Trivia Tuesday: Apple invention misconceptions

By on December 20, 2011, 10:30 AM

For the fourth Trivia Tuesday over at Neowin, this week they are exploring some of the things you might think Apple invented, but actually didn't at all. These invention misconceptions are just a brief collection of what people may generally think Apple have invented, but we're sure there are many more that aren’t covered here.

The capacitive touchscreen: this was a highlight of the original Apple iPhone, which touted its smartphone capabilities by saying you can actually use it with a finger rather than stylus as the norm was at the time. Rather than using two thin films between the user and display to sense a stylus, capacitive touchscreens measure the distortion in the screen’s electrostatic field created when your conductive fingers touch the screen’s special coating.

The original type of touchscreen was, interestingly, a capacitive type invented way back in 1965 by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment in the UK; unfortunately they were quite expensive to produce and so the resistive-type touchscreen was the cheaper and more common occurrence pretty much up until the iPhone. However, the invention of the capacitive touchscreen predates the existence of Apple, so they couldn’t have possibly invented it.


This is the Psion MC 400 with an early touchpad. Note that it's above the keyboard unlike modern touchpads

While we’re on touch technology, Apple also didn’t invent the touchpad. Used as the primary form of mouse-like movement on modern notebook computers, the touchpad was actually invented by Psion for their MC series notebooks in 1989; however the touchpads used in the early Apple PowerBooks were based on early developments in the field.

Read the full article.
- These articles are brought to you in partnership with Neowin.




User Comments: 13

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princeton princeton said:

LOL. People actually believed Apple invented any of those things? God damn. I mean even if you didn't know about the IBM Simon you should still know that Blackberry phones predate iPhones. Also if Apple had invented the capacitive touchscreen they would have patented it and either kept it for themselves or charged huge royalties for licencing devices using it.

Guest said:

Lol so true

you guys do know that touch screen GPS where here before the iphone ! Also Alpine had 5inch in dash dvd players that had touch screens with touch feedback

oh and before someone else says it Xerox invented the mouse!

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wait....I thought Google invented all this stuff?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Apple haven't invented anything in the last 30 years.

They just take the tech that is already there make it easy to use for everyone.

Guest said:

Apple invented the pcs, cellphones, music players and even music.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Apple invented the letter 'i'

lol!

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apple invented Apples, truestory!

TJGeezer said:

No, Google invented the Internet.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Apple invention misconceptions:

1. That they've invented a single thing.

Guest said:

whats pcs? to my knowledge it's a phone carrier?

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hey, at the end of the day it doesn't matter who invents what first, it's all about who perfects the product (and advertises it properly).

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Princeton said:

even if you didn't know about the IBM Simon you should still know that Blackberry phones predate iPhones.

Since the article talks about capacitive touch screens, what does this mean, exactly?

The iPhone had already been out for more than a year BEFORE Blackberry's first touch phone, the Storm, so that point is irrelevant. I point this out because people at TS tend to dismiss Apple at every opportunity to do so, often times unfairly.

Your comment about the Simon stands though, but maaaaan, the tech between the Simon's old olive-colored passive module and the modern, full-color TFT in the iPhone is disparate. It wouldn't surprise me if the Simon was resistive too, not capactive, but I could be wrong (probably am) on that. The concept is what matters here though, so kudos to the pioneers.

It's silly people think Apple invented it just because of the iPhone, but you do have to admit the iPhone was the first commercial touch screen phone success. Everyone started playing catch up the following year and as much as I don't really care for Apple, they do set the bar higher for everyone else from time to time. I can appreciate that.

Well before the iPhone, I had wondered, "Why aren't there touch screen phones? I mean, duh?". The answer was it hadn't been done right. Sure, there were a couple of touch screen phones (I remember one from Nokia with Symbian, for example), but they all relied on a stylus. That is an example of touch screen done wrong. In other words, Apple didn't invent it, but they made it practical.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It is a bit disheartening that so many falsely credit Apple with these inventions when it's not the case, but they are usually the first to properly exploit them. That's Apples strength imo, marketing and exploiting niche markets by bringing them to the forefront forcing everyone else to play catch up. It'll be interesting to see how Jobs passing will affect this as I believe he was the true force behind it.

Rick said:

It's silly people think Apple invented it just because of the iPhone, but you do have to admit the iPhone was the first commercial touch screen phone success. Everyone started playing catch up the following year and as much as I don't really care for Apple, they do set the bar higher for everyone else from time to time. I can appreciate that.

+1

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