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back to article Apple: You're a copycat! Samsung: This is really about Google, isn't it?

It was déjà vu all over again in a California court yesterday as Apple and Samsung rehashed the same old arguments in a new patent trial, with the odd twist. Apple once more kicked off with its allegations that Samsung had deliberately "copied" its iPhone, because the Jesus mobe was such a game-changer. "The introduction of the …

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Meh

Prior art: UIQ2, Windohs phone.

Yes, they weren't wonderful but the Iphone is merely a usability extension on what was already there, not a groundbreaking change in the way we use phones.

Yes it opened the market up, but that was more about advertising than innovation.

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Re: Meh

At least until you consider the dumb-assed s/w and design patents allowable in the US which means Apple and others can play this game in the courts rather than the marketplace

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Linux

Re: Meh

Considering that iPhone shipped originally without the ability to Copypasta suggests that it wasn't even that much of a game changer. Simply put, the launch of the iPhone was just brand alignment for the Apple hipsters.

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Re: Meh

So Reg commentards who will never come close to making something like the iPhone in their lives think the most successful consumer electronics device in history is no big deal, yet in the recent book "Dogfight" Google's own Chris DeSalvo, working at the heart of the Android project, admitted on first seeing the iPhone:

“As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’”

So no, I guess it had no impact on the industry and all the ideas it embodied had no impact either. /sarcasm

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Re: Meh

Ahh, UIQ.

I had (well, still have around) a Sony Ericsson P900 and a P990.

I could play SCUMM games at native res with a stylus, which is honestly better for those good old point and clicks than your finger.

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Re: Meh

If anyone remembers Palm, they would know that it would be considered the first generation smartphone. Apple and Google's inspiration for their phones obviously came from the tile icon based device.

I wonder how much of the Apple/Google fortune the new owners of Palm could sue for....you know...HP (Half Pathetic)

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Re: Meh

@Jason 5, selective memory, since the Apple Newton was out first, which was, oh a tile based haptic touch-screen device released 1993 when the Palm Pilot was released 1997. The "who was earliest" game is a silly one anyway. All modern tech products have components with considerable lineage which have been around in combination with other devices for many years. It's all about the cake that is baked with the ingredients, not the ingredients themselves.

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Re: Meh

sorry, meant to say resistive, not haptic touch screen device. Old age.

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Re: Meh

quote: "@Jason 5, selective memory, since the Apple Newton was out first, which was, oh a tile based haptic touch-screen device released 1993 when the Palm Pilot was released 1997."

Of course, the Newton (and the Palm) could neither make or receive GSM phone calls or SMS messages, so neither can be called "smartphones" in that respect. The IBM Simon is (barely) a smartphone and was released in 1994, or you could go for the Nokia 9000 released in 1996 as a better PDA+phone mashup (source).

quote: "The "who was earliest" game is a silly one anyway. All modern tech products have components with considerable lineage which have been around in combination with other devices for many years. It's all about the cake that is baked with the ingredients, not the ingredients themselves."

Indeed, yet Apple enthusiasts almost always immediately claim Apple were the "first" with the iPhone and iPad when they demonstrably were not. When pressed for details of first-ness, they tend to switch to "game changers" as Apple's USP, and when challenged regarding the details of game-changing-ness, normally "touchscreen" or "multi-touch" are mentioned at this point.

Apple are exceedingly good at letting other companies do the risky business of sounding out a brand new market, and then they come barreling in once profitability is established. They are also exceedingly good at writing their marketing to imply they were first, and let public perception do the rest.

So yes, Samsung may well be guilty of copying Apple copying {IBM,Nokia,Ericsson,Palm,Microsoft} et al. However in this specific case, as in that last one, the patents are utter tripe and should never have been granted in the first place (I see "slide to unlock" is still on the list, let's see if they have the balls to try and patent "swipe finger over fingerprint sensor to unlock" as well).

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Re: Meh

@NumptyScrub

"yet Apple enthusiasts almost always immediately claim Apple were the "first" with the iPhone and iPad when they demonstrably were not"

It's not too facetious to point out, that by definition, Apple were the first with the iPhone and the iPad and you have already appear to have agreed it is the cake baked with the ingredients, not the list of ingredients themselves. Plus you seem to have ignored the "horses mouth" admission of a key techie in the history of this, one who was quite happy to pay due respect to the achievements of a competitor. Why do you think it is Chris DeSilva thought the Google Android project (at the time Android looked far closer to the Blackberry OS than iOS) would have start-over if it wasn't for the fact the bar had just been moved significantly higher ? And why did RIM take a dive? Because of an OS that looked like their own, or because of Nokia's smartphones (which they were already, in business if not in technology terms, besting), or because of the significant fork in the smartphone design path brought by the iPhone? So all in all, who is it that is attempting to re-write history here?

I'm a little at a loss as to what your point is except to deny the important role the iPhone played. Now if you ask me if the Newton, the Palm Pilot or the Nokia 9000 were important devices I would have no difficulty acknowledging the part they played. Sour grapes and partisanship only serve to warp historical analysis. Psion should be in the mix too: they had far superior OS technology than Palm (though how they squandered that advantage is a sad story). Their OS was the root of Symbian, which they spun out as a separate company, though by the time they did this, they had lost their early lead and the endeavour was, unfortunately, further wrecked by vested interests and a lack of overall over the design direction for the OS.

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Re: Meh

I still have in my drawer next to me, a Sony Ericsson P990i that I used up to 2011 (because I don't give a crap about changing my phone every 12-18 months and on average make them last 3-4yrs).

I never upgraded because it wasn't needed... The iphone always seemed like a fashion statement rather than a desirable piece of tech and the early android phones were much the same with both sides having underdeveloped operating systems that in some cases couldn't even do things my aging P990i could.

When I did upgrade in 2011 I went for the HTC Desire HD, which even then was considered 'old' technology... But when you realise what it cost me and was unlocked and contract free... and came from a friend who got it as a free upgrade for peanuts.

I'm still using it, and although I do wish I could upgrade the OS to 4 and above (but HTC have a habit of screwing over owners with a lack of upgrades).. But when I upgrade to a new phone... it won't be an Apple and it won't be a Samsung... because I for one am sick and tired of the fanboy behaviour on both sides and want no part of it.

I think I'll get a pure Nexus direct instead... for a lot less than either of the others charge.

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Re: Meh

Apple was first to... release a device that was truly attractive to the majority of consumers. It achieved this through a successful marriage of blossoming technologies and by using its iPod clout to strong-arm the mobile networks.

If you had asked interested consumers what impressed them in the first iPhone they'd probably mention the multitouch interface (thanks to Apple's acquisition of FingerWorks), the smooth user interface (achievable because GPUs had crossed the necessary power/price threshold) and the unlimited data plans (that's the network clout bit). The screen was also large and high resolution for its time.

But the real issue here isn't whether Samsung dared to plan its products by surveying competing products (hint: it did) it is to what extent it should be allowed to as obviously if someone had said "iPhone purchasers have reported liking this browser icon, let's use this browser icon" then there'd be no real debate.

If you've really nothing else to do with your day you can check my post history and see that I'm generally positive about Apple but, honestly, I don't think a functioning marketplace is sustainable if we're at the level where minor interface elements like slide to unlock are protectable (regardless of whether Apple should own that one or not). I also don't really understand Apple's strategy here. What benefit has been derived from all this wrangling? It feels like if Apple had just left well alone then it would be in a better market position now, allowing for the negative PR consequences compounded by Samsung's resulting advertising strategy. All I can imagine is that it's so much bluster to get a better price on components.

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Re: Meh

"It's all about the cake that is baked with the ingredients, not the ingredients themselves."

That's what common sense would tell us. However, when it comes to software and hardware patents (which overlap to a certain extent), it seems to be all about abstract ingredients. The US (and other countries with similar laws) got that fundamentally wrong. Now the poor judges have to listen to that shit.

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Re: Meh

> HP (Half Pathetic)

HP (Hugely Pathetic)

There, FTFY...

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Mushroom

Re: Meh

"the most successful consumer electronics device in history"... but Apple didn't invent either the mobile phone, or even the smart phone.

Obviously a very short memory. Perhaps you are too young to know about the Sony Walkman? Video recorder? Personal computer? Games console?

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Headmaster

Re: "Apple Newton was out first"

Sorry Mr. BasketCase but, as you were already told six months ago, the first portable resistive touch screen device with handwriting recognition was actually the Linus Write-Top, released in 1987, a full six years before the Newton.

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Re: "Apple Newton was out first"

Well here's the thing Homey boy, its a little boring how you are incapable of grasping the argument that "first" does not equal "success" or even "good," and though it may be largely of identity with "inventive" isn't even necessarily "innovative" (innovation being more than invention, but also cultivation and integration of valued solutions such that they are brought to practical fruition and application) And the first electronics device made of plastic was way earlier than 30 years before the Linus Write-Top. So what?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

Will I ever make something like the iPhone in my life...

Of course I won't you dullard I'm not a major manufacturing concern.

But I do work in a small software development company.

Will I write creative software? Yes.

Will I write new GUI elements? Yes.

Will I write things like slide to unlock? Yes.

Will I write things that suggest interaction with a real world object on a touchscreen? Yes

Will I want to hypertext-ualize content in text if I recognize it? Yes.

Will I want to implement visual cues for recognizing the end of a list? Yes.

Will I want to implement multi-touch gestures for achieving x? Yes

Will I want to implement a billion other frikking things? Yes.

Will I want to implement a search that looks at multiple data-sources? Yes.

Will I want them to run on a phone? Yes.

Will I probably be doing this until I retire? Yes.

IF IT'S STILL ARSING POSSIBLE GIVEN ALL THIS LUDICROUS SOFTWARE PATENT SHIT THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU SEEM TO THINK IS A GOOD IDEA.

You may never have done anything remotely creative in your entire life except decide which apple product to buy next but a lot of us do and we've done it almost our whole lives, and this crap is going to kill everybody in this industry with less than a billion dollar legal budget.

Every time I "independently" (quotes because I understand that everything is filtered by what I've seen before) implement any form of GUI element I should not have to live in fear that someone else has done it before and who happened to have a team of lawyers in the room next door and a company policy of "patent everything, sue everybody, see what sticks".

Software patents, especially when tied to easily independently arrived at solutions to trivial problems (such as slide-to-unlock, pinch-to-zoom and a myriad others) are clearly wrong and utterly devastating to competition and creativity.

I am totally bewildered that so many people who post to this site, who clearly have more than a casual interest in IT/Software/Development, can not realize this.

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Re: Meh

All this talk about who invented what first and whether the iphone had specific tech first or not is missing the real reason why it took off - marketing. Apple were the first company to market a smart phone to consumers outside of the the business sector and do so heavily and for a prolonged period. Combined with the concurrent development of a more robust data infra structure and improvement in tech completely independent of apple they were able to show that demand could be created in the much larger consumer market. Whilst apple acolytes love to think that their saviour invented the wave and the ocean they surfed in on, all apple did was pick a decent surf board and a better spot on the beach to start riding into success.

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Re: Meh

quote: "It's not too facetious to point out, that by definition, Apple were the first with the iPhone and the iPad and you have already appear to have agreed it is the cake baked with the ingredients, not the list of ingredients themselves."

First with what? Smartphone? Not by a long shot. Touchscreen on a phone? Nope. Phone which has a touchscreen which takes up almost all of the real estate? Err, not even that, sorry.

This lawsuit by Apple is over 6 specific ingredients (patents), so since we both agree about the cake analogy, I'm guessing we both agree that it's a pointless waste of time for Apple to be doing this, and especially galling that they are demanding $2 billion for ingredients?

quote: "or because of the significant fork in the smartphone design path brought by the iPhone?"

I think you mean the significant design fork brought about by the LG Prada (see link above), although I understand that since Apple harp on and on about their design being a "game changer" and "first" and "anyone making products that look vaguely like ours must be copying us" that you could be forgiven for believing them. :)

quote: "I'm a little at a loss as to what your point is except to deny the important role the iPhone played."

My point is (and always has been) that the decidedly important role(s) that the iPhone played were in popularisation and market penetration. The iPhone was a well rounded iteration on release, but I certainly wouldn't call it a particular innovation, either design-wise or in a technical aspect, given that it used off the shelf ingredients and was itself the subject of some serious "copying" scrutiny on release.

You will note that Apple have since received a design patent on the iPhone even though it was initially the subject of a potential lawsuit over the design. Feel free to use that to contend that it somehow confers retroactive credibility or legitimacy to Apple. Personally I'll be viewing that particular USPTO decision in a slightly different light, alongside the slide-to-unlock and bouncing-list decisions... :/

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Re: Meh

@AC

kinda arguing against your own straw man there. Not what I've said at all, but it's quite fun to watch you vent against an imaginary enemy. Throw some more insults at the dullard. Get it off your chest. But if you come to blows, don't swing too hard, he's not real so there's a high chance you'll just spin on the spot and hit yourself.

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Headmaster

Re: "Apple Newton was out first"

"So what?" I see, so first you make a bullshit claim then, when you're proven wrong, you pretend you asked a completely different question, whilst neatly ignoring the entire topic of the article, re: who copied whom.

As for subjective things like "quality", crApple's garbage has had more than its fair share of failures, and it's financial success is purely driven by exorbitant prices (which is why it makes more money than anyone else, despite having a tiny market share). That's all very laudable, I suppose, if you're the sort of person who admires rip-off artists.

But as fascinating as that is, the point of this article is who copied whom, and given that Apple is the least innovative plagiarist in history, clearly it's Apple that copied everyone else.

If I were you, I'd pick a replacement "SuccessCase", because your current one seems to have failed.

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Re: "Apple Newton was out first"

Oh Homer you seem not to have been able to parse quite simple logic. Saying x was an earlier implementation of feature y than z's is NOT a claim x was the *earliest* implementation of feature y. Read again my "claim" and you will see I have made no statement about the Newton being the earliest resistive touch device, and that I have quite rightly pointed out the argument Apple was not innovative because the iPad was predated by the Palm Pilot is a wholly inadequate given the Palm Pilot was predated by an earlier *Apple* device which clearly evidenced the two features (touch sensitivity and a grid of icons) cited. In the future, do try harder to actually parse basic logic old chap, your supposed to be a technologist. Bad humoured insults suggest your ability to analyse simple logic has been somewhat hampered by the red mist.

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Roo
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Presumably this is the same Phil that claimed Apple sunk most of the firm's R&D effort into the iPhone, yet we have Greg Christie on record as saying the dev team was "shockingly small"... To be fair Phil's claims could be correct if Apple had a very small R&D budget and outsourced the vast majority of their development work...

So Phil, which is it ? Perjury or Apple outsources the majority of it's product development ?

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That is actually a matter of public record. See the investor reports.

Apple's R&D budget in 2008-2012 was about 2-4% of it's revenue. With most major tech companies, this is somewhere around 10-15%.

Also note that this includes ALL product development. So it's not just iPhones and iOS. This includes development on MacOS and it's applications and the development of ll other i<Thing>s.

Since Apple have to develop their hardware, OS and applications themselves (i.e. they can't just buy an OS for their hardware), you'd expect that they'd need to spend more on R&D, not less.

It's likely that they outsource most of their product development.

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What you said makes no sense because you are using percentages, if your company makes a 100Billion in revenue , then 2% is a damn sight more than 2% of say a million.

Plus just because they don't spend as much percentage wise as their competitors does not mean they are doing no R&D, apple only has a few products so therefore can concentrate their resouces.

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"Phil that claimed Apple sunk most of the firm's R&D effort into the iPhone, yet we have Greg Christie on record as saying the dev team was "shockingly small""

That's a false choice, since there is no inconsistency in saying most of the R&D effort was against iPhone and that the dev team was shockingly small. Most companies use R&D spend as an accounting trick, because it can be used to minimise tax. Steve Jobs was well known for the fact he disliked large sprawling teams and he felt fluffing up R&D budget to reduce tax would lead to a dilution of focus on what R&D should be about.

On returning to Apple he slashed the R&D budget and also crucially cut the number of the products the company marketed to a fraction of what it was before. He understood you get far better and more intense value from small focussed R&D teams. Far from reducing focus on R&D, he was in fact the most R&D obsessed CEO of any tech company for the simple reason his modus operandi was to involve himself intimately as R&D commander in chief. To put it in somewhat melodramatic (but illustrative terms) he was the equivalent of the special forces officer who takes on an audacious plan with the words "my specialist unit 1/20th the size of your conventional forces will get the job done better and with fewer casualties." and then he went out and proved his argument in spectacular style.

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@Martijn Bakker

Sorry, but you're an idiot if you think Apple outsources ANY of their product development. They outsource the manufacturing, not the R&D. If you can point to one case where they've hired outsiders to write their software or design their products I'll eat my words. Sure, they acquire companies like Fingerworks and get some of their technology from them, but all large tech companies do that. For example, Google didn't develop Google Maps, they bought out a company that developed it, and gave it their own name. They've improved it a lot since then, just as Apple has improved on what Fingerworks developed.

Apple spends a smaller percentage of their revenue on R&D compared to other tech companies for several reasons:

1) their revenue is higher than other tech companies - a lot higher in some cases. If one company makes 10x as more as a smaller one, only a stupid Wall Street analyst would suggest they should automatically spend 10x as much on R&D.

2) they have a very very tiny product portfolio compared to all other tech companies of remotely similar size. The fewer products you have, the less R&D that's required. Apple introduces one model of phone per year, that should require less R&D than if they introduced dozens like Samsung.

3) From 2008 to 2012 their revenue grew massively. R&D requires planning, you don't budget R&D based on a percentage of revenue. If you did, you'd have the R&D department racing to spend an extra billion or two between Halloween and Christmas if you were having a great year, or have to furlough your entire R&D department from Halloween to Christmas if you were having a bad year.

Samsung has a much larger R&D spend than Apple, for instance, because smartphones are a tiny part of their overall product portfolio. They are paying guys to design everything from dishwashers to oil tankers. All the money they spend building/outfitting new fabs count as R&D. Apple outsources manufacturing so they don't have to spend that (I'm not sure how their joint venture with that sapphire company in Arizona will be reflected, maybe that $1 billion Apple is chipping in will count as R&D for them...I'm not sure how that accounting will work)

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Re: @Martijn Bakker

> If you can point to one case where they've hired outsiders to write their software ...

Applesoft BASIC. They hired Microsoft to implement MS BASIC on Apple II.

Mac Office. Microsoft implemented it for Apple.

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Re: @Martijn Bakker

"Apple spends a smaller percentage of their revenue on R&D compared to other tech companies"

Because they only release a significant new product once a decade then just do minor tweaks.

Look at OSX, Macbook pro range, ipads, iOS in general...

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Re: @Martijn Bakker

OK, Richard, I guess I should have limited the search for examples to the current millennium :)

Fair cop though, you got me, I can't say they NEVER have done it, they just haven't done it since Jobs 2.0.

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Roo
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Windows

"That's a false choice, since there is no inconsistency in saying most of the R&D effort was against iPhone and that the dev team was shockingly small."

That can only be consistent if migrating two lines of hardware, an OS, developer community and software from PPC -> x86 in the same timeframe could be done with a tiny fraction of the R&D budget.

You will probably find more people who think that Steve Jobs was the second incarnation of Jesus than you will find engineers who agree with that picture...

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Slide to unlock

This is such an obvious feature that it's a wonder it could even be patented.

Even so, most Android devices have avoided this metaphor and used something virtually analogous. For example, the stock Android 4.x requires a person to drag a ball and drop it on the perimeter of a circle which just so happens to be a slide to lock arrangement. I assume Google would point out the ball can be dropped anywhere on the perimeter but its the same deal.

And Samsung has stuck a screensaver with a swipe to unlock message. It doesn't say where to swipe to unlock but it works the same way - drag the finger some appreciable distance in a straight line and the screen unlocks.

Simply put, swipe to unlock is achievable in other ways but the original patent is so obvious it should not have been granted in the first place.

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Re: Slide to unlock

It's great that Apple invented slide to unlock, before that we all had to crawl under the locked door of the washroom stall.

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Re: Slide to unlock

"before that we all had to crawl under the locked door of the washroom stall."

...on a mobile device? Oh, yeah, portaloos, caravans etc :-)

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Re: Slide to unlock

"Slide to unlock... This is such an obvious feature that it's a wonder it could even be patented"

Prior art. My image scanner has a slider to unlock it. And please don't say "on a mobile device" makes any difference. That contains no intellectual content and the "I" in "IP" is important.

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Re: Slide to unlock

"Prior art. My image scanner has a slider to unlock it. "

The prior art would be any number of bolts, latches and levers which work in the exact same way in real life. Apple basically patented a virtual latch.

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Oh please thise same tired old crap...

There were touch screen phones before the iPhone but they were crap. The phone that Samsung was building for Google was a blackberry rip off until the iPhone came along.

What Samsung did was make a phone that looked very very similar to the iPhone, even with similar packaging, to get those people who would have liked an iPhone but could not have afforded it.

The Samsung S2 was the same as those Chinese knockoff you see on eBay, with the court action they knew that they could not keep on doing that stunt which is why the Samsung s3 looks so different , yet the iPhone 4 and 5 are the same just with different dimensions.

And wait for legions of morons going on about rounded corners etc, deliberately missing the point , that it was a design patent, and part of one at that to stop people just making a copycat of their phone.

Apple has not sued Sony or Microsoft or Nokia, for their phones, because they had the good grace to come up with their own damn designs!

As for Apple being envious of the Android market, considering Apple makes more money than anyone in the purely mobile arena and by an immense margin at that ... its laughable

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Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

cannot decide if troll or deludedly serious, well played sir.... however april first was yesterday.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

"Apple has not sued Sony or Microsoft or Nokia, for their phones, because they had the good grace to come up with their own damn designs!" Nokia n900 has slide to unlock, or is a round button significantly different to a rectangular one?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

Right. So with the S3 being so different, why does Apple continue with this same tired old crap? Take the slide-to-unlock patent asserted in this case. Even if the patent would be valid (which I don't think it should be, a completely bullshit patent if there ever was one), the unlocking method on a stock S3 is almost, but not entirely, unlike the patent. The similarity is that the user moves his finger.

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Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

Yes because stating a fact is a troll, Tell me why does the S3 look nothing like the S2 and the S4 look like the S3. Hey and the S3 has rounded shoulders and everything....cretin!

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Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

If the S3 is unlike the S2 (and, by inference, the iPhone), why then is the S3 one of the targets of this suit?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

So despite the fact that the original iPhone looked fairly similar to the HTC Alpine and various others means that you can't have a phone which is rectangular shape where the screen takes up the majority of the real-estate apart from a few buttons at the bottom?

Oh and rounded edges are nothing new so go shove your rounded shoulders where the sun don't shine...

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Unhappy

Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

"There were touch screen phones before the iPhone but they were crap."

They still are.

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Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

Apple has not sued Sony or Microsoft or Nokia, ....

It always seems to me, its because they do not look Chinese (=>益<=)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh please thise same tired old crap...

So why did the iPhone look so similar the LG Prada (released 6 months earlier)? The S2 looks more like a Prada than it does an iPhone, got the same number of front buttons at least !!!.

Samsung should admit they copied the Prada, then if Apple keep this up they would be admitting it too.

This apple fandroid rant is strangely amusing

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/70657/iphone-copies-lgs-new-prada-phone

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This is where the Samsung-Google cross licencing alliance will start to bear fruit: Sue either of them and you could well end up taking on two tech giants in a war on two fronts.

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Apple Disappointing

Again apple you still cant move on!!!!, your only problem is, you just simply cant accept the fact that, you did not bring a large screen format phone out when windows and samsung did ie: 5.5 and 6, which is why you did not have the sales. God i thought about this the minute i saw the first samsung 5 inch phone appear, but nothing from apple:( U spent far too long on new macpro. I say, stop going to court get back to innovating and bring out the large format phones, move on and get to work on what else you can bring to the world like, well ill give u a hint. 1) Apple IPlay (Game Box) (OPPosition to XboxOne and PS4 ) and actually make it this time, and 2) Apple ITV a real one like a real tv from a store, that can interface to all other apple products and stream from the apple hdisk devices.

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