∞ iOS or Android, which came first?

There’s been a lot of talk today about Eric Schmidt’s statement that Android pre-dated Apple’s iOS, so it couldn’t possibly be a rip-off.

People have been quick to point out that Android started in 2003 and was bought by Google in 2005. That’s two years before Apple released its first iPhone in 2007.

However, it would appear that nobody considered the fact that Apple didn’t just pull iOS out of its ass in 2007. They worked on it for years prior to releasing it in the first iPhone.

Using the introduction date of the iPhone is completely ignoring the development time that Apple put into iOS, the iPhone and iPad.

As John Gruber points out, versions of Android in 2007 resembled the BlackBerry. It’s only after the release of iOS that Google’s strategy was to copy everything that Apple does.



  • http://www.tenfingercrunch.com Michael Bartholomew

    Eric Schmidt’s statement was empty, and without real content. Sure, Android may have started publicly first, but (as you and Gruber have said) its current touch-centric incarnation did not rear its head until after the iPhone’s announcement. This is a response I would expect to hear from a politician, so it makes me wonder when Eric will run for office.

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    Judging from Schmidt’s Senate antitrust testimony, he seems clueless about Android.

  • http://twitter.com/hypothesard Hypothesard

    I know you don’t have any love for Daniel “Dildo” Eran Dilger but For some times he put together a timeline exposing clearly the chronology of Android and iPhone : in the article http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2011/08/09/are-software-patents-evil/

    the following chart is self explanatory : http://photos.appleinsider.com/asustab.004.jpg

  • Anonymous

    Apple didn’t pull iOS fully formed out of their butts in Jan 2007. AND it is worth pointing out that all Android stuff prior to Jan 2007 was an almost carbon copy of the Blackberry etc software, as was the hardware it was meant to be used on. 

    it was only after Jan 2007 that suddenly Android when all touchscreen, soft keyboard, etc

  • Anonymous

    “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”  - Steve Jobs Triumph of the Nerds

    “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”  - Steve Jobs (misquoting Pablo Picasso)

    I’m not arguing that Android copying iOS is justified, but it seems like Jobs is having an it’s-ok-only-when-I-do-it mentality.

    • Anonymous

      No, it seems like you are misunderstanding this very well-known quote, which is not from Pablo Picasso, who was also quoting someone else. Notice that “stealing” is better than copying in the quote; stealing is not “more copying.” The quote is not “good artists copy; great artists also copy.” The quote suggests that great artists do not copy.

      In the context of smartphones, Google copied Apple’s product, while Apple made a product that was so original that they stole the whole smartphone industry. There is a significant difference. In 2006, a “smartphone” was a BlackBerry or a BlackBerry clone. Now, a “smartphone” is an iPhone or an iPhone clone. By making something truly original, Apple obsoleted all other phones and stole the whole industry. For the past couple of years, Apple has been taking more than 50% of the profits in the whole mobile handset industry, including feature phones. All the other phone makers share a pie that is smaller than the one Apple eats at the end of each quarter. They came in from outside of the phone industry and stole the phone industry.

      So we can rewrite the quote in context: Google copies (a product), Apple steals (a whole industry.) That is the essence of the original “good artists copy, great artists steal” idea.

      • Erick

        T.S. Eliot (1920):

        One of the surest tests [of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

        It is so obvious that Google is the bad poet here.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t twist the quote. Stick to what it’s trying to say. You’re changing the whole context of the argument which is “stealing an Operating System” with “stealing an industry”. What you’re doing is misleading and trying to fashion the statement into something that fits your view, rather than sticking to the intention of the quote.

        When Jobs “steals” (he said this as he was defending the idea of stealing when confronted with questions regarding his stealing of the GUI from Xerox), he takes an idea that isn’t his and makes it into something that is his own. He doesn’t “copy”, which is to say making something exactly the same. The GUI of Mac (stolen from Xerox), the iPod (stolen from Sony), the iPhone (stolen from RIM): these Apple products weren’t “copies”. They were “stolen” ideas that Jobs made into something uniquely his own.

        In the same way, Android is not a “copy” of iOS. It is a “stolen” idea of it. Android has widgets, it’s open source, easily modified, etc. It is so many things that iOS is not. Google “stole” iOS and made it something that is uniquely Google: free and open. The same way Apple “stole” the smartphone concept and made it something uniquely Apple: aesthetic and intuitive.

        My point is Google did exactly what Jobs did with everything he ever invented: “steal” a concept and make it your own. Which is really what Pablo Picasso meant: artists steal other’s ideas and make it their own.

        • Anonymous

          NO, Google copied and stole.  Much of the code in Android is copied line for line from other platforms and many of the layouts and functions are copied to work exactly like other platforms.  Many of the features were copies of patents owned by Microsoft and others. Android makers have lost in court for coping and are paying royalties for copies of technology.  They also stole ideas and made their own versions of them as well, but they did copy many things.  They also stole ideas, so does everyone else.  That is why everyone is suing everyone else.

          • Devoloper

            It is a linux based kernel, obviously there will be copies as with any other linux based kernel ( all mobile OS platforms other than winmobile) The patent system needs a major overhaul. Sueing and litigating slows progression and hurts technological advancement.

          • Patrick Elliott-Brennan

            What LINES are you talking about? Name some? Point them out so the other companies don’t have to go looking for them.

            Android is Linux based – they’re ALLOWED to do this. Note the difference. You are allowed to take things out of the fridge are your mother’s home when you come out of the basement. She won’t have you charged with stealing the biscuits.

            Apple took multiple ideas from other companies and then used them to make a device – possibly the first device with all of these borrowed ideas in one place. Huzzah for Apple!

            They didn’t invent them or create them.

            Android makers have not lost any court cases. Name one, just one. Come on, name just one court case in which Google has been successfully sued over Android.

            What? None? None at all? Surely you jest?

            Finally: NO! No, it’s not why ‘everyone is suing everyone else.’. Apple started the worse part of what is happening now because they didn’t want to ‘share reasonably’ as the policy appeared to generally be (though not all the time).

            Check out:

            http://www.idownloadblog.com/2011/08/20/whos-suing-who/

            Apple are suing more companies than anyone else and NOT because they created more – only a fool would think that was true. It’s because they’re control freaks to the extreme.

            Now, back to my point: Some evidence of a court case which Apple has won against Google (Android) in which Apple succeeded in showing Google (Android) had stolen ANYTHING of theirs?

        • http://twitter.com/briantopping Brian Topping

          These are ridiculous assertions based on revisionist history. Xerox received a lot of Apple stock options to show what they were working on, and at that point, PARC was not doing overlapping windows, which you’ll remember was most definitely a part of Apple products and the basis of the LAF suits with MS Windows, early versions of which also did not have overlapping windows. One does not give a lot of stock options merely to see something and do nothing with the information.

          If you want to say that iPhone was a “copy” of of RIM because it was a cell phone with an address book, you need to go back to the Handspring cellular cradle, which predates RIM. Again, more basis in inconvenient facts that shoot holes in your position.Apple found their success with iPhone by creating a haptic UI for it. Apple had no beef with anyone’s phone until HTC put a haptic interface on the Incredible.

          Haptic interfaces had been common knowledge for some time and MS implemented them on their Surface products, so there’s no reason that Google or anyone else couldn’t put one in a phone. But they didn’t, or at least not until iPhone showed it was possible and how popular it would be. iPhone has it’s weaknesses, but they pale in comparison to the UI issues on Treo/Blackberry/Nokia/Android of the time. Apple spent billions creating that interface, so of course they want to protect it. If it wasn’t the best, nobody would have copied it, either. And since a haptic UI is not a baseline technology that would meet qualifications under FRAND, there’s no reason Apple has to license it. It’s called “competitive advantage”, something that Apple wasn’t very good at protecting in the eighties.

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      Apple didn’t steal. It licensed.

  • Anonymous

    Eric Schmidt joined Apple’s board in 2004.

    In 2005, both Apple and Google bought companies:- Google bought Android; founded by the Sidekick creators to make a next generation Sidekick OS- Apple bought FingerWorks; founded by the inventors of multi-touch to make multi-touch products In 2006, Google released the Android SDK, a developer kit for making apps to run on Sidekick, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile -type phones.

    In 2007, Apple released iPhone, a Mac inside an iPod with multi-touch instead of a mouse and keyboard, and it could also make calls.

    In 2008, the first Android phone shipped, and it was an iPhone clone.

    The thing about Google that not too many people know is that they make 90% of their money running ads on THEIR OWN WEBSITES. The ads they run on non-Google websites account for only 10% of their business. They do not want to just run ads on iPhones; they want to copy iPhone and run ads on their copy. They do not just want to run ads on Facebook; they want to copy Facebook and run ads on their copy. Whatever product anyone creates, Google will start to copy it and run ads on it. That is their business model.

    • Patrick Elliott-Brennan

      What are these ‘websites’ of which you speak?: Google.com Google mail wegpage? Search pages?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google

      Google’s income is 90 ad based does not mean it’s all on their own web pages (as you call them).

      Google didn’t need to make a phone to make money through search and ads. ALL iPhone when they use a search engine named ‘Google’ will have ads on the page and any site which uses Google ads which an iPhone users goes to will also have such ads.

      Your comment thus makes little sense. 

      Neither does the ‘iPhone is a Mac inside an iPod’. If that’s true then Macs seriously don’t multi-task and are under-performing machines.

      If Android is a copy of iOS Apple phones then I fail to understand why it works better, looks better, multi-tasks and is more flexible and configurable. Other than that, it’s just like a iPhone.

  • Devoloper

    Google + and Android may not have been original but they are far and away blazing away the competition by completely revolutionizing the industry. They are now the technological leaders in the smartphone world. They had notification pull down bar first. Had video chat first. Had full customization of a device first. Had live wallpapers first. Had multi-tasking first. Had “intent” commands two years before apple “thought ” of it. – to non-devolopers an intent command allows share intent to be fully implemented allowing full intergration of an application without additional size to the app making the app faster and more readily available to making the end-users phone tailor itself to that individual. Android is blazing a trail that apple is limping through. Look at the ice cream sandwhich SDK if you want to see what apple will do in two years.

  • http://mangochut.net/ mangochutney

    Don’t get me wrong, Android has a few nice features and certainly some merit, but when the first Android devices were given to bloggers and the press, I thought; “Meh. I’m going to stick with my Treo 650, if that’s what the future looks like.”

  • Lis9dritto

    I think software copyright should be treated like music copyright. Like in the case of “viva la vida” by cold play.. The song sounds similar to many other songs, but no once can say cold play stole anything from anyone. If you spend an afternoon working on something that you created on your own then you should be able to profit from it.

  • Xelphos

    This goes both ways Apple copies from Google and Google copies from Apple. This is just the way the world is and it is better this way because you have 2 variants now both in someways similar giving people a choice and another opinion.