Editor in Chief
- Jan 5, 2011
It's funny how sometimes perception doesn't seem to match up with reality. One example is that many consumers think that Apple is the most innovative company in the world. While it is true that they do push innovation further forward, the reality is that in many ways other companies actually innovate much better than the Cupertino clan. We have one great example from Google, and this story also showcases the prevailing myth that Apple holds the patent for "pinch-to-zoom." Here's the skinny.
One of the patents that Apple defeated Samsung on in a U.S. court was the '915 patent. This is the infamous "pinch-to-zoom" patent. However, as it turns out the scope of this patent is actually rather limited. In fact, Google has already developed a superior method of doing the same thing, without actually violating the patent, and they have implemented it in Jelly Bean. Obviously, the best part about this is that future versions of Android will never have to deal with Apple's lawyers regarding this patent. Here's a great quote summarizing the details of why Google's solution is superior, and how it skirts around Apple's version:
...the 915 patent specifically covers a programming interface which detects if one finger on a screen is scrolling or two or more fingers are doing something else and is definitively not a broad patent for pinch-to-zoom technology. Most crucially for Android manufacturers, Google has designed around the 915 patent by allowing you to always pan around in multiple directions with one finger, whereas Mobile Safari in iOS generally locks you to a one-dimensional scroll when you start moving with one finger.
So, there you have it. It seems pretty obvious that Google is just one of many companies that develop superior technology that Apple can't claim is their own. There is one thing that Apple obviously does better than anyone, and that's self-promotion and marketing. They certainly do know how to get the press to dance for them. That's actually how they were able to perpetuate the myth that they actually have a full patent on "pinch-to-zoom." Check out this article at TheVerge for a more in-depth description detailing why this isn't actually true.