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Ten Examples That Show Apple’s Special Snowflake Page Turn Isn’t Nearly as Special As They Think (video)

223913-apple-ipad-wi-fi-ibooks-page-turn[1]When Apple was awarded a patent on the page turn in late 2012, more than a few bloggers and tech experts rolled their eyes. This common and basic feature seemed both obvious and easy to replicate, so many of us didn’t think it deserved a patent.

That’s what I thought, at least, but it wasn’t until last week that I realized quite how obvious and common page turn animations really were.

A reader responded to my post about Samsung’s page turn patent and challenged me to justify my statement that I had seen similar page turn effects before. That inspired me to go looking for examples on Youtube, and frankly I was surprised at just how many different examples I found.

I don’t think I found all the apps that use a page turn animation, but I can show that Google, Nook, and Sony all have a page turn animation in their reading apps. I also found a bunch of other examples of page curl animations, many of which are available for license. I doubt anyone really needs convincing that the page turn animation is a simple idea that anyone can implement, but this post should do the job.

First, here is iBooks showing off Apple’s amazing page turn:

Did you know that the Kindle app on the iPad can display a page curl when turning the page? I think it could be using Apple’s own code for the animation, but I’m not sure.

But even if the Kindle for iPad app is using Apple’s code, that is not the case with the Nook HD+:

And I seriously doubt that Google copied Apple’s code in Google Play Books, given that this animation looks entirely different from all the others:

And the Sony Reader Android app also has a page turn animation, though it doesn’t work as well as some:

Here’s one that is available for license:

And here is one that is available under the Apache license:

Here is a third example that can be licensed and incorporated into reading apps:

Not convinced yet? That’s okay because I’m not done. This next example appears to have been developed independently (by this dev):

And here is yet another page curl animation:

And just one more:

But wait, there’s more. not only is the page curl quite common in ebooks, you can even find it used elsewhere. Sony, for example, added a page curl effect to the PS Vita:


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Moriah Jovan May 7, 2013 um 4:30 pm

Am I the only one who browsed Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, and CVS electronic ads years and years ago? Cuuuuz, I remember clearly when I was on my extreme couponing kick (that lasted all of about a month), their ads ALL had the page curl and turn thing going on.

It was annoying as hell.

Thomas May 7, 2013 um 5:01 pm

I think all of those sites, and quite a few others, run their ads though Thats why they all use the same animations.

Nate Hoffelder May 7, 2013 um 7:21 pm

I remember seeing those things 10 years ago. I had dial up at the time and I hated those Flash-based ads.

fjtorres May 7, 2013 um 6:35 pm

When it comes to patents the issue is who filed first.
It is unclear when Apple filed but we know Microsoft filed their patent application in January 2009 for work done earlier.
And I clearly remember quite a few late 80’s-early 90’s multimedia PC CD-ROM’s that ran an animated page turn for paging their coffee table electronic books. The animation was trigger via mouse, trackpad, or even the keyboard. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was used on a PocketPC app early in the century.
Apple might have filed for a very narrow and specific method of doing the page curl on a touch screen interface. I doubt any patent clerk would be so silly as to grant a patent for the *concept* of animated page turns on reading apps.

Now, personally, I loathe the whole idea of animated page turns so I’d be comfortable if Apple could assert the patent to wipe the whole thing off the face of the earth.

But, alas, odds are all the patents will coexist and we’ll be stuck with the whole waste of time and motion for a while yet.

KarlB May 7, 2013 um 6:50 pm

"When it comes to patents the issue is who filed first."
Yes, partly; but there’s also the issue of "prior art." If something can be shown to have been generally available to the world before the time of your patent application, then you can’t patent it. Thus, Apple couldn’t validly patent the concept of a page curl, any more than I could patent the concept of the paperclip. They’ll have to show that there’s something uniquely different about their version of page curl, and based on the videos in this article, it looks like any such "difference" is going to be a trivial thing, at least in terms of user experience.

So bottom line, it doesn’t seem likely that this "patent" will matter to anyone, anywhere.

Nate Hoffelder May 7, 2013 um 7:16 pm

Actually, I was trying to show that Apple’s page turn wasn’t unique enough to deserve a patent. I think the online ads mentioned above would be a better example of prior art.

fjtorres May 7, 2013 um 8:42 pm

Patents need to be non-obvious, non-trivial. Page turn animations fail both tests if its a functional patent.

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