Apple Hints at Smartphone IP Battle to Come

In what could be interpreted as a hint of a legal battle to come, Apple's COO Tim Cook today made some possibly foretelling statements about iPhone competition and the broad series of patents Apple has secured around the iPhone platform. During todays Apple Inc. quarterly conference call he was asked specifically about smartphone competition and the Palm Pre and Android:

Q: "There are other iPhone competitors coming to the market: Android, Palm Pre. How do you think about sustaining leadership in the face of these competitors?"

A: "It's difficult to compare to products that are not yet in the market. iPhone has seen terrific rating from customers. Software is the key ingredient, and we believe that we are years ahead of our competitors. Having different screen sizes, different input methods, and different hardware makes things difficult for developers. We view iPhone as primarily a software platform, which is different from our competitors. We don't mind competition, but if others rip off our intellectual property, we will go after them."

Following that response he was asked a direct follow up question about the Pre:

Q: "The Palm device seems to directly emulate the iPhone's innovative interface. Is that what you're referring to?"

A: "We don't want to refer to any specific companies, so that was a general statement. We like competition because it makes us better, but we will not stand for companies infringing on our IP."

iphone gesturesWhen the iPhone was first introduced Apple CEO Steve Jobs made it a point to stress that their newly developed multi-touch features were highly patented and that they would be aggressive in defending their intellectual property.

"And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal. It works like magic. You don't need a stylus. It's far more accurate than any touch display that's ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches, it's super-smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it. And boy, have we patented it." - Steve Jobs - January 2007

Apple's own patents pertaining to multi-touch gesture technology can be found online.

Many of the gestures shown so far on the Palm Pre closely mimic ones also present on the iPhone. A report out today suggests that Palm is incorporating multi-touch touchscreen hardware and technology from Cypress Semiconductor in the Palm Pre.

(Via MacRumors)

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Great to see shields used as swords -- sucks for everybody

hgoldner @ 1/21/2009 4:33:40 PM # Q
Once again, a tech troll will seek to use IP law as a sword to destroy innovation, as opposed to a shield to protect an invention.

Look and feel be damned, we're going to patent how we use our fingers?

To hell with you Apple. Guess what my finger is doing now?

Harold

RE: Great to see shields used as swords - sucks for everybody
treo007 @ 1/21/2009 9:32:27 PM # Q
When the mighty Apple is retreating into lawsuit territory, you know you must be doing something right.

I'm shocked Apple is playing this card, this quickly. I love the idea of the Pre, but should Apple be reacting this way already?

If I'm Palm, I've never been so delighted to hear about to be sued.

Reply to this comment

Obviously...

Nycran @ 1/21/2009 4:48:21 PM # Q
Patent infringement was one of the first things that crossed my mind when I watched the multi touch support on the Pre demonstration.

Surely Palm were well aware of what they were doing and have researched this enough to be comfortable with defending any legal claims? Let's hope that there was significant prior art or some other weakness in Apple's patents.

Will be interesting to see how thing unfolds anyway.


RE: Obviously...
freakout @ 1/21/2009 6:06:11 PM # Q
Surely Palm were well aware of what they were doing and have researched this enough to be comfortable with defending any legal claims?

That's what I figured. Makes the most sense.

RE: Obviously...
pmjoe @ 1/21/2009 7:06:02 PM # Q
Multi-touch and those types of gestures are old news. Apple did not invent them. I haven't taken the time to read their patents so there may be certain things about their implementation that are novel (like when they talk about things like ignoring unintended touches), but multi-touch in and of itself is nothing new. I'd also be shocked if Apple is not infringing on some of Palm's patents.

In realty, very few of these things should be patentable in the first place.

RE: Obviously...
lobotomic @ 1/22/2009 2:36:43 AM # Q
I've stumbled upon some other patents awarded to Apple that make me smolder in outrage.

For example: a patent on using games to help learn the gestures. Sorry, Apple, the original Palm PDA had some sort of Text-Invaders game to help you learn the gestures for the Graphitti alphabet (and silly as it was, it was quite addictive). What are you patenting here? Using MODERN games to learn gestures? Please, sod off.

RE: Obviously...
Winterbay @ 1/22/2009 2:33:09 PM # Q
Patent law is full of stupid holes like that. There are for example some patents awarded to Proctor&Gamble that have been patented before (at least the wording looks strangely similar) and different patent officers seem to look at things in different ways.

Reply to this comment

Pirates

Gekko @ 1/21/2009 4:52:06 PM # Q
RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/21/2009 5:04:46 PM # Q
Gekko again displaying his abysmal knowledge of history.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ6ng1_TMN4

The Xerox Star was demonstrated for Jobs at PARC. Jobs got GUI religion.

RE: Pirates
Gekko @ 1/21/2009 5:16:18 PM # Q

yeah, that's explained in the movie, genius.


RE: Pirates
Dawudd @ 1/21/2009 8:20:39 PM # Q
RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 11:24:25 AM # Q
>>>yeah, that's explained in the movie, genius.

You REALLY expect people to sit through your YouTube links? Keep dreaming. And will you get some ointment finally for that damned itch?

RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 1/22/2009 11:52:45 AM # Q
Speaking of dreaming, it looks as though Tim Cook just rained all over Mikey's parade: no "iPhone Nano", no "OS X Web Tablet", no "iMacPodBook Air".

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eaton/technomix/apple-officially-squashes-iphone-nano-and-mac-netbook-rumors

Maybe there's still hope for a "iPhone Shuffle": no display, and when you press the button, it calls a random contact from your address book. It's for people who like to talk, but don't care to whom. Sounds right up Mikey's alley.

RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 12:03:36 PM # Q
Oh look who escaped from medical confinement! But I see, from the state of your text, that the thorazine hasn't been washed out of your system yet. Use water - not the Ripple you favor.

Of course, only *you* could MISinterpret simple statements Cook made to try to reinforce your delusions.

Like that Grand Delusion that ACCESS will still be around by the end of 2009.

Man, it must really really SUCK, seeing how Palm webOS kicked your ass.

RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 1/22/2009 12:19:40 PM # Q
only *you* could MISinterpret simple statements Cook made to try to reinforce your delusions.

Right. And then I somehow got a Fast Company writer to put together an article for me containing precisely those "misinterpretations" just to get your goat, is that it?

Like that Grand Delusion that ACCESS will still be around by the end of 2009.

Never confuse your personal neurotic pique with an ability to predict the future: your "prognostications" don't amount to anything more than childish wishing that Steve Jobs will take pity on your destitute state and give you a free toy of some sort, and that your enemies will all get run over by trucks. That's been quite clearly borne out by the outcome of my prior "Grand Delusion" that I'd still be employed by ACCESS by the end of 2008. As I am.

I suspect there's little doubt in the minds of onlookers who the delusional one here is...

RE: Pirates
Ervool @ 1/22/2009 12:28:56 PM # Q

To quote Jack Nicholson:

"Why can't we work out our differences? Why can't we work things out? Little people, why can't we all just get along?"

Cheers,


RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 12:31:53 PM # Q
>>>I suspect there's little doubt in the minds of onlookers who the delusional one here is...

No, there isn't. But for the n00bs who might be confused, let's examine your mental health file again:

http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/apple-sells-10m-iphones-psychopath-increases-meds/

Using BOLD tags won't help you with this, you pathetic second-rate coding loser.

RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 1/22/2009 1:49:58 PM # Q
Using BOLD tags won't help you with this, you pathetic second-rate coding loser.

Heh. Are you actually laboring under the impression that this sort of "critique" of my programming skills, of all things, from an destitute, cholesterol-laden ignoramus is going to carry much weight with me....?

Like I said, delusional. Go back to French-kissing the front window at the Apple Store, Chuckles.

RE: Pirates
abosco @ 1/22/2009 4:21:44 PM # Q
Can we please stop talking about Access? They're useless and irrelevant.

-Bosco
m105 -> NX70v -> NX80v -> iPhone -> iPhone 3G
RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 6:02:37 PM # Q
Access - when my tired eyes first hit that in your post, abosco, it read it as "abcess."

Yet, fits to a T, doesn't it? Especially fits their delusional soon-to-be-again-unemployed pom-pom girl of 1980s-level design skills.

Hey, where are all those devices running the ABCESS LINUX PLATFORM?

RE: Pirates
freakout @ 1/22/2009 6:09:11 PM # Q
Lefty, sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion that you *enjoy* coming here to thwack the hornet's nest... :)
RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 1/23/2009 6:36:01 AM # Q
Moi?

RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 1/23/2009 7:15:35 AM # Q
It's the only place he can get readers. His blog doesn't have any. Hence no updates since December!

iMacPodBookTouch AIR! (Pro!)
akalefty @ 2/9/2009 9:38:17 AM # Q
Mikey was predicting that a) ACCESS would be bankrupt and b) I'd be out of a job by the end of 2008. I noted the following on webwereld.nl with some interest in this context:

Other vendors are adding, not cutting, workers. For instance, Access Systems Americas Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., has about a dozen openings, including some for tech jobs. Access, which was previously known as PalmSource Inc., is the developer of the Garnet mobile operating system, formerly named Palm OS.

In a sign of the times, though, Access is getting significantly more applications for the open jobs than it did when the economy was in better shape. In the past, the company might have received 30 to 40 resumes for a single position, but it's getting between 60 and 70 now.

See http://webwereld.nl/internationaal-nieuws/54805/tech-jobs-forecast-mostly-gloomy-with-some-bright-spots.html

Want to predict the future? Ask Mikey what's going to happen. You can rely on him being 120 percent wrong. I guess there's something to be said for consistency...

RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 2/9/2009 9:39:16 AM # Q
Sigh. One little virgule.

Ryan, put me down as "hates that you can't edit postings here".

RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 2/9/2009 9:46:52 AM # Q
And HOW MANY devices is that Abcess OS on now?

ABCESS: The OS You Can't Haz.

Yeah, great marketing that! Or how about:

ABCESS: Iz Sikrit OS.

Hey, if 2008 didn't kill you off, 2009 is *sure* to exterminate you pests.

RE: Pirates
SeldomVisitor @ 2/9/2009 10:15:13 AM # Q
> And HOW MANY devices is that Abcess OS on now?...

One more than webos' underlying whatever-it-is?

- http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/online/news/sony_dsc_g3_camera_has_wi_fi_and_linux

Unlike WebOS - source is available already!

RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 2/9/2009 3:55:56 PM # Q
/ignore

RE: Pirates
akalefty @ 2/9/2009 5:40:04 PM # Q
Hey, if 2008 didn't kill you off, 2009 is *sure* to exterminate you pests.

Hey, good news for me! Looks like we're going to be rolling in dough at the end of the year!

Hey, speaking of dough, did you ever drum up enough cash to get your own iPhone, or are you still leaving puddles of saliva on other people's...? Go console yourself with some microwave pizza, chunky.


RE: Pirates
mikecane @ 2/9/2009 6:22:05 PM # Q
Chunky? You're slipping.

So far not a peep about Abcess devices from upcoming MWC. How odd that Samsung went with - excuse the gag reflex (gag as in choke, not as in ha-ha) - Symbian.

If you're going to be rolling in dough, it's only because with all your spare time you've hacked a lottery system somewhere.

Reply to this comment

Single-handed touch

mikecane @ 1/21/2009 5:05:50 PM # Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBxQkgHWvmE

Poor video. Also links to a website where I guess there might be a better one.

Reply to this comment

Copy & Paste

pascanu @ 1/22/2009 1:32:15 AM # Q
So they have patented gestures for copy, cut & paste (see the drawings at tinyurl.com/aw9ypb) but they don't have a clue about how to actualy use them.

Handspring Visor -> m505 -> Zire71 -> Zire72 -> Treo650
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Software is the key, eh?

freakout @ 1/22/2009 4:13:42 AM # Q
Software is the key ingredient, and we believe that we are years ahead of our competitors. Having different screen sizes, different input methods, and different hardware makes things difficult for developers.

Ha! Funny to read that, especially in light of Beersie's latest thoughts on just what webOS might mean for the desktop:

http://www.pikesoft.com/blog/index.php?itemid=214

...Palm has put themselves in an astonishing strategic position that I'm surprised no one is talking about. By building a system using de facto cross-platform standards like JavaScript, WebKit, Java and Jetty, Palm has made a great platform for creating companion applications that can run on any desktop—Windows, Mac, or Linux—leveraging the same code that runs on the handset. You won't see Apple being able to deliver iPhone applications to the desktop like that any time soon, at least not for the 90% of personal computer users that don't own Macs....

...The unfolding UI concept would be the key to making application screens that stack on the phone to display side-by-side in the familiar "master-detail" layout seen in applications like the original Palm Desktop and Microsoft Outlook. I blogged some thoughts about this idea way back in Sept 2005 in one of my very first posts, complete with a lame mock-up to illustrate. It's simple, really. Many, if not most mobile applications provide a "master" or "list" view of the data from which the user selects an item and then navigates to a screen that displays the details of the selected item with additional options for manipulating it. If these master and detail screens (or "cards" as Palm now seems to like calling them) are identified as having this relationship in the code by using an API that binds the selection in the master view to what is displayed in the detail view, all it takes to spread the stacked cards across a larger surface so they are viewable side-by-side is a little CSS. Making a desktop version of a webOS application might involve no additional coding at all, just some care to follow certain design guidelines.

In other (less brainy) words: Palm's web-based app approach will possibly allow them to port webOS "layers" on top on whatever they damn well please, and apps should port from Pre to desktop to Foleo-2 to whatever with little effort. webOS developers could potentially target a whole range of hardware in one shot.

You're "years ahead", Apple? Seems we're going to see that claim put to the test.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 -> Treo 650 -> Treo 680 -> Centro

RE: Software is the key, eh?
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 11:34:32 AM # Q
I went and read his entire post. And *there* is some of the reasons why I've been seeing Pre as something Totally Different. Why my first instinct was to cry "iPhone web apps!" but then I stepped back and had to say, "Hm, wait a minute!"

It also now gives some credence to what Ed Colligan stated at the intro but what made me gasp at as hubris and/or stupidity: That webOS would drive Palm for the next decade.

And what Beers has forgotten: the *entire OS* is by Palm, from scratch. They don't have to offer no frikkin desktop application/layer. They can take over the *entire desktop* - OS and all. Won't all those Linux people smile!

RE: Software is the key, eh?
freakout @ 1/22/2009 6:27:24 PM # Q
They *could* release their own Linux OS, but would they *want* to? If they just release desktop layers, they don't have to worry about all the headaches of being in the PC OS business. which I imagine would be many...
RE: Software is the key, eh?
mikecane @ 1/23/2009 7:04:49 AM # Q
Yes, that's most likely the way to do it. I left out the SO bit in the post on my blog. I figure Beers is the expert with that stuff. I just hope HE will do some Preware!

RE: Software is the key, eh?
mikecane @ 1/23/2009 7:05:37 AM # Q
*Obviously OS. First post of the day. Oy.

Reply to this comment

Apple is all BS

happyPalm @ 1/22/2009 11:39:20 AM # Q
did not Palm come up with the Pilot in 90's that have touch screen? The only thing apple has is the multi-touch.

They are scared. Rotten Apples.

RE: Apple is all BS
mikecane @ 1/22/2009 12:09:33 PM # Q
>>>did not Palm come up with the Pilot in 90's that have touch screen?

Not.

http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=3129

>>>In June 1992, [Jeff Hawkins] met future partner Donna Dubinsky for the first time and this is part of what transpired:

>>>To give her an idea of Palm's direction, Hawkins pulled out his Sony palmtop - a handheld computer that was only sold in Japan. About the size of a Walkman, it had a pen and a graphic interface; even in Japanese, it was easier to navigate than any current U.S. electronic organizers. It gave her the same tingle of excitement that she'd felt 12 years earlier at Dan Bricklin's demo of VisiCalc. "That's it!" she told Hawkins. "That's the next generation of computing. I'm sure of it!"

http://homepage3.nifty.com/Denemon/infocary.htm

RE: Apple is all BS
vorlon @ 1/22/2009 12:09:51 PM # Q
Apple did have stylus gestures in Newton, but the ringer switch and some phone & sms features are from Treos.

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