Get Over It… Apple Doesn’t have a Patent on Shiny.

A friend posted a link to a rather trollish “article” about how the Android UI is a copy of the iPhone UI, this is probably sparked by the recent Apple lawsuit against Samsung, I’ll agree that Samsung’s custom UI is similar to Apple’s but to be honest there is only so much you can do with a mobile interface. Here is the image that forms the main content of the article:

They both have a grid layout, that seems to be the main similarity in the UI, I’m not sure what the issue is here… A grid UI is a fairly common layout for icons in both mobile and desktop operating systems.

The original Apple Newton used one:

Comparison between Newton OS UI and iOS UI

The Palm Pilot used one:

There is a reason for this, people have fingers and a natural method of arranging things that people are going to interact with with those fingers is a grid, even pre-PDA we were using grid layouts for things that people had to touch:

So yeah, grid layouts, they are fairly old, get over it. The mobile UI design industry is also very incestuous, for example Palm has poached designers from Apple who have subsequently been re-poached back to Apple, Google have also poached Palm employees and I’m sure more of that happens all the time.

As for the Spring board at the bottom, that’s a Samsung thing not an Android feature, it’s not in stock Android though it does feature in a few of the custom skins available for Android, but to be honest it’s not dissimilar from any other shortcut bar/menu out there, it’s hardly innovative. In fact it’s very similar to a task bar with shortcut icons in it which apparently dates back to Arthur on the Acorn released in 1989.

The Springboard is just a shiner version of the the shortcut bar at the bottom of that page, so unless apple has a patent on making things shiny, I’m not entirely sure where they are going with this…

As an addendum here is an article which compares the Symbian UI to a whole bunch of other UI’s all of which use a grid layout…

4 thoughts on “Get Over It… Apple Doesn’t have a Patent on Shiny.”

  1. Ok, I agree, that was a bit of a trollish article and was indeed brought about by the Apple/Samsung news story today. I only posted that particular article because it had that ridiculous Samsung handset that looked *almost* identical to the iPhone 3G/S and I have always hated. I realise the article slants on Android, which wasn’t why I posted it. The dig at Samsung however is very deserved.

    I happen to think the HTC Android phones are very nice and whilst clearly influenced by Apple, I don’t that should ever be a criticism. Without the Beatles, a lot of brilliant, but clearly influenced music wouldn’t exist. Its the nature of creativity to be inspired by your peers and idols. Doesn’t mean that there is no creative thought or process in the final product. To directly copy however is shameful. If you directly copy something, the best you are likely to achieve is a second rate knock off.

    I do think Apple have led smartphones in a particular direction and the industry has clearly followed, but Android has plenty of differentiators. It’s not a case of Apple claiming a patent on shiny which makes you sound a bit of an Android fanboy now.

    Samsung phones are ridiculous copies, I’m more shocked that this is even in dispute. The ‘vibrant’ here – http://bit.ly/9ZV68G is another example with the chrome edge detail.

    Personally I think iOS and Android are more like the Beatles and Stones and both can be admired with preference or without. Samsung however are more like Westlife: take a formula that is known to work, copy it, add nothing new, but ultimately will appeal to some….

  2. Have you seen Samsung’s universal remote control too? – http://engt.co/g9qGsQ

    What is interesting about the lawsuit is that Apple invested a rumoured $5.7 billion in Samsung parts last year making the Samsung’s second biggest client after Sony! :)

  3. I’ll admit I’m a little bit of an Android fan-boy, in general I dislike the whole fan-boy culture, the way that people seem to think that one company can do no wrong and that everything any else does is a pale imitation of their work really irks me.

    It’s something that seems to happen an awful lot with to Apple and Nintendo in particular.

    I’d like to think I’m usually gadget agnostic, I’d happily buy an Apple product if it did what I wanted, and I could afford it, however often with Apple the products only tick one of those two boxes. I do have a history with Apple, I was an Apple fanatic for years (1984 to 1998 I think) I’m even considering a return to the Dark Side in the form of an iPad 2 and might even switch to an iPhone 5 when it’s released just so I can see what all the fuss is about.

  4. I’m with you Omar, I actually hate fan-boy culture too. I just happen to be an Apple fan, which leaves me open to fan-boy criticism on a regular basis. More often than not, I just prefer the products, the polish and attention to detail they put in the hardware AND the software. For me, their products are more pleasant to use and make my life easier (whether it be graphics, music or general media consumption).

    I’m not however of the opinion that they do no wrong or that no-one can compete. I own a kindle (better for reading books than the iPad, but not tech documents, magazines or pdf’s etc), and a google apps account which I use exclusively for all of my calendar, mail and contacts OTA sync. I even think Windows 7 is a decent OS experience and was also tempted with an Android handset at my last renewal. I buy what I feel is best for each scenario I need it.

    I don’t love Apple. I love good technology.

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