Apple v. Samsung highlights insanity of tech patents
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:33 PM
I was thinking the same thing. How else would you do it? Oh, I dunno - maybe the way EVERYONE was doing it before Apple came along? I had seen/used a variety of smartphones before the iPhone. All of them had a lock feature. None of them had swipe to unlock. I'm sure you can find an example of an obvious/frivolous patent that Apple has, but Swipe to unlock is not it.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:36 PM
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:42 PM
I agreed totally. It's not obvious at all. This solution is so simple and cool that it seems like there's no other way to do it. For years, people cannot thought of a way to prohibit human to accidentally activate the touch screen, so people avoid that and decided to make buttons, buttons, and more buttons.
Apple solve this problem by going all out to touch screen interface.
That's why they have every right to patent a gesture like that.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:50 PM
Do you know that it took Apple a lot of trial and error? It seems more likely Steve simply vetoed additional buttons (beyond the necessary lock/power, home and volume, plus the mute toggle) and the engineers were faced with having to use the touch screen to control locking. Obviously a simple button wouldn't work as it could be accidentally pressed, so something more was needed. Motion activation is a common idea, so maybe a similar thing could be used on a touch screen. Thus some unlock gesture would be suggested, eventually leading to the swipe to unlock (which resembles the latch opening on many laptops, so there is an added point of inspiration). I don't see anything particularly non-obvious about that chain of thought. The real key was making a fully touch-screen phone, the rest follows relatively obviously from that.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:53 PM
Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:55 PM
I agree completely!
It is amazing how many people will retrospectively call things "obvious". Gee, wasn't gravity obvious! And electro-dynamics! I mean its all very obvious to me. Surely it was obvious before they were discovered!
It is also interesting to see just how brilliant some of these tech pundits are; at least in a "Promethean" way!
Posted 03 August 2012 - 02:52 PM
Apple gets into a handful of product areas and researches every possible element for the few products they put out. So a new Apple phone has literally thousands of choices like the swipe to unlock. They sweat the small stuff to a degree the average person can't image.
Then you have Samsung with a product line that stretches from micro-components to TCs to computers to household appliances. They put out dozens of phones each year, ones that copy the keypad approach of RIM and the touch approach of Apple.
Samsung doesn't have time to do that kind of deep research. They prefer to copy someone else's approach and get a cheaper version to market fast. But Apple caught them stealing and they don't have the integrity to admit that stealing ideas is a core element of their business plan.
If Apple let's Samsung get away with this sleazy behavior, then Samsung gets away with it. A lawsuit seems to be the only thing that Samsung will notice.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 03:01 PM
Well done Apple! You deserve to have to this patent.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 04:05 PM
What isn't obvious about it? In the physical realm, there aren't many ways to unlock something. You either push a button (or series of buttons) or you move some sort of mechanism in a prescribed method, such as turning a key or sliding a latch. Sliding a latch...gee, that sounds an awful lot like the iPhone's slide to unlock mechanism.
And regardless, it's obvious Apple is really only using the patent as a weapon to stifle competition. The Palm/HP WebOS had a very similar mechanism where you moved a dot outside of a semi-circle to unlock it. And Apple's patent pretty much covers moving any on-screen object to any other place on the screen. So why didn't Apple sue over it? Seems like it was because they were never a serious competitor unlike Samsung.
As a former Palm Pre 2 owner, the WebOS had a much better use of touch than the iPhone. Moving from the Pre 2 to the iPhone kind of felt like moving back in time. The iPhone's reliance on a button-based input method seemed really archaic compared to the Pre 2 swipe based navigation methods.
Posted 03 August 2012 - 04:55 PM
Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:44 PM
Except that it's still not the obvious solution, because the iPhone isn't exclusively a touch-screen device. There are buttons and even a switch. In fact, although they are arranged differently on the device, it is only one button short of the number of non-touch interface elements that were on the Handspring Visor I bought nearly a decade before the iPhone showed up (I may be cheating slightly in counting the two-position switch on the iPhone as equivalent to the two scroll buttons in the "home" position on the Visor). The "obvious" solution is using one of those to unlock/activate the device, just the same as anyone else with a touch-screen device had been doing for years. As has been expressed a number of times already, if this was such an obvious mechanism, it really should have surfaced sooner.