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May 13, 2010


Questions of patent-ability aside it's going to be a fascinating market/opportunity.

I think Dr. Chi is right on the money.

HTML5 Apps on the iPhone (AppCache + Storage) and native apps are virtually indistinguishable. This is more of an implementation than a new, novel and patentable idea.

I think it's great that Dr. Ed Chi took the time to weight in on this even though I don't have a clue what he's talking about. A good debate has to have two sides. Thanks Dr. Chi for giving us your 2 cents worth.

Apple's patent seems to really be about a cloud service that takes on the appearance of a temporary iApp on the iPhone based on location/GPS. On the surface it will be marketed as temporary apps but it's really about a cloud service that will control tiny-apps created by businesses and or services like the library scenario.

Everyone doubted that iApps would fly. After the billionth download, when does it become a success in the minds of Apple's critics? Perhaps the real question is, who cares what critics think?

Those at Parc dropped the ball on the first GUI and mouse. Apple had a vision of how to take deep theory and endless in-lab projects that professors of science could boast of but couldn't turn it into anything viable.

While one has to admire Dr. Chi's position, one doesn't have to agree with his bewilderment as to what Apple is doing. Everyone doubted the sanity of the iPod, now the iPad let alone the iPhone. There are many with degrees up the wazoo that remain in labs because they don't have a clue as to how to bring ideas to market.

You stay in the lab and Apple will take care of their patents. Deal?

What struck me about this idea is the blurring definition of an "app" vs. say a "webpage" makes this patent's value a bit suspect.

Take for instance, the concepts we explored in lots of recommender systems such as the Magitti project at PARC, where we recommend information items to users based on their location and context. Here, users might be taken to a web page, which has interactive elements to it, such as being placed on waiting list, or ordering food-to-go. This is the same as an "app" in functionality, but not in name. So what does this patent really add? Seems to me it's an instantiation of how to implement the idea.

However, maybe I'm reading this all wrong. Perhaps there is value in making an app appear on the screen in this somewhat magical design-y way. (People already know how app screens are suppose to work, and this breaks that UI conception of how apps get on your screen.) But I'm not sure this is worthy of a patent. Just my 2cents.

Very interesting indeed. [Here's my take on the subject in general...]


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