For all that its products are (arguably unfairly) associated with elitism, Apple as a company has a pretty good track record when it comes to apologizing for screw-ups.
For example: When people complained about the iPhone 4's poor reception, back in 2010, Steve Jobs took reporters on a tour of Apple's antenna testing center, and gave everyone who bought an iPhone 4 a free case if they wanted one. More recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized for "the frustration [iOS 6's maps have] caused our customers," and suggested they use Google's app instead. The Wall Street Journal even reported that Scott Forstall -- formerly Apple's exec in charge of iOS -- was asked to leave the company for refusing to be the one to apologize.
But when the British courts ordered Apple to apologize to Samsung for accusing the Korean tech giant of copying Apple's designs? Cue the snark and passive-aggressiveness.
Apple filed suit against Samsung in numerous courts worldwide, claiming its designs infringed on Apple's and seeking injunctions to ban them. (Pseudonymous Redditor MarsSpaceship published a graphic which ironically points out the uncanny similarities.) Courts in Australia and the United States ruled in Apple's favor, and Samsung was ordered to pay more than $1 billion to Apple in damages.
Except in the United Kingdom
The courts in the UK not only found that Samsung's designs don't infringe, they ordered Apple to publicly apologize to Samsung on its website and in newspapers, in words big enough to be read. Apple faux-pologized by stating the facts -- that the court found Samsung's designs don't infringe -- then going on to point out how every other court in the world said otherwise, and quoting the judge when he said that the reason people wouldn't mistake Samsung's products for Apple's is because "They are not as cool."
Try again, Apple
The British courts were not amused, and told Apple to try it again. You can read Apple's new "apology" on its UK website, assuming you can translate the legalese which calls an iPad a "Community registered design No. 0000181607-0001" ... and assuming you can find it.
Say what, now?
Another anonymous Redditor, Dismiss, discovered that Apple had reprogrammed its UK website to hide the apology to Samsung. Not only did it redesign the site's front page, making graphics larger and pushing the legal text out of view, it used custom code to make it so that you have to scroll to see the apology, no matter how big your screen is. This effectively hides it from view for most people, unless they go out of their way to look for it.
Round three, coming up?
The UK courts haven't responded to Apple's second faux-pology, which may be partly because they aren't aware of what Apple did yet. Either way, Apple seems to have come out the winner worldwide, and Samsung's latest designs -- like the Galaxy S III smartphone -- are much less derivative of Apple's.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Technology & Electronics