Ever since Apple's $1 billion legal win over Samsung for creating tablets and smartphones too similar to Apple's iconic iPad and iPhone, we've been on a sharper lookout for all the ways Apple may have copied other companies' ideas.
So forgive us for again noticing, while tuning into the big iPhone 5 unveiling in San Francisco on Wednesday, the supposedly "revolutionary" features of Apple's new smartphone that really aren't all that original. While were not claiming that Apple violated patents held by Google or Nokia, it's hard to ignore the fact that several features in Apple's latest phone look familiar.
Browse our gallery (below) to see some of the features Apple appears to have aped from other companies. Then, visit our big news page for all our coverage of the iPhone 5, including photos and features of the new device, as well as a look at how it compares to the Galaxy S3 and to the iPhone 4S.
This is most the obvious and the most packed with irony, given that Apple is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/apple-samsung-lawsuit-verdict_n_1829268.html?1345857263&utm_hp_ref=technology" target="_hplink">suing</a> Samsung in every country it can. The new, larger iPhone -- with a 4-inch display vs. the 3.5-inch display on all older models -- is closer in size to the 4.8-inch span on the Galaxy S III's screen. Was Apple's decision to up the iPhone's screen real estate a response to the popularity of Samsung's plus-sized and popular handsets?
Google, which makes the operating system the Galaxy smartphones run on, is also embroiled in spat with the iPhone maker. Apple snidely decided to make <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/apple-debuts-maps-app_n_1587726.html" target="_hplink">its own map app for iOS 6</a>, which ships on the iPhone 5; Google Maps won't be preloaded onto iOS 6 devices. (Users can still go to the App Store and download it themselves.) Apple touts Maps as being <a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/" target="_hplink">smooth and responsive,"</a> implying that Google Maps left something to be desired.
HTC And Nokia
So the new iPhone can take panoramic photographs, huh? Where have we seen that before? Oh right: Both HTC and Nokia smartphones. Nokia's new Lumia 920 comes with a camera setting that lets users <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57510802-233/iphone-5-vs-galaxy-s3-vs-lumia-920-by-the-numbers/" target="_hplink">create panorama shots of their surroundings</a>; HTC Windows Phones have come with a similar tool into the camera software "for some time now," <a href="http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/44983/nokia-creative-studio-for-windows-phone" target="_hplink">according to Pocket-lint</a>. (Image courtesy of Apple.)
Another nifty photo-related feature of the iPhone 5 is the ability to seamlessly share pictures with your friends. "The Shared Photo Streams feature is arguably the most practical addition, since previously sharing photos by email limited users to sending 5 photos at a time," <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/12/apple-shows-off-panoramic-photos-better-photo-sharing-in-new-iphone/" target="_hplink">explains TechCrunch</a>. "MMS'ing photos is also not ideal." But text and email's limitations haven't stopped iPhone users from sharing photos. Instagram didn't get to 100 million users by being a bad alternative for publishing mobile pics. There are also plenty of photo-sharing app out there, with smaller but devoted user bases than Instagram's. (Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/iphone-5-hands-on-video-details/" target="_hplink">Engadget</a>)
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