It's the Clone Wars! Everybody's copying everybody else
10th Aug 2012 | 10:00
From cloning people to cloned phones
Cloning's supposed to be the stuff of science fiction, but it's becoming an everyday reality in the tech industry: as we discovered this week, people are cloning everything from industrial design to people's online identities. It's the attack of the clones!
The first batch of cloning occurred in the cloud. Earlier this week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak predicted a "horrendous" future for the cloud, saying that "I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."
Five years? Five minutes, more like: as Gizmodo's Mat Hornan discovered to his horror this week, it's alarmingly easy to compromise cloud-based accounts.
"Horrendous" doesn't begin to describe Hornan's experience: his MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad were wiped remotely within minutes of his account being compromised, and his Google account was compromised too.
The exploit was good old-fashioned social engineering - using partial data from Amazon, the bad guys persuaded an Apple rep to reset Hornan's AppleID password - and both Amazon and Apple are tightening procedures to ensure it can't happen to anybody else. However, it's a stark reminder that the more we put on the cloud, the more problems we'll have if our accounts are compromised.
Samsung vs Apple: anybody bored now?
While some baddies were pretending to be Mat Hornan, others - and by others, we mean Samsung - were pretending to be Apple. That's what Apple claims, anyway, and the ongoing legal battle between it and Samsung became even more amusing this week when Apple submitted a damning 132-page internal Samsung report called "Let's Copy Apple And Get Rich".
No, not really, but the contents were still pretty damning: the report compares the iPhone to various Samsung phones, and on almost every page there's a "directions for improvement" box detailing exactly how Samsung should copy Apple to make its products better.
As you might expect, Apple says it's proof of cloning while Samsung says it's just standard competitor analysis.
It's safe to say that it's not been the best week for Samsung. In its own surveys, also introduced as evidence, it found that more than half of consumers thought Samsung ads were for Apple products, and that its phones are liked rather than loved: pundits say they're either "too plain, too extreme, or too much like other Samsung phones."
The trial's absolutely fascinating, and of course we're posting in-depth analysis of every key development.
iPhone 5 rumours also continue to fly about (which, ironically, will probably be powered by another Apple-designed and Samsung manufactured processor), so we've put together an iPhone render video. Will the new iPhone look like this? Click the video to check it out.
You might argue that Google's in the cloning business too: its soon-to-be-released update for its iOS search app gets voice control, just like Siri. Presumably you'll be able to ask "how much tax does Google pay on its UK earnings?" and it'll pretend to have a coughing fit.
Apple isn't the only firm crying "cloners!": EA says it's been cloned too. According to the gaming giant, Zynga's Facebook game The Ville is awfully like The Sims Social, possibly because, er, Zynga's chief operating officer and other key executives were poached by Zynga from EA, bringing with them "detailed, internal strategic plans and development information related to EA's effort to bring The Sims franchise to Facebook." COO John Schappert was stripped of his responsibilities and resigned this week.
With all the claims and counter-claims of cloning flying around, we're desperate to see something that isn't just a carbon copy of something else: hurrah, then, for Ouya, the games console named after the noise Glaswegians make when they bump into things.
The super-cheap, Android-powered console has raised a phenomenal $8.5m on Kickstarter, and it's promised to hit the shelves in March 2013.