Books written by Ray Sullivan

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Apple Gears Up the Lawyers

It's been a while since Apple launched a new iOS.  That in itself shouldn't be a headline, after all, most of us want some kind of stability with our new operating systems,  Unfortunately Apple recently went through a period of updating the iOS practically every other day.  To be fair, some of the updates were better called downdates as they reversed to some degree the changes the previous update had made.

It isn't a period when Apple was covered in glory.  What they were marginally better at during this period was taking on who they regarded as the bad guys in court, principally Samsung although Apple showed they were relatively prepared to take on anyone who they thought had infringed their ideas.  Mind you, recent news from the US puts their legal team into dispute, with early models of iPhone now likely to be prevented from being sold due to alleged patent infringements against Samsung.  Such is the see-saw world in Apple towers.

But Apple have moved on, they've sacked a few, let a few others leave of their own accord, and put hardware guru, Sir Jony Ives, in charge of the new iOS.  Now Sir Jony is famous for his minimalist approach to design and it seems that a lot of the Apple iOS was jarring him, particularly the cutesy detailed touches that have crept in over the last few years - you know, the grain on the bookshelves, the curl of the page when you turn one on an eBook.

I guess these things look great first time off, but to some the novelty wears off.  To be fair to Sir Jony, the simplicity of his iPod designs still keeps people coming back to pay a premium year after year so perhaps he knows a thing or two.

Mind you, some commentators aren't that interested in the sugar coating, or to be more precise, whether it survives or not.  Some think the problems that Apple have to address are deeper than that.  Part of the problem for Apple is that while iOS and the devices that run on it were ground-breaking when they arrived, the rest of the world hasn't stood still.  OK, Apple clearly know this to be true because they've spent a lot of money attempting to sue major manufacturers for what they believe is theft of their intellectual property, and I guess in many of the cases they have a point.  But I'll let the courts decide that bit, partly because it saves me running foul of Apple's lawyers but mainly because it's more fun to watch.  Like Apple ever read this blog!

However Android has improved by leaps and bounds in the last year or so and the tablet world has started to look a lot less than something Apple owns.  Even Microsoft have joined in the fun with their Windows 8 and Surface products.  It's fair to say Apple are relying more and more on their reputation.  After the Apple Maps debacle that's a tricky proposition.

But apart from some cryptic leaks and some strong denials, which of course mean they're not denials, from Apple over the last six months, they've been very quiet.  And that's what happens when clever people concentrate.  The word is that Apple are about to reveal information about iOS 7 and they're very excited.  Nobody is shouting about what the changes will be but rumour has it that the lawyers are lining up their cases ahead of the data release.  Apple want to make sure they keep the product launch information under wraps until they are ready, then they'll go for it.

The longer they leave it, though, the more likely that information will leak, and that will lead to ambiguity in the courts afterwards.  So for that reason and the fact that Apple have come up for air I think the announcement about iOS 7 will come within the next two weeks.  iPad owners and lawyers must be rubbing their hands together.


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