Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

Summary: Apple's "suggestions" to Samsung on how to avoid infringing its iPhone and iPad intellectual property design claims show just how idiotic its over-reaching claims really are.


Apple and Dunder Mifflin-Sabre agree that the pyramid makes a fine, legal tablet design.

Apple and Dunder Mifflin-Sabre agree that the pyramid makes a fine, legal tablet design.

I've been poking fun at Apple's intellectual property design claims for some time now. Then, I got a look at Apple's “suggestions” on how Samsung could avoid Apple's legal wrath and I realized I hadn't even scratched the surface of how absurd Apple's claims are.

In a recently revealed Apple court document (PDF) we see an Apple-paid expert witness explaining why Apple's designs should be protected under intellectual property law and how Samsung could have avoided Apple's unique design decisions.

On the iPhone side, these include:

    Front surface that isn't black. Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners. Display screens that aren't centered on the front face and have substantial lateral borders. Non-horizontal speaker slots. Front surfaces with substantial adornment. No front bezel.

For the iPad, Apple's expert presented a nearly identical list of other possible designs:

    Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners. Thick frames rather than a thin rim around the front surface. Front surface that isn't entirely flat. Profiles that aren't thin.

To all of these suggestions, I can only say, “Seriously?” Black? No smartphones except iPhones can have black on their fronts!? Only iPads can have thin rims? ” But, the one that really got my attention was that crack about the overall shape of both smartphones and tablets not needing to be rectangular.

Apple iPad design - it’s been done before (images)

I guess Apple has a point. After all, that great design genius of The Office, Dwight Schrute, came up with Dunder Mifflin-Sabre’s new tablet, The Pyramid. So why can't other tablet design ideas work? Like say the circle! The square!

To anyone with two functioning brain cells and opposable thumbs, it's clear that a rectangle is the best and obvious shape for a phone or a tablet. It would be funny if this was just a joke on The Office. It's not. This is exactly the kind of design idiocy that Apple is using to keep rival smartphones and tablets off the market in its worldwide attack on Samsung. Software patent laws were bad enough. Now simple, common design elements are being used as bludgeons in the 21st century intellectual property legal wars. I'm beginning to seriously wonder how any non-multi-billion dollar companies will be able to get any product out on the market in the years to come.

If Apple has its way, not only oranges, but any fruit-shaped or fruit-colored objects would be kept from competing with apples.

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Topics: Laptops, Apple, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Legal, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

    As rediculous as you think it is and yet Samsung is the only manufacturer whose own people can't distinguish their product from Apple's. Apple isn't suggesting that they change everything on that list, just one thing would have made it different but no, Samsung copied the design of the tablet, plug, box, marketing and even the "smart cover" (which they didn't even bother to rename).
    • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

      Lawyers who probably don't use either can't distinguish from a distance. Can your grandma?
      • That is besides the point; Samsung should have more dignity than behaving

        @gbrowerjr: ... as Chinese no name manufacturer of forged products.

        Samsung had their own tablet designs before iPad was released -- these devices with shaped gray plastic bezel that looked nothing like iPad.
      • There was also some photoshopping...

        I don't know if it was this particular case, but I read from news some ago that Apple had photoshopped images to use in court so that the devices look even more alike. Dirty, no?
    • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

      @jmiller1978 I gOT news for you, Blackberry has been using a smart cover design for years on their phones!

      As for rectangular shape, that is exactly what Tablet PC's had as well and nobody ever stopped them from being black!

      The only thing I can honestly see any basis in is the proprietary connector but even that isn't unique to Apple!
    • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

      @jmiller1978 The word SAMSUNG on the front, in big silver letters should be the giveaway... :-S
      • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

        @wright_is If that is the case then how come Samsung's lawyers could not positively identify the Samsung Tab 10 when held int he air next to an iPad?
      • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

        @Pete that always puzzled me, maybe they had their reading glasses on and couldn't see that far?

        Given that the iPad is 4:3 format and the Galaxy 16:9 and doesn't have a hardware button, it seems baffling, that they couldn't tell the difference! I guess that the lawyers were so dumb, that they'd never even looked at their client's own product, let alone the oppositions product before they entered the courtroom...
    • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

      Let's see...

      design of the tablet: Apparently not every court agree that square slab is Apple's patent. Just ask the Dutch court.

      Plug: The cable plug is based on PDMI design. It's an ISO/ANSI standard. Check it out. Don't tell me the power plug can't be small and squary, that would be the same arguement of this article had made.

      Box: If you want to squeeze as many units as possible in a shipping container, that would be the box design that eventually come up with. It's just natual logistic evolution. Debating something like this with someone who believe Apple invented everything would be like debating the Intelligent Design.

      Marketing: I don't think Samsung ever caught up with this.

      "Smart Cover": You meant Apple didn't also rip off Smart Cover from InCase's "Convertible Magazine Jacket"?
      Xerox must be turning in it's grave.
  • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

    Apple can go f**k themselves until they start manufacturing stateside and paying their taxes. The iPhone alone could probably have brought back our economy.
    • They pay taxes, as do their employees.

      @ebfarris Apple already has a huge corporate presence stateside.

      If they are taking advantage of loopholes, then your complaint is with the govt as they created the loopholes.
    • Reality check

      Will you say the same for:
      Barnes and Noble
      The companies in this list are all U.S. companies manufacturing through Foxconn, the same contractor Apple uses. The list of total clients for Foxconn is huge, international, and includes most companies that design and sell products with Integrated Circuit Baords.

      Or are you just railing against Apple because you have some issue with them?
      • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

        Oops, double post due to lag. My apologies
      • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions


        Ironically, it is Samsung that invest $12 Billion dollars into the USA to date, brings permanent high-tech, high-salary jobs to NY and Austin TX. Plus the peripheral boost to local economy economy in terms of utilities + taxes paid.

        Source: Google [b]samsung invest austin tx ny[/b]
        and another facility in Austin in 1996. In total, Samsung has invested about $5.6 billion in the Austin location ??? by far the largest foreign investment in Texas and one of the largest single foreign investments in the United States. The new investment will bring the total Samsung investment in Austin to more than $9 billion.[16][/quote]

        Now what's wrong with this picture? Why should a Korean company invest into the USA, whereas US companies invest elsewhere, but the USA?

        I say kudos to Samsung! Shame on Apple!

        Good sense about trivialities is better than nonsense about things that matter.
        ~ Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm[/i]
      • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

        And I am also glad for any investment in the United States. Most of their manufacturing work occurs outside of the U.S. though so it's not like this is a panacea. The Samsung plant that (currently) produces products for Apple is in Asia, for example.

        Let's not overlook the fact that, like all U.S. Companies, Apple also adds value to the U.S. economy. Their technical and design work is all done in California. They have a few hundred retail outlets in the U.S. The sales from their website are U.S. profit centers. Virtually all of Apple's support infrastructure is located in the U.S. Advertising is done through a U.S. firm. In this way they are much like your beloved Microsoft, or Dell, or HP.

        I am delighted to find out that Samsung has a facility in the U.S. but they also own (per your link)
        a German camera maker
        a Swiss watch maker (Rollei, which inspired a similar battle with Rolex - it seems Samsung has a history of trade dress issues) and a Dutch aircraft manufacturer.

        Also, they bought a California research firm that they weren't able to keep open.

        This is what it means to live in a World Economy. It's not a matter of a Korean conglomerate (Samsung is a conglomerate, not a single company for decades now) investing where an American company won't. It's a matter of a Korean conglomerate placing a small portion of their overall corporate activities in the U.S. and an American company placing one of many of it's significantly more limited activities overseas.

        Welcome to the 21st Century. Enjoy your stay.
  • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions


    Except using your analogy - The original Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols was also copying from other peoples articles that were around years before & then claiming his as the original because hes the popular mainstream writer.
  • Question - Why?

    Why would anyone want to copy any of SJVN's work?
    It's not original.
    It's not inventive.
    It's designed to inflame.
    It's of poor quality.
    It lacks substance.
    It barely qualifies as a blog
    It's inacurate.

    Yes, he owns the IP (copyrights) to his so-called work,
    but much like Android, no one wants to copy it. It's already second rate.
    • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

      @Cynical99 <br>And his work draws trolls like Cynical99 to the comment section.
    • Second Rate

      I suspect you are talking about the second rate comment as much as anything else.

      Have you actually compared, side by side, Android to Apple? I doubt it. I bought an Android, foolishly believing the hype that it's ready for prime time, and then brought the IT department iPad home for a week.

      There is no comparison. Apple wins hands down. Android, still very rough around the edges.

      Steven starts all articles inaccurately by assuming Android and Apple systems are equal, and that Apple did not invent anything. Android did not copy anything. Both assumptions are incorrect.

      Starting from a foundation if lies, Steven then fabricates articles, himself copying from other "news" sources without checking accuracy.

      A journalist he is not, a researcher he is not.

      CW finally had enough of the inflammatory rhetoric and seems to have separated him from their staff, while ZDnet allows him to continue.

      By the way, you can always tell when Steven feels lonely and wants hits on this site to go up. He concocts an article like this, designed to get those all necessary hits. Truth is always a casualty in his world, after all, he never let the facts get in the way of a good, inflammatory article to drive the hit counts up.
  • RE: Apple and Oranges: Apple's tablet design suggestions

    ... You analogy is seriously flawed. What you described would be like samsung copying iOS code and passing it off as their own.