The Macalope Daily: Predictable

As sure as the sun rises every day we should expect John Dvorak to write bass-ackwards stuff about Apple.

“Why Apple Actually Lost to Samsung” (No link because of the obvious, but tip o’ the antlers to Atlas Cerise.)

Yeah, that’s not surprising.

While everyone is all crazy about Apple’s billion-dollar patent victory over Samsung, the psychological effect on consumers has been ignored.

Wow! Technology curmudgeon, Apple troll, and an armchair psychologist! What a Renaissance man.

Several times throughout the case, the same point was driven home: the Android phone is identical to, and perhaps better than, the iPhone.

Despite Dvorak’s protestations to the contrary, the Macalope has heard this argument already. Two questions show why he doesn’t find it particularly persuasive:

How many people really knew about this case? Of those people, how many can name even one complaint from the case?

Much of this case revolved around the fact that Samsung obviously copied certain icons already used by Apple.

From here Dvorak proceeds to try to reduce the entire case to an argument over the phone icon and the iPad’s rounded rectangular design. The Macalope has no idea why PC Magazine thinks this kind of reduction—ignoring the utility patents for rubber banding, tap to zoom, and one-finger scrolling versus two-finger—is of value to its readers, but let’s watch this ridiculous sleight of hand.

Locking itself to the Apple icon was arbitrary but it was Apple’s idea first. Nokia or Motorola should have patented the color green to indicate the dialer and red to indicate the disconnect button. Both companies would be in trouble, but why dwell on opportunities lost? Green and red stem from stop and go traffic signals, which are also arbitrary. Someone could have patented that and everyone would be in trouble.

Do you see how stupid the current patent system is? But I digress.

It’s hard to tell if Dvorak is deliberately dissembling in saying that this is all about the phone icon or if he just found the whole thing too hard to figure out and lazily decided to simplify it so he could bang out another Apple-bashing column.

We should also not rule out the possibility that it’s both.

But even the patents that cover the phone icon deal with more than that. They cover the entire screen of the iPhone. Apple may have a patent on the phone icon—the Macalope doesn’t know—but it did not assert a claim on any such patent. The eight patents the company asserted contain a design patent for the layout of the iOS UI and a trade dress patent covering the iPhone home screen.

Apple made a big deal about its patents on the bezel, the angles of the corner curves, and other designs it apparently patented. People in general reacted with astonishment that anyone could get a patent for a curve or straight line or flat surface.

Who, exactly? Average iPad owners? Average Galaxy Tab owners?

But, to Dvorak, these are the two things this case was about: the phone icon and the rounded rectangles. Lazy or dumb? You make the call.

This is a disaster for Apple no matter what Samsung does to its interface and its rounded corners.

The Macalope could make a joke here, but the real joke is on PC Magazine’s readers. Because Dvorak doesn’t seem to know that Apple lost on the “rounded corners” issue.

The case and its results, because of Apple testimonies, make it sound as if Apple was suing because a better product evolved.

How is a cheap knock-off supposedly better? Because it’s cheaper?

Will the public stick with the iPhone just to be loyal to the creator of the modern smartphone concepts? In a down economy where every penny counts, it’s doubtful.

Right. Because the economy during the period of the iPhone’s tremendous sales growth has been so awesome.

Combine this with the scandals at Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturer, and Apple is in trouble.

Now we’ve reached the point of the article where Dvorak reaches into his drawer of tired old tropes to try find something, anything, to tie up his conclusion, which is struggling in the dust like a angry calf, resisting all his attempts.

I consider this situation to be dire for Apple.

Sure you do.

John, face it. There are no legs left among us to pull.

[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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