Apple v. Samsung

It didn’t take the jury nearly as long as expected to return a verdict in the Apple/Samsung case. They had a lot of questions to answer, but it didn’t take them long to answer.

One of the most interesting things about the trial has been the publication of many of Apple’s earlier iPhone and iPad prototypes. This is something I’ve been wanting to see for years– it’s always interesting seeing how something has evolved. I’ve long wanted to see how the Aqua user interface used in Mac OSX evolved, prior to its first public release in one of the developer previews.

More importantly though, the parade of prototypes showed that Apple had done the work. They clearly showed that the devices hadn’t sprung magically from Steve Job’s brow; there were a lot of false tries and dead ends involved before they converged on the final designs. In addition, the prototypes demonstrated that the final solutions arrived at were not obvious, and they were not just the development of prior art.

If Samsung had been able to show a similar set of prototypes, they could have made a claim for convergent evolution — things that serve the same purpose tend to end up working the same way. They couldn’t; and Apple was able to introduce emails from Samsung discussing their own designs in light of the iPhone design. I think this 1-2 punch of the Apple prototypes and the lack of similar preliminary work was enough to cook Samsung’s goose.