At this rate, there won’t be a tablet market, just an iPad market


The future of the hot tablet market is starting to remind me of a famous Henry Ford quote. In his autobiography, he said this of the Model T automobile: “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” What a does a 90-year old quote have to do with today’s tablets? Due to lawsuits and alleged patent infringements, it’s beginning to look like tablet buyers will be able to buy any tablet they want, so long as it is Apple’s iPad(s aapl).

Yesterday saw a huge blow to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 slate, arguably the Google Android (s goog) tablet best suited to do battle with Apple’s iPad for sales. A German court ordered a preliminary injunction to stop all sales and marketing of Samsung’s tablet, which was the flagship device shown off at Google’s I/O developer conference in May. The injunction doesn’t just impact Samsung in Germany, however. It applies to all EU member countries, save the Netherlands, which effectively halts Samsung’s sales across nearly all of the European continent. This follows an agreement last week between Apple and Samsung to hold up the Galaxy Tab for sale in Australia as the two companies work out their differences.

A new day brings a new target as Florian Mueller of the FOSS Patents blog today noticed that Motorola’s Xoom tablet has also been named in a similar court complaint by Apple. No court action has yet been taken against Motorola as of yet, but Mueller, a long-time patent analyst, suspects Apple will or has asked for an EU-wide injunction against Motorola (s mmi). I’m not sure that Apple has as much to gain with such action though; Motorola said it shipped just 440,000 Xoom tablets in the second quarter of this year, while Apple reported 9.25 million iPad sold in the same time period. Then again, the Xoom hasn’t yet launched in all of Europe. Motorola’s tablet just launched in Spain at the end of July, for example.

While nobody but Apple knows which and how many tablets the iPad-maker will bring legal action against, the situation is concerning. On the one hand, I fully respect Apple’s desire and obligation to protect its intellectual property. On the other hand, the extreme case of having only one tablet choice on store shelves isn’t ideal either. I’ve used tablets that run on all of the major platforms now — BlackBerry/QNX(s rimm), webOS(s hpq), Android Honeycomb and iOS. Each device and platform has something to like, allowing for both consumers and businesses to choose the tablet that best meets their needs.

Most worrisome to me is that Apple doesn’t appear to be patenting the iPad itself, but instead is, in a loose sense, patenting an entire class or market of devices. Apple couldn’t effectively do this with the MP3 market and the iPod because it wasn’t the first entrant to that market. Apple improved upon the existing field of digital audio players with a solid user experience tied it to an effective ecosystem. Contrast that with the iPad, which essentially created a viable consumer tablet market. No, the iPad wasn’t the first tablet by a long shot, but it was the first to attract worldwide sales in significant numbers. The iPad contributed $6 billion in revenues for Apple in the last quarter; higher than the $5 billion earned by Mac computers.

To say that the iPad is, and will be, a key driver for Apple’s continued growth, is fairly obvious. Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing strong legal activity in the tablet market right now, as Apple will surely protect its new mobile cash cow. Again, I’m sympathetic to that need. But let’s face it, trying to differentiate the look and feel of a rectangular display with a bezel and internal smartphone components is pretty hard to do, if not impossible. Think of it this way: What if a computer maker had patented the general design of a laptop?



imho Martin is a moron that just dont know shit but still tries to have a very strong opinion. What kind of mental problems could have lead to that level of animosity and agresive atitude?, I dont know, but when I hear that kind of approach (if you dont agree with my tastes then you are a moron, if you like Apple products then you are a moron) I recognize a moron. Anything beyond a very basic level, people have diferent needs and tastes, just because tou like something does not make it be the right choice for everyone.


This is exactly where the “puck is now” to use a Stevenym. The bigger question is where does Apple want the puck to be? Does Apple prefer ever increasing profits and cash reserves OR does Apple still want to offer you and I “The Power to be our Best”? I am worried more and more about being trapped inside a walled apple orchard where there are no flowers, no berries, no vegetables, only apples. In short are Apple still sticking it to the man (IBM)? or are they THE MAN?


lol apple ipad is junk compared to galaxy tab…on top of that apple is so easy to hack and access it is rediculous. Linux adroid is the future.

Kobe Wild

it’s a pad.. a touch screen monitor with a computer inside it.
no copy.. if your going to build a pad it’s going to look a given way. it’s what if you wanted to make a car. A car has 4 round wheels. Your not likely going to see a car with 3 1/2 square wheels.

John Harrington, Jr.

Apple’s prevalence in the tablet market presents IT executives with a tall order as far as managing enterprise devices. View this webinar recording to learn how to enable your employees to securely access corporate email, contacts, calendars and corporate data from their iPads:

Skyler Daché

They cannot patent the design of a tablet. They cannot patent the design of a laptop. They cannot patent the design of a car or lightbulb or anything. Patents and copyrights are antithetical to free markets everywhere and should be eliminated worldwide.


This reminded me of the talk by Johanna Blakley: Lessons from Fashion’s free culture. How you can’t actually copyright a look or design… but you can copyright a logo (hence all designers integrating their logo prominently in their wares… like LV)

Just an interesting aside to those who talk about look and feel and how they think Apple should be able to stop people from designing something similar…


Just over a Galaxy online from Asia and have it shipped to you. They’re cheaper than in the EU as well.

Manish Bansal

Samsung Tab is at least somewhat different from iPad but what about HP TouchPad? It’s identical to iPad, down to the last pixel (literally). In fact, David Pogue did a satire on this.


Apple leaking vessel heads. These comments are like Creationism vs Atheism. Apple run and supported like a cult, and the studies showing it affects the same parts of the brain as religion does. And we know how much logic is tied into silly religion. A syndrome where any outside belief that doesn’t match their closed belief system brainwashed by their ads and store church openings, is immediately set upon by Apple Zombies because it threatens too much.

Mauricio Jiménez

I’m a Mac user but won’t go for the ipad, there are better options out there.


I don’t understand how it is crazy to ask Samsung to come up with something a little less like the iPad. Take a look at the e-reader market. Hold a Kobo, a Nook, and a Kindle next to each other, each one is completely different from the other.

A galaxy tab looks like an ipad with slightly different corner radius. You have to be an idiot not to see the resemblance, and again, Apple was first to the punch, you can’t just copy them because you believe there is no other way. Somehow Barnes and Noble has figured out how to make the nook distinct from the Kindle, I’m pretty sure Samsung can come up with something.

This is far from being a monopoly, the fact is other companies have had a decade or more to come up with their own tablets, Apple does it, and suddenly EVERY TABLET looks like an iPad.

Nobody is innovating and people cry that lawsuits stifle innovation. Make a different product you nitwits!


It’s not that hard to differentiate. The other guys are just clone barfing. Look at e-readers for example, compare a kindle to a nook or a kobo, they’re all totally different. Don’t pretend that it’s soooo hard to come up with a new idea for a tablet form factor if barnes and noble can do it then samsung can do it.

Tom Tunguz

I agree with your conclusion but for different reasons. The initial selling point of the iPad is the design, which will soon become relatively commodified. Patents will be settled and the competition will move to content.

That’s why I believe it’s a race to acquire consumers. The average iOS user has spent $100 on content. Once a user spends that much on a content library, the odds they will switch to an alternative OS/content stack is very slim.

I outline the challenges facing Android tablets and the reasons Android tablets will have a much harder time acquiring share than Android mobile phones did here:


The modern rules/laws are ludicrous. I begin seeing the ups in the (old; not modern) Chinese like attitude regarding patents. There is a huge gap between what we could agree as an invention or even better a discovery and the modern high-tech algorithms and whatnot patents.
The definition is just too wide and granular. I would rather return just to the “discovery” definition.

R. Jeffries

@The “Apple is an evil monopoly” fan boy’s. Isn’t you real upset the fact that you can’t buy a cheap ripoff of their Apple’s work if they are unwilling to be taken advantage of? ;-)

Here is a simple test to see where your really stand on this issue. You are in a work or school situation, where you work will be rewarded. Someone claims your work as their own and gets rewarded in your stead. Is that OK, even when those who benefit from proceeds of that theft want it to continue? Does the issue go away if the theft can starve you long enough that you die or simply go away?

I didn’t think so…

I have been hearing the mantra “Every Monopoly is Bad,” for since the 1970’s. It goes hand an hand with the idea that “unlimited deregulation is good.” In each decade since then you can find examples of how the stupid adherence to these “rules of thump” have damaged more that helped us.
Both of those mantra are just sound bite’s of what was really being taught in business theory. That monopolies could be useful or harmful to public and private markets and their customers. The same could be said for regulation and “limited-periods” of deregulation. Used as effective tool, we stand a good chance of managing our businesses and economies. But allowing simple blind faith and enslavement to a “rule of thumb” is barreling down the road to the cliff.

Coming back to “technology copying,” Steve Jobs said it simply in his closing keynote at 1997 WWDC conference. “I believe Apple’s innovation and intellectual property is worth something. To let clone makers skim off the top third of our profits with no return is not smart or sustainable.” (I am paraphrasing.) Apple did not so much kill off their clone market, as much as the cloners were too cheap to pay for what they gained.

And remember, the Windows Clone was originally called the IBM Spec Clone. IBM release those hardware specs for a generalize hardware personal computer, not for the “public good,” but to kill off the competition Personal Computers presented to their Corporate Computer market. Fortunately the market for personal computing was huge if unseen by that giant.

Google understands this, and has become a lumbering giant of it’s own creation. Their actions of the past few years are obviously driven by “zero sum” mentality. Their strategy in the personal device market appears to be “offer a copy of Apple’s or anyone’s successful design innovation for close to nothing.” This serves them by strangling competition even as they rob a market they could not and did not create.


The Patent that Apple is stopping shipments on is a Patent for a square device with a beveled edge. Which has clearly existed in the past. Who’s stealing from who didn’t apple steal the IPhone design from LG?

Aviral Mittal

Patent for square device and beveled edge are being talked about too much by the media only. And you seem to be one of the victims. The main patent suits are based on GUI and various other things. Square device and beveled edge are just to make the case stronger.

Lindsworth Horatio Deer

To the victor goes the spoils. Apple has ever right to taker action to protect her copyright and Intellectual property from copycats. Most of these companies are lazy Silicon Valley companies who trimmed training and cut R&D, literally living on Apple’s every rumour.

Now they are following Apple MacBook Air with Ultrabooks.

Everything Apple do them follow, especially as now Google android marketshare is in danger!!

Retribution for past foibles in which copycats Christmas past got away


Apple didn’t “invent” a lot of things just like Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. He didn’t even invent the assembly line – gunmakers were building guns like thatthe previous 60 years … what Henry Ford was invent the MASS MARKET automobile industry. He designed a car that was easy to build, did not blow up on you and sold it at a price the average person could afford, in fact, for a few years, the price actually dropped from year to year! Much like the Pc industry! The bottom line is that Apple figured out how to build an assemble a touchscreen smartphone and a touchscreen tablet that people wanted … most of these companies seem to have disaaembled an ipad and iphone and said “we can do that.” and set about building a lookalike AND based on an OS that Google readily admits is parts “stolen” from Java and the look & feel from IOS. just go back and look at the FIRST ANDROID OS (YouTube) demoed by Google – lo and behold after Eric Schmidt sits on Apple’s board, the Android OS is now squareish apps on a 4″ flat touchscreen – where ever did they get such an idea?

just go back to the when the iPhone wa introduced – basically 90% of the pundits said – consumers don;t like touchscreens, they don’t want to surf the net on smartphones, blah blah blah … WHY? Because it was crap before. Nokia held 65% of the market share and could NOT figure out how to create a touchscreen phone in 10 YEARS! RIM did not believe that the first iphone could hold a 5-hour charge – they thought it was IMPOSSIBLE until they cracked open an iphone. The manufacturers let the telcos set data rates that caused people to not want to use a smartphone – Apple made AT&T create an UNLIMITED PLAN while the rest of the mobile manufacturers just laid down. I’m not saying the patent laws don’t need fixing but if your business plan just involves lifting ALL of your competitors plans and UI? Really?

R. Jeffries

Copying may be what grows markets, but stealing others work is still stealing. If not, “cattle rustling” would be a dominate growth industry.

I agree with your perspective regarding Ford, and would like to expand on it. One of the criticism of Henry Ford was that he payed his workers too much. His response, “If I pay them well and they have disposable income, then they become customer!”

This is the heart of the US “working class.” Being compensated for your labor not at the “minimum wage going rate,” but as a function of “market value.” The profits from the market sales are always going somewhere. I believe it should be to those who did the work and taken the risks, not the one’s with the ability to copy and elbow out the competition.

Going back to the auto industry, General Motor’s is a conglomerate of once independent auto makers. Those individual auto makers could not compete with Ford in the 1930’s so they incorporated under General Motors. This made them a completive monopoly with the economics of scale on their side and they gained large market penetration.

By the 1950’s even that was not enough, so they copied Ford’s newest technology, the Over Head Valve V8 engine. To this they added lots of Madison Avenue powered marketing and sale techniques that are still legendary. That worked. By the 1970’s GM had dominated Ford in most markets, even ones they had created, such as the “Pony Car.”

With that dominance came every excuse for not improving safety, not innovating in emissions, fuel mileage or even style. So when people began buying foreign made auto’s they complained, but began including features customers demanded. When those foreign auto’s took large segments of their markets they got laws changed to sustain their profits. When even that eventually failed they got us, “the US citizen,” to bail them out. Now they are back to copying as fast as they can while building foreign manufactured cars under their brand. You can see where this is leading…

This example is relevant to the personal device industry and to many others. Copying may be a quick way to riches, but once those you copy find a way to cut you off, the ride is over.


Your comment about market value: why aren’t you asking Apple to compete on market value instead of supporting Apple’s lawsuits?

Your comment about GM dominating the auto market as a ‘completive monopoly’ and hence lowering the quality eventually: if being a monopoly is so bad, why are you supporting Apple’s efforts to be a monopoly in the tablet market?

Bottomline: there are only so many ways to build a car. Beyond the basic build of the car, manufacturers compete on quality and value. They don’t sue each other on the build of the car. Similarly, there are only so many ways to make a computer, a phone and a tablet. Beyond the basic build, manufacturers should compete on quality and value. Apple is instead suing the competitors on the basic build.


If Apple is so much better at making what ‘people wanted’ and if iPad is what people really want, why is Apple afraid of the Galaxy Tab? Why isn’t Apple competing on quality and value instead of using lawsuits to suppress competition? Is Apple afraid that the competitors might beat them by offering something of better quality and/or value?

Apple is afraid that the PC history will repeat again with phones and tablets. However, Apple refuses to learn the right lesson from the PC/Mac history. The lesson is not to suppress competition with lawsuits. This is not a sustainable strategy. The lesson is to beat the competition by offering something of better value. No external forces stopped Apple from beating Microsoft’s Windows. Apple did it all to themselves. Apple should not use external forces to try to suppress Google’s Android. Any such suppression will be short lived and temporary. In the end, when Android products are more prevalent than Apple products, the story will be the same: Apple would have done it all to themselves.

R. Jeffries

Ah grasshopper, you may find enlightenment in my other post. To put it simply, “if someone was stealing your work, taking credit for it, and cashing in, I doubt you would be encouraging such “competition.”


I dont have an opinion in favor or against Apple, but I find your arguments very unconvincingnbecause you are forgeting something very important, R&D costs. Apple is a company that may not always create new markets (most companies dont create even a single one), but when apple launches a product there is a lot os R&D involved that makes it more atractive to the public, more easy to use, intuitive and not just more beautiful to the eye. So to say that they have to compete in prices with the companies that copy them, even the aestetics, is just non sense. Is obvious you dont have any knowledge in market positioning, Apple products have had a quality, reliavility and aestetic that position them as premium products. To ask to renounce to it and compete in price in a market that is not mature (as any technological market) is just stupid.


There is more difference between the iPad and the Galaxy Tab than there is between a Sony LED flatscreen TV and a Samsung LED flatscreen TV. Should Sony and Samsung start suing each other? A Toyota car and a Honda car are more similar than the iPad and the Galaxy Tab. Should Toyota and Honda start suing each other? Seen in this light, the defenders of Apple on this thread are idiots.


Idiots? Not really. In Samsung’s case (the Europe injunction) it’s the totality of the copying. Sony & Samsung TVs aren’t shipped in almost identical packaging and other than the screens don’t even really look alike. Your analogy is a leaky vessel.


The strongest argument you could come up with to counter my comment was to point at packaging similarities between the iPad and Galaxy Tab? Really?

As for Sony & Samsung, my point still remains: there are more similarities between Sony TVs and Samsung TVs, than between an iPad and a Galaxy Tab. I challenge anybody to prove otherwise.

R. Jeffries

In school you wrote papers and so did your classmates. If your classmate’s paper was just a copy of your’s wouldn’t your be upset? Up the ante, you make your living on an assembly where you get payed by the pieces you assemble. You go to the bathroom and come back to find your finished pile is smaller than when you left and your coworkers stack suddenly bigger, even thought they are slower and less skilled than you. I am sure you wouldn’t be a crybaby in that situation…


Your analogy doesn’t hold up. At no point did Samsung steal Apple’s devices, and market them as their own O_O


Is that why you have appliances in your kitchen that were manufactured by the same company that invented them? Are all the TVs in your house Zenith branded? Sorry but your argument does not hold. Nobody stole anything from anyone. That said, I own a Galaxy S phone and I was thinking of getting a Tab 10.1 only because there is no touchwiz installed in it. The number one gripe I had with my phone the moment I turned it on was how hard it was trying to look like it was an iPhone. In that regard, I say fuck Samsung for trying to steal customers away from Apple by releasing a product that tries too hard to look like the leading competitor’s. In the case of the Tab, I really don’t see how Samsung is doing something wrong, when they’re shipping them with vanilla honeycomb.


Not disputing the spirit behind the analogies, but the analogies are not fair.

Samsung and Sony TVs are very different from each other – they have different UI concepts, different keys on the remote control and (check it out at a shop if you do not believe me), reproduce color/images very differently. The red on sony is different from the red on sammy (and there are a ton more of differences).

The car analogy is a lot more complex – you can always say that all cars are similar because all of them have round steering wheels, the same position/convention for gears, clutch, brakes, accelerator, positions of various buttons and knobs, even similar dash boards etc etc..But the car industry has a longer history and many things are considered “standard” by now. Also the car industry has it’s own minefield of IPs.

The only positive consideration going the Apple way here is: Does the innovator deserve a headstart..and for how long? Surely no one likes a monopoly, and competition should not be thwarted. But this cannot imply Apple (in this case) offers free lunch to it’s competition, already within a year of the innovation hitting the shops.


What’s so damn pathetic is that when Apple came out with the iPad, all those companies were laughing their heads off claiming that the iPad would be a massive failure and that consumers wouldn’t touch an iPad for $499 when they could get a Windows netbook for $250. Instead, the iPad became a huge financial success for Apple and consumers loved the product.

Now, these thieving wannabes strut around boasting that they can do anything better than Apple can for a cheaper price which is total BS. That reason alone is why these copycat companies should fail. They were both arrogant and blind and now they want to rip off Apple after Apple took the biggest risk by establishing a platform that for the most part never existed, exluding a few crappy Windows tablets that most consumers hated.

Most of these copycat companies just wait for Apple to put out a new product so they can photocopy it and start their own production and add on a few bells and whistles to say their product is far better because it has a couple of more features. That sort of stuff is just absolutely despicable.

You didn’t see Apple copying those idiots’ crappy Windows netbooks. Steve said that Windows netbooks sucked and he would do better than that and he did by designing the iPad and the MacBook Air. Even now, the copycats are ready to release their own MacBook Air-class ultrabooks after making fun of Apple’s MacBook Air over the last year or two.


I’m sorry, I don’t remember anyone laughing at Apple and saying the iPad was a toy and no one would buy it. What I do remember is people calling the iPad just a big iPhone with all its weaknesses and no real improvement… and that’s still true. Anyone that considers an iPad as a device to surf the web properly and use it as a media device is a blatant moron, mostly because it can do none of those things correctly. So is it a toy? Not really. Is it stupid? No, it’s just a product. Are the people that call it superior over the Tab 10.1 and Xoom morons? Yeah, pretty much. I like to own the things I buy, I don’t lease shit from anyone. The companies that “copy” stuff from apple and your example of the “ultrabooks” whateverthefuckthatmeans is just a response from the huge market of morons that apple is creating. I don’t mind that you use and like apple products, I don’t care that they’re successful, I don’t give two shits if you sell your iPad 2 and buy an iPad 3 this year; I just care when you pretend your product is superior when it’s only more aesthetically pleasing and does not deliver in any other aspect but maybe graphic responsiveness. Do you care to explain how come Apple is implementing a lot of “revolutionary” (the videos are quite amusing) features in iOS5 that have existed in the android world for years? Are they photocopying someone’s work? Fuck off with your flawed logic. You can’t improve anything without copying, otherwise you would only have one brand of everything. One brand of fridge, one brand of microwave, one brand of monitor. You have many options and pick the best, not the one that came first… if you do that then you would be stuck with a Zenith TV and a Motorola car radio. And something tells me you own neither.

Jon S

Please upload a picture of your beard – I bet it’s *marvelous*!


Martin, you seem to have gotten out of bed in a surly mood. I’m sure your mother wouldn’t approve of your language, or the way you disparage people who don’t agree with you.

Were there people who laughed at Apple when the iPad was announced and predicted that it would be a failure? Yes, many of them.

I own two iPads, which I use both for work and pleasure. But I wouldn’t buy a Tab 10.1 or a Xoom. Does that make me a moron, as you imply? Or a sycophantic Apple fanboi who doesn’t understand technical specifications or operating systems and and who hasn’t weighed the advantages and disadvantages of open versus curated sources of applications? I don’t think I’m a moron, nor would I call the many millions of people who have bought iPads morons. I have a sneaking feeling that I know a lot more about computers, programming and information science than you do, based on your comments.

An iPad isn’t “just'” a larger iPhone. People who use them recognize that they have different uses for them.

What the competitors of Apple who have offered their own versions of touch-screen tablets to the market place have failed to achieve is the value Apple adds to its own devices by integrating them into an “eco system” (I hate that term, but it’s appropriate) that now has a large base of applications and that promotes interoperability between Apple’s products and ease of use.

In reality, that makes the iPad much more than the sum of its parts, the the Tab 10.1 and Xoom much less than the sum of their parts. That’s the crucial distinction that means that Apple’s competitors face a steep climb to try to reach Apple’s position as King of the Mountain in the tablet marketplace.


Martin, you seem to have gotten out of bed in a surly mood. I’m sure your mother wouldn’t approve of your language, or the way you disparage people who don’t agree with you.

Were there people who laughed at Apple when the iPad was announced and predicted that it would be a failure? Yes, many of them.

I own two iPads, which I use both for work and pleasure. But I wouldn’t buy a Tab 10.1 or a Xoom. Does that make me a moron, as you imply? Or a sycophantic Apple fanboi who doesn’t understand technical specifications or operating systems and and who hasn’t weighed the advantages and disadvantages of open versus curated sources of applications? I don’t think I’m a moron, nor would I call the many millions of people who have bought iPads morons.

An iPad isn’t “just'” a larger iPhone. People who use them recognize that they have different uses for them.

What the competitors of Apple who have offered their own versions of touch-screen tablets to the market place have failed to achieve is the value Apple adds to its own devices by integrating them into an “eco system” (I hate that term, but it’s appropriate) that now has a large base of applications and that promotes interoperability between Apple’s products and ease of use.

In reality, that makes the iPad much more than the sum of its parts, the the Tab 10.1 and Xoom much less than the sum of their parts. That’s the crucial distinction that means that Apple’s competitors face a steep climb to try to reach Apple’s position as King of the Mountain in the tablet marketplace.


So the iPad is more than a larger iPhone? Can you explain how that’s the case? I don’t want to talk about the things it lacks, because everyone knows what it lacks and the main difference between iOS users and the rest of the world is that for the rest of the world those features actually matter. I want to know in what instance the iPad is a different device from the iPhone, besides not functioning as a phone. Maybe a better approach is to say the iPad is a larger iPod touch? And the thing you mention about the eco system, do we have to thank apple for the huge amount of applications in their market? Or do we thank developers for making creative use of apple’s restrictive platform? Do you even remember that the original iPhone did not have an appstore? I do. I had one and it was jailbroken so I could install applications in it.


For us much as I do not like these type of things I might come to see them as good things – maybe is me getting older. It is a double edge sword however. On one end it may motivate better innovation. On the other, it make slow down innovation.


Apple has a history of successfully protecting its IP; note the eMachines iMac knock off that essentially put them out of business when Apple won that suit. Also a long history of attempts to clone Macs. This is not new and Apple will continue to do whatever it takes to protect their IP. Like the iPod, Apple was not first to market with a tablet, just first to market with IP that is universally accepted by the masses. If history rings true, Apple will win here too. Anyone can make a tablet, but they can’t capitalize on years of R&D/IP that Apple invested in and make a knock off in a few months. It is not fair and Apple is willing to outspend their competitors in legal battles as much as they out-innovate them in the lab.


And let’s not forget that Jobs warned at the introduction that they were patenting everything. The competitors were forewarned that Apple wasn’t going to just stand on the sidelines when it came to their IP. You’d have thought the competition would have been a little more diligent in avoiding potential conflicts.


The problem with that is most of the other comanies had introduced upcoming “slates” or “tablets” before Apple ever introduced the iPad. Some as early as a year in advance, with great hype. Maybe Apple jumped on the bandwagon? No company should be able to patent or copyright something that existed prior to them manufacturing the device. The system is broken.


Problem is Samsung blatantly ripped off the iPad design, even the packaging. I’m all for competition, just don’t be lazy and try some innovation once and awhile. Apple has every right to protect the market they created through their own innovation.


Obviously the real problem for all of these companies is the fact that their products are always released “after” Apple’s. I think that’s the easiest description of Apple’s “competition” at the moment. Apple releases a product that every single company dismisses as a toy or irrelevant. Apple gains great success [iPod, iPhone, Mac (laptops) & iPad], gain massive profits & then the clones come out in each category. The difference is, against each Apple product individually, none of these companies have been able to compete. Now Apple will finish them off with lawsuits they can’t afford & products they can’t sell. It’s an interesting time for Apple right now, filled with unique opportunities.

Kevin C. Tofel

Actually, I think the iPod is a terrible example. There were dozens of digital audio players on the market before, during and after the iPod. Apple just refined the product to evolve it beyond what others were offering. Otherwise, I’m in general agreement with you. ;)


This is a strange conclusion:
“But let’s face it, trying to differentiate the look and feel of a rectangular display with a bezel and internal smartphone components is pretty hard to do, if not impossible. Think of it this way: What if a computer maker had patented the general design of a laptop?”

There have been tablets out before the iPad so obviously Apple can’t just stop tablets being made – they just can’t photocopy the iPad the way they’d like to. I think its also worth bearing in mind that no one except Apple saw this as a legitimate market segment – Bill Gates and Microsoft believed it wouldn’t touch netbooks. It’s the same with the iPhone… after decades, no mobile phone companies or software companies thought that the iPhone format without a keyboard or stylus would work.

When you walk into a phone shop today, its just glaringly obvious that everything else are just knock-offs of the iPhone. The same happened with Windows Vs Mac in the 80s but Apple didn’t manage to protect their IP. I’m glad they are getting some success protecting their IP because of the simple reason – they are the ones that innovate and give us amazing products and technology that we didn’t even think of. Competition is a good thing, but outright copycat and not rewarding the ingenuity does not help the consumer at the end of the day.


“Competition is a good thing, but outright copycat and not rewarding the ingenuity does not help the consumer at the end of the day.”
Correction: Competition actually helps the consumer, but hurts the monopoly. Without competition, consumers would be stuck with higher prices and only one product. Unless you are a large Apple shareholder, I don’t know why you would support such an act that would end up hurting consumers.

Kevin C. Tofel

Panny, you’re right; there have been tablets before the iPad although I wouldn’t consider any of the Tablet PCs (from 2001 on) with Windows to be in the same device category. I would, however, suggest that the Google Android powered Archos 5 / 7 media tablets came out before the iPad as they were introduced in Setember in 2009 ( I wouldn’t call them successful in terms of sales; largely due to Android not being mature enough at that time to offer a stellar experience, among other reasons. But the general look is a rectangular screen with black bezel, ARM processor and flash memory. And the tablets didn’t have access to the Android Market, so Archos had to offer its own app market. I’m not suggesting that the iPad is a copy of the Archos by any means, but there are obvious high level similarities. Should Archos try to get an injunction to keep Apple from selling iPads?


They may have popularized the touch screen based rectangular smartphone and they may have popularized the consumer tablet, but they invented neither. And that’s an important distinction. You don’t get granted a monopoly for making a popular product.

And they are not above either patent infringement or lifting ideas and designs. Just look at the notification center in iOS 5.

I think Steve Jobs and many fans of Apple feel resentment over Android specifically. They don’t like the fact that it is made by Google and that it draws attention away from Apple. They feel like Apple deserve to occupy this market by themselves.


Notifications – Who owns the prior art? – You say Apple copied, are you sure Google didn’t also? Apple has far more prior art snippets that Google considering history (AppleII, Mac, Next). Google not being in the software & OS business has virtually none.



You make some interesting points, although you are factually incorrect in several regards. Apple did NOT:
1. Invent the cell phone or smartphone.
2. Invent the tablet computer.
3. “Invent” the mac, or the iconic gui – they stole it from Xerox and commercialized it. For reference…

That said, I think the “spirit” of your argument has merit in that Apple seems to have built and patented innovative technology around media access, management, and consumption which previously had not existed. In this regard, Apple may have a case.

My $.02.



The Xerox PARC products were LICENSED by Apple with $100,000 in pre IPO Apple stock.

joost Ploegmakers

From this wikipedia page, it’s clear that Apple did not steal the GUI from Xerox:

“The first successful commercial GUI product was the Apple Macintosh, which was heavily inspired by PARC’s work; Xerox was allowed to buy pre-IPO stock from Apple, in exchange for engineer visits and an understanding that Apple would create a GUI product.”

So they AGREED that Apple would create a GUI. However, their agreement did not say anything about “Look & Feel”. For long this was not considered as copyrightable.
So when Apple sued Microsoft years later for stealing the look & feel of their GUI, XEROX wanted a piece of the action, so they sued Apple for the same thing. Xerox’ lawsuit was dismissed by the judge.

By the way the differences between Alto’s GUI and MacOS are huge compared to the difference between Windows and Mac.


you’re an apple tard. Windows VS Mac in the 80’s and didn’t protect their IP. Read about xerox parc and where Apple COPIED the idea of a first computers.

Brian Maurice

Well said! Let Apple reap the rewards of their investments in R&D – at least for a while. Copying != Competing. I just don’t get why so many on the internets continue to demand everything be free… bunch of mooching freetards. “But how can Apple patent something so OBVIOUS” – guess what, it wasn’t obvious until Apple made it so… let ’em milk it for a while!

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