Apple Loses Its Cool

The iMac G4 was the first major case redesign ...
Now that was cool

Happy Car Crash

Sorry things have been so quiet. I was a little more hurt in the accident than I realised. Showering the next day I noticed I could no longer reach my left shoulder. The rare post-collision arm shrinkage syndrome, apparently. Or my right shoulder was bruised and had stiffened up. From the seatbelt, I assume.

Fine today though. In fact there’s other good news; I had better insurance than I thought. It isn’t obvious from the policy document, but I was covered for a hire car to go car-shopping in. Funny how you really need a car to buy a car; makes you wonder how the first one ever got sold. And thanks to the old car’s low mileage we got more than we expected, so replacing it won’t be a serious problem. All’s well then, and other than the fact that I might easily have died it wasn’t a bad experience. As Nietzsche said, that which does not kill me lets me live longer.

This line is often quite badly translated.

There’s more good news too, but I think I’ll hold that in until I have the details all nailed down. It’s big, so I don’t want to dilute it with maybes and looks-likes. Let’s go instead to the regular news agenda.

So, Apple Versus Samsung Eh?

Something over nothing really. Well, a billion dollars. Almost nothing. As I’ve said before, it’s a slightly spiteful lawsuit on Apple’s part. They managed to get a US sales ban on some Samsung phones for looking like iPhones. But these laws against aesthetic imitation were written to outlaw counterfeit goods, which the Samsungs clearly were not.

This is a relatively small skirmish in Apple’s rearguard action against the rise of Android. A billion-dollar fine might seem exorbitant, but I suspect that the Koreans probably think it was money well spent. Making devices like the iPhone was just a stage in the process of showing they could make ones better than it. Now they’re the biggest phone company in the world, while Apple must settle for being merely the biggest company in the world.

There are no real losers here.

That though will be very much not the case if Apple win some more of their suits against Google and other smartphone makers over things like the pinch-to-zoom gesture. If Apple were allowed to prevent others from using such basic tropes it could devastate competition in the smartphone market, leaving consumers a choice between the iWay or the highway.

Yesterday at the IFA electronics expo in Berlin Samsung announced a slew of innovative products at least one and probably two of which I will buy, when I can afford them. Apple haven’t announced a product I was determined to own since the second-generation iMac. And I still can’t afford that. If the world’s most valuable corporation uses lawyers to stop me having things I want, I’ll…

I’ll be very annoyed.

5 thoughts on “Apple Loses Its Cool

  1. Apple is at the heart of the smartphone patent wars, and I’m guessing the tablet patent fight can’t be too different. That means they could lose at a given time just as they won now. They beat Samsung big in Europe with the tablet and in the US with the phones. In South Korea the courts brought them to a stalemate with paltry sums awarded to each side.

    An interesting thing is that Samsung are one of the companies who can best withstand the impact of Apple’s patent protection efforts. A company like Microsoft which is always playing catchup with Apple would have one device or less to match each Apple’s devices. Google are similarly starting with a small catalogue. But Samsung are coming at it from a TV and phone manufacturing background, and they believe in flooding the market with lots of products.

    Samsung’s strategy is like that of chocolate bar companies who know the key to big sales is to fill up the supermarket stands with their products. The more shelf space they use up the more sales they make. The US lawsuit doesn’t cover the Galaxy Note and the S3 so Samsung can still promote their leading devices.

    All Samsung need to do now is come up with a new S2 so that they have something to offer on cheaper phone plans, i.e. the mid-range market which Apple habitually ignores by pricing its products near the top of the range. Heck, even the Note is offered below S3 prices. The S2 was critical before when it was believed a phone bigger than an iPhone would be a clunky loser but we are now learning that is not the case and people will accept slightly or significantly bigger products because the larger screen sizes are appreciated. The S2 therefore can probably fall back and be a mid-range device. On to the next lawsuit.

  2. “Funny how you really need a car to buy a car; makes you wonder how the first one ever got sold.”

    Easy, they first got themselves a rental 😉

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