The slide switch predates my life in electronics. Having a virtual slide switch on a screen is still a slide switch, just like changing the colour of the plastic on a mechanical one doesn't change the patent that applies. And to say that it's worth $30 per phone is even more ridiculous, you can buy them for as little 10c. The US patent system is worse than broken, I think the overworked clerks don't give a brass razoo anymore and are just stamping everything.
It this sort of rubbish is the great Apple innovation then they are totally not innovators.
I'm impressed by novel inventions that are obvious as soon as I see them. "I should have invented that." With the benefit of hindsight, one can reassemble many inventions from previous components. The patent office has to tread a delicate line between using 20-20 hindsight unfairly - and blocking patents which really were anticipated. I guess we can all agree that patent 6368227 for swinging sideways on a child's swing should have been invalidated (as it was). Many of us were doing that decades before the patent filing.
The U.S. patent system is indeed broken. It is not simply a matter of forgotten old ideas being rediscovered and re-patented. It is also broken by having set the bar so low on what constitutes "invention", that almost anything is patentable. If the reverse were true, we would have a lot fewer lawsuits clogging our courts.
I hope that the judge and jury see how many prior art examples there are in everything that Apple claims is patented. Our patent system is truly broken if any company can claim a patent on the hyperlink, or slide to unlock.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.