Today Apple released the much-anticipated iPhone 5. It has many features that, apparently, we cannot live without. The first of which is an alarm clock. Several billion people have been camping out on the doorsteps of Apple stores across the country in hopes of being one of the lucky few to grab one of these new phones. When asked why they were camping out, several replied that they were afraid they would not be up early enough to beat the rush.
As eager as some people are to be able to use their brand new ultra-expensive alarm clocks to wake up in the morning, Swiss Rail, the national railroad of Switzerland, was not happy with the new iPhone. It alleges that the phone's clock infringes on a patent, for a clock,(picture below, from Mashable.com) that they have held for almost 70 years . To clarify, they have had the patent for all those years, the clock I am not sure about. On the face of it, there are some similarities between the two clocks. An Apple spokesphone stated that “we will not be railroaded in this matter. The iPhone does not infringe on any Swiss patents, just as a common kitchen knife does not infringe on the patent for a Swiss Army knife because they are both sharp.”
Besides the alarm clock, other updates include a larger screen. The largest group of new smart phone buyers are the 40 and over demographic, and apparently Apple has realized that some of us in that category resent having to take out our reading glasses just to set our alarm clock.
Getting back to the patent infringement, it would seem to me that the patent holders of the Swiss Army knife actually have a case for infringement against Apple. The Swiss Army knife is a collection of many different tools, all in one knife, such as scissors, toothpick, knife, etc. The iPhone, with all of the apps that can be downloaded, is a collection of many different tools in one package. iPhones can play music, scan barcodes, solve complex equations, act as a GPS, keep track of appointments, and of course, they have the ubiquitous alarm clock.
All of this patent-infringing, space- aged, cutting-edge technology makes me long for the good old days of telecommunication. Remember good old rotary dial phones. The big black hunks of plastic, with the coiled cord that would insidiously wrap around your neck as you paced and talked. Those cords probably choked a good number of people to death; but I miss them. Which causes me to wonder, can you actually make phone calls with the iPhone? One contemporary philosopher has put this question succinctly, and I quote,
Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe.
-Carly Rae Jepsen.