Lessons Learned: The IPhone’s Fifth Anniversary and Apple’s Injunction Against Samsung

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Yesterday (June 29) marked the fifth anniversary since the iPhone first emerged in the world market. It was a thing of beauty, a device unsurpassed in its novelty. No one could rival it then, and every mobile phone company is bent on rivaling the device now. This is not just the case with the iPhone, but also the iPad, iPod Touch, and MacBook Pro. It all happened because of the vision of then-CEO Steve Jobs and the ingenuity of Sir Jony Ive, who designed the three most-beloved Apple products (iPod, iPad, and iPhone).


Bloggers in the blogosphere spent yesterday looking back over Apple’s actions in the last five years, noting platform updates, Siri integration, and other functions that have made the user interface easy to use and convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle. Where would the world be without Apple? I shudder to think. I have written some posts lately that have attacked the company’s “fib” tactics and pious statements that do nothing more than delude consumers into purchasing products that will last for less than two years (by the end of the extended warranty, Apple will create a new version of the same product and the new version will be the ultimate product); however, I want it to be known that Apple has been a pioneer in the smartphone industry. The world is a more convenient place to live because of Steve Jobs and his work. If you ever think he was incompetent, do some research and find out more about his life. Any person that quits college and starts a company out of his or her home basement is nothing short of a genius!


At the same time, I think the fifth anniversary of the iPhone and the celebration of Apple’s achievements are made “sour” by the new injunction Apple has won (initially) against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Yesterday, Apple won its second injunction of the week against Samsung, a ruling handed down by Judge Lucy Koh in a California courtroom. Earlier in the week, Apple won an injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Samsung’s “iPad” rival. The Galaxy Tab was said to infringe on copyright patents that belong to Apple. A few days later, Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was said to infringe on copyright patents that belong to Apple, patents that included functions such as “slide-to-lock” and the overall user interface (word suggestions on the user touchscreen). Keep in mind, however, that the injunction against the Galaxy Nexus is a “preliminary” one—that is, the injunction is not yet final. Another court meeting will be held to determine whether the injunction should be a final one or not. Matt Macari suggests that it has been hard (historically) for electronics companies to sue others behind basic user functions, so there is little optimism that Apple will stomp Samsung’s Nexus in the end.


I am not addressing the truth or falsity of Apple’s claims against Samsung. That is not the goal of this post. Rather, this post is concerned with addressing Apple in light of its achievements on how to respond to Samsung and the current injunction. Apple has a history worth celebrating, a five-year period to reflect on and enjoy. The Cupertino, California company has changed the way we live our lives on a daily basis. We no longer work as hard as we once did because smartphones (the iPhone, in particular) has made it easy to work hard. Where would the smartphone market be were it not for Apple? Where would smartphones be today if Apple was never allowed the right to compete in the phone market, if smartphones were banned simply because Apple’s competitors feared that they would go out of business on account of Apple’s new device?


You may ask me, “Are you saying that you believe Apple is jealous of its competitor, Samsung?” Unfortunately, I would have to answer “yes” to this question. I think that, while Apple claims that copyright infringement is the justification for its injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, I would have to disagree. I do not think that Apple cares about these things; rather, I see this as nothing more than a ploy to “pop” the balloon of the Android camp and maintain the status quo, with Apple remaining the top smartphone in America.


If you do not believe me, look at the issues for which Apple pressed for an injunction: slide-to-unlock, word suggestions, and voice functionality. By suing, Apple claims that Samsung’s integration of these into its own smartphone line is a form of stealing ideas that belong to Apple. Read Apple’s response to Judge Koh’s decision:


“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas” (http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/29/3126934/apple-samsung-judge-bans-galaxy-nexus).


While Apple claims that the hardware shape and packaging are Apple originals, the company only sued Samsung for its copyright infringement of the user interface and voice functionality.


By providing the above statement, Apple wants Samsung to know that voice functionality and the user interface design for which Apple is known cannot be copied and placed into a new device by another company. However, would you be surprised to learn that voice functionality itself is not unique to Apple?


According to Android Authority, voice recognition and function are not new to smartphones; rather, voice recognition was first invented in the 1950s. The first device was named “The Audrey”; the second, “Big Blue,” and the third was named “Harpy.” A number of companies adopted speech recognition in their devices back in the 1990s. In 2008, Google emerged with its own “Google Voice Search app” that allows you to speak and command a search for a specific term, place, person, name, and so on. What many do not know is that Google emerged with voice recognition programs some years before Apple emerged with “Siri” in 2011. If anyone has a right to sue, it is Google. While Apple does provide its own uniqueness to the iPhone 4s assistant, it takes the work of Google in its own voice app and develops it further. Siri is not completely new to technology, nor is she the one-hundred percent original creation of the Cupertino, California company. Once you realize this, you can understand why the company’s injunction against the Galaxy Nexus is such a “sore-loser” move.


Apple needs to look at its success (due to healthy competition) and allow such competition from others, who may (as Apple has done) take a concept or feature and build upon it. Competition is never a bad thing. Information on iPhone 3GS jailbreak will be provided in future posts.

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