The Macalope Daily: Watching the fireworks

Apple took the 4th of July weekend to declare its independence—not from the tyranny of taxation without representation, or even the tyranny of high mattress prices, but from the tyranny of Samsung copying all its devices.

As FOSS Patents reports, Apple asked the court for an injunction against the sale of the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S. It’s just like the Boston Tea Party! Except with boxes of iPhone and iPad knock-offs instead of tea!

If Apple’s motion is granted, Samsung will be forced within a matter of a few months—possibly less than two months—to take its flagship Android-based products from the U.S. market.

The hard thing about this issue for the Macalope is that most modern smartphones look like the iPhone to him: They all feature a touchscreen, an icon-driven interface, and a minimal number of physical buttons. The Macalope doesn’t know if Apple invented that but, once again, it was the one to popularize it. Remember all the people who said no one would want a phone without a physical keyboard? Surely those people have all dropped out of technology punditry from the sheer shame.

Cough.

But take a look at Samsung’s Infuse 4G and the similarity is rather striking, down to the first three apps in the dock; not only are they the same, but they’re also in the exact same order. A four-by-four grid of apps with a status bar at the top showing signal strength and time…phew. Samsung’s big differentiator seems to be having put the dots indicating the number of pages at the top of the screen instead of the bottom. Inovatiriffic.

Samsung apparently read John C. Dvorak’s classic piece of March 2007, in which he sagely noted the iPhone was going to be a failure and that Apple should farm the iPhone out to…Samsung. This may be far-fetched, but it’s possible Samsung is laboring under the misapprehension that this is actually what’s happening, possibly as the result of prolonged exposure to a hallucinogen such as mescaline or peyote. The Macalope’s just trying to think of a charitable explanation and that would explain a lot.

For its part, Samsung has dropped its U.S. patent suit against Apple “to streamline the legal proceedings.” Despite the dapper suit he wears when writing for Macworld (the rest of the time he runs naked as the day he was born), the Macalope’s not a lawyer. But you don’t have to be Clarence Darrow to recognize that “We’re gonna drop our offensive game and go entirely defense” is not exactly a “power move” on Samsung’s part.

The horny one’s not a big fan of these patent suits, but Samsung really seems to have crossed the line between homage and theft. Plus, the resulting fireworks should provoke the kind of silly punditry that makes his job a lot easier, so there’s that.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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