to to the fall. They're not allowed to do that, just because Steve did it in June? Since the last two iPhones came in October and September, you'd have an argument if the next iPhone didn't arrive by then. That it didn't arrive by MWDC means nothing.

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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

@Thomas Wolf: "I read an article yesterday that suggested that Jon Ives already had the idea for a flatter UI back in 2005 - which would be way before "Metro" was a glimmer in Microsoft's eye."

Not really, Media Center had the beginnings of "Metro" back in 2001 and by 2006 it was in the Zune. Even if Ives was thinking about it in 2005, he really wasn't first. The tiles may have come later, but the focus on typography and simplified design had been around for a long time. It's hard to read Apple's "design" statements and not notice the glaring similarity with those from Microsoft.

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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

The Metro interface was so named because it was modelled after the design language of mass public transit systems, specifically including the King County Metro that serves Redmond and Seattle amongst others. So it's a little disingenuous to give credit to any of these computer company upstarts.

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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

"You may have a good point with Apple ripping-off Android's "Notification Center". I don't know. But as with many things, there aren't a heck of a lot of ways on a small, 2-dimensional screen to "notify" someone unobtrusively. I think anybody given that task would come up with something similar to Android's. It just makes sense - you don't have to copy Android to come up with the same thing."

This is a reasonable point to make if you can tell me that the Apple designers have never, ever, ever seen any of the other devices in question. If they have then they will have been influenced directly or unconsciously by what they have seen.

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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

" I read an article yesterday that suggested that Jon Ives already had the idea for a flatter UI back in 2005 "

Well then. I had the same idea back in 1995.

Cheque please!

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Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

I had the same idea [for a "flatter UI"] back in 1995.

Hell, X11R3 with uwm had a "flatter" UI. And it was damned efficient in its use of screen real estate, too, with no window decorations1 and, for most applications, no icons. With a suitable config (it was highly configurable, too), you could use pretty much the entire screen real estate for useful content even when you needed many windows.

The "simulated 3D" look came after the "flat" look, for obvious reasons - it requires more color depth, generally wastes more screen real estate, and generally consumes resources that were put to better use in the era of simple GUIs. Apple and Microsoft are just displaying a bit of disillusionment with one variety of the eye-candy they were so in love with a few years ago. There's precious little design innovation happening here.

1Unlike most X11 window managers since, uwm did not reparent windows - the application's window was a direct descendant of the root window. Window-manager functions were selected by holding modifier keys while pressing mouse buttons.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Ripping off" is a subjective matter

"You may have a good point with Apple ripping-off Android's "Notification Center".

--> which is ripped off in itself from the N9's notification center.

Just as the slide-down easy access toggles and the card view taskmanager (first comercially used on N9 2011)

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Anonymous Coward

that's not a microphone

someone has dropped an enormous aspirin caplet in your wine glass.

here's a thought - skeumorphic is out because icons don't have to emulate the materials the "originals" were made of. But when was the last time you say anyone outside of a radio studio or podcast use a big microphone like that. (telephone and computer headsets have delicate booms, mobile phones have a little slit in the case)

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Wow, who would have thought that the mighty fruit would have to steal their new designs from everyone else especially from windows phone.

I am kinda annoyed and happy at the same time. Annoyed that they nicked so much stuff from so many other innovators and happy because copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

I wonder how the fanbois feel about windroid 7 on their iphones.

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ooh Andrew

I think you should be searching ebay for a flak jacket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I wonder how the fanbois feel about windroid 7 on their iphones.

As a long time iPhone user (fanbois is perhaps too strong a word), I'm actually pretty pissed with the direction Apple's design is taking.

I got an iPhone because I liked the interface - the smoothness and the polish of the visuals (even if it doesn't quite do everything I want it to). I don't have a Windows Phone because they are just plain ugly!

Now Jobs is gone and Ives is following the latest design fad of making everything flat and ugly - they have just removed one of the two primary reasons or 50% of my motivation for having an iPhone.

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