August 5, 2012
Applesauce: All Things Apple – August 5, 2012
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
In this, the first week of the international Olympic Games, Apple took on Samsung in legal feats of strength. In doing so, of course, they´ve had to reveal some of their secret sauce, bad for their egos, but good for those of us nosey Apple watchers. They also released some new, terrible ads meant to bring more people into the fold, (I guess) and the rumor mill has finally whittled down a possible iPhone announcement.
Catch up, cats and Kittens. Don´t get left behind. After all, I´ve already prepared your Applesauce!
Spit on a Stranger
It´s bad enough to be suspiciously guilty of stealing Apple´s design thunder. There are plenty of examples floating around this vast pool of information which show that not only do your designs look like Apple´s, what with the rounded rectangles and apps in a grid, but even your adapters and packaging resemble Apple´s prior art. Remember that one time you decorated a booth of yours with Apple´s App icons? It´s pretty shameless.
Samsung, you´ve even managed to make yourself act and appear suspicious, if not just plain guilty as hell. Not only are your little temper tantrums more than a little pathetic, they´re really just sad.
Clearly I´m no lawyer; I´m just a guy behind a Mac trying to make sense of it all. For instance, where is the logic in releasing the banned evidence to select members of the press? Even if the evidence was of the solid, water-tight variety (and I don´t think it is) it doesn´t help you win the case, right? The jury isn´t allowed to do any reading about the case, and Judge Koh is only allowed to judge the case based on the evidence allowed in the courtroom, right?
Assuming you had the best evidence in the world – nothing short of catching Steve Jobs dressed in drag as he tried to seduce one of your top designers to steal design ideas in a weird, modern-day version of Samson and Delilah – the best you could hope for is, what, stirring up the hornets´ nest of Android FanXBoyz? (That´s what I call them now.)
What I´m asking is, if a small, yet loud set of Android fanatics passed around of picture of Steve Jobs in a dress and lipstick in order to rally against Cupertino, would you feel as if you won your case?
I know we´re still early in the trial, but everything I´ve seen from you in the months leading up to this trial implies that you aren´t trying to prove that you DIDN´T steal from Apple, rather that EVERYONE steals, maybe even Apple, and even they just came up with something SO simple, anyone could have done it.
You´re the kid who got caught cheating in class, and instead of straight up lying about it, you´re trying to channel your inner Zack Morris, asking “But really, doesn´t EVERYBODY cheat sometimes?”
Let´s start, however, with the issue of Sony Style.
By the way, I have to think Sony is just pleased as punch to be wrangled into this bloody affair. After seeing their quarterly results this week, this is probably the last thing they want to be dealing with.
According to Samsung, when Apple was in the early days of designing their iPhone, say February 2006, two Sony designers were interviewed by BusinessWeek, a fine publication. The Sony Shine was beginning to wear off as companies like Apple had begun to dominate the scene. After all, who would buy a Walkman when you could buy an iPod?
Yujin Morisawa and Takashi Ashida were asked by BusinessWeek about the importance of design in new Sony products, particularly the new Walkman digital music player. The new player also had rounded corners, a 20GB hard drive, you know, very iPod.
By this time, of course, the iPod had already dominated the digital media market, leaving no room for any other company to maneuver.
As you might expect, the BusinessWeek writer then asked Morisawa about the iPod and how much it influenced their design.
Said Morisawa, “It's really tough to make something round. You can't really measure where the components are inside [the device] when using the CAD [computer-aided design] system. I didn't want the engineers to change the shape or the size. I didn't want something larger than this; it fits in your hand.”
He continued, “I thought it had to be smooth on the back. The engineers wanted to make the back side flat. But I didn't want the flatness to bother you when you're listening to the music. I made two physical mock-ups for engineers so they could feel the difference. That's how I convinced them to keep working on this. Afterward, the engineers joked that they didn't want to work with me twice in a row.”
According to Samsung´s trial brief, Apple´s Top Brass passed this article around, from Tony Fadell (who later went on to create the Nest Thermostat) to Jobs to Sir Ive before asking one of their designers, Shin Nishibori, to prepare a “Sony-like” design for the iPhone, including drawings and a CAD model. Nishibori even put the Sony name on the device. Once the Apple team saw this design, the entire iPhone project changed.
If you´ve seen this design, it looks strikingly familiar, more like the iPhone 4 and 4S than the first iPhone.
Samsung´s argument, as best as I can determine, is that Apple became inspired by an article about 2 designers who had been inspired by a previous Apple design.
In some ways, creating a Sony Style design is more like returning the favor, a nice little hat tip to the Sony team for thinking of Apple when they designed their next music player. After all, we know Steve Jobs had a soft spot for Sony and even looked to them for inspiration in the very early days of Apple, before the Great Return of ´97.
Of course, Samsung isn´t arguing that they DIDN´T steal Apple designs, but rather that Apple can´t even place a patent on things such as rounded rectangles, flat screens and apps on a grid. After all, if it were that easy to do, how come no one did?
Even Samsung´s F700, which they claim proves that they were hovering around a similar design when Apple first designed the Jesus phone, is a marked difference from every other phone they were building.
Besides, no one was looking to Apple to set the trends of the smartphones of the future. Sure, they made great products, but Apple had a great uphill struggle ahead of them to get to where they are today. Even Sir Ive admitted this week that they almost canned the iPhone several times before it ever made it to market.
To be fair, Samsung wasn´t the only one to rush back to the drawing board upon seeing the public´s reaction to the iPhone.
Even Google´s first attempt at Android looked like the smartphone leader of the day: BlackBerry.
In truth, Samsung´s phones resembled other pre-iPhone leaders, namely RIM´s smartphone and Palm.
But these aren´t new arguments. This evidence has been noted by smarter journalists and pundits than I.
Which makes it all the more curious that Samsung is choosing this fight rather than trying to find another angle with which to pin down Apple.
Earlier this week, they wanted to submit as evidence their F700 model, which just so happened to be released “around” the time of the iPhone.
They even went so far as to suggest that Apple even tried to copy the devices in the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in hopes to render their patents invalid.
This still doesn´t provide an accurate answer to Apple´s accusation that Samsung copied. They only want to prove Apple´s patents invalid.
Judge Koh, of course, refused this 2001 Space Odyssey evidence.
There are plenty more testimonies to hear in this case which will no doubt hear all sorts of wonderful tales about the early iPhone days, how Apple designers slaved over a crowded kitchen table making the best Apple devices.
But let´s not spend all day bickering and arguing over the Apple V Samsung trial.
(Or as Ina Fried from All Things D has dubbed it, #AppSung)
Yes, in the midst of all this wide-eyed wonder and positivity of the World´s Olympic Games, Apple fans have found something to be upset about: Those damn ads.
No doubt you´ve seen them, somewhere in between the awkwardly tight and close up shots of the tears of defeat on a gymnast´s face and the fluff piece about a swimmer´s favorite out-of-the-pool activity.
In one, our goofy-as-hell Genius is on a plane, in his uniform, no doubt heading to the Games in order to offer solace to those who have chosen the “Official Smartphone of the Olympic Games.”
On the way, an affable passenger has somehow forgotten his anniversary! Oh the relatable horror!
To make up for his forgetfulness, this gentleman wants to create an iMovie composed with romantic clips and he and his wife´s wedding song. He´s so distraught, he´s asked the stewardess to ask the pilot to make an announcement to any Apple Geniuses who might just so happen to be on the plane.
End relatable horror.
The Genius is, of course, more than able to help this gentleman complete his video.
However, in the same way beer commercials never show the lonely drinking in solitude or obese people in line at the pizza buffet, Apple didn´t show what most assuredly happened when the husband got home and offered a cheesy iMovie as an anniversary gift.
I suppose that´s not really the point, is it?
In another ad, our plucky Genius is tapped on the shoulder as he waits for delicious street tacos (taking some liberty here) only to see a much taller man holding a nondescript paper bag containing “basically” a Mac.
This is probably the only relatable ad of the bunch. Next time you´re in an Apple store, ask a Genius how many times they´re stopped in a day and asked with a toothless grin, “HEY! YOU A GENIUS?”
The worst of the lot, however, shows the Genius in bed, IN HIS UNIFORM, when he is awoken by some guy. The guy´s wife is about to have a baby, but he wants to play around on his Mac and make some cards.
There are several things wrong here:
1. Why is the guy more concerned with playing on his Mac when his wife is about to give birth? More importantly, is there a number I can call to report potential child neglect?
2. I don´t care how much you love your job, the only people who sleep in their uniform are drunks who only want to get out of bed and walk to work in the morning, rather than, you know, getting ready like an actual adult. Our Genius doesn´t look like a drunk, so let´s count that one out.
If he´s no lush, then surely this man is an impostor, someone who gets his jollies from dressing up as an Apple Genius and lying in wait at night on the off-chance that a potential bad dad might come a´knockin´.
But hey, I´m already an Apple fan. Maybe this is what will win people over?
And Carrot Rope
If you happened to be looking for any kind of proof of the next iPhone´s lack of existence, look no further than one ever-changing iPhone rumor.
In the beginning, we didn´t even care to look at the bottom of the imaginary phone which existed only in our dreams. After all, Apple has used that ubiquitous 30-pin connector for nearly 10 years. If it ain´t broke.
Then we heard talk about a new, slimmer dock connector, somewhere to the tune of 19-pins.
It took a while for us to get used to the idea. After all, those of us who are planning on buying one of these things when they release have already begun the slow, painful goodbyes to our current cases and protectors. Personally, I use a real wood replacement back on my phone, which I love. Walnut, no less. I only hope the team at Monolith will continue on with a new design, but that´s neither here nor there“¦
It´s not enough that we have to part with our cases, now we have to part with our accessories?
While we were still digesting this news and preparing ourselves mentally for the change, there came some chirps that maybe it´ll be 16-pins instead. Give us a minute, rumor mill“¦
This week, we heard the magic pin number has shrunk once more to 9. A 9-pin connector.
At this rate, the next iPhone will only need to connect via good thoughts and karma!
Luckily for our poor, fragile hearts, we could only have another 5 weeks or so to have all of our questions answered.
This week, Rene Ritchie with iMore “confirmed” that Apple´s next press event – where they might announce all or any combination of an iPhone, iPod Nano or iPad Mini thing – will be held September 12. Later in the day, similar confirmations were coming out the woodwork. All Things D jumped on board, saying their sources agreed with the September 12th date. The Verge also issued their own report, confirming the early September press event. Even Jim Dalyrmple, like the wise bearded oracle he is, issued his single-word sign of approval: “yep.”
All that´s left to be seen now – with the notable exception of phone itself – is whether Apple will make the next iPhone share the stage with the iPad Mini. While the iPhone is a huge hit with the world and more than deserves its own show, rumors for an iPad Mini have garnered so much attention, it´s possible it could steal the show, especially if immediate response to the iPhone isn´t stellar. If history has taught us anything, it´s that people will pan the iPhone immediately after the release, then show up in line at their local Apple store on release day. Oh humans, you're so crazy.