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The incredible similarity between Palm’s iPhone X and webOS, a 2009 operating system


However, when they come to Apple, they are there to stay , well implemented and offering an ideal user experience. Examples? Fingerprint recognition already existed before Touch ID, smart watches already existed before Apple Watch, facial recognition already existed before Face ID… and iPhone X gestures already existed too, since 2009 in fact.

The incredible similarity between Palm’s iPhone X and webOS, a 2009 operating system
The incredible similarity between Palm’s iPhone X and webOS, a 2009 operating system

If there is one project in the world of technology that makes us sad that it failed, it was Palm with its webOS operating system. Palm introduced groundbreaking ideas for the time , but unfortunately the timing, hardware and other factors were not on their side. This resulted in a duopoly of iOS and Android today, although webOS still leaves its mark almost ten years later.

With the iPhone X having no Home button, Apple has had to figure out how to add the Home button functions to other buttons or gestures. That’s why iPhone X has the indicator bar, and this bar is the first thing that reminds us of Palm. The iPhone X is certainly not directly based on Palm, but the essence of its gestures originated there, in 2009 . For example this video in which the audio of the iPhone X keynote is mixed with the video of a Palm with webOS in use:

Are we being introduced to the iPhone X or a Palm phone ? Since 2009, Palm developers have introduced some of the gestures that we currently see in Apple. Slide from the bottom to open the multitasking, slide to the side to switch between apps quickly, slide from the top right to open the control center… even wireless charging!

Palm hardware and available applications were not his strong point, but the gestures were brilliant.

The Palm hardware was lousy, the available applications were not for launching rockets and the operators did not help to popularize it either, but the Palm concept was brilliant . In fact not only these gestures have reached other platforms like iOS, but many other features that we use today. webOS had for example a universal search like Spotlight called ‘Just Type’, banner notifications, updates via OTA and above all, card design. Have you noticed that now the iOS interface tends to card design as in Apple Music, multitasking apps or any banner with rounded rectangles? Indeed, its origin is in Palm.

Did Apple copy Palm and its webOS operating system? It is difficult to say, as with other manufacturers, Apple has adapted the good ideas of the past to the present . Apple hired multiple Palm developers at the time, and now with the right context has implemented those ideas again (also from other operating systems such as Windows Phone). Nevertheless, it is still curious how good ideas never die. As a curiosity, one more video showing the virtues and operation of webOS:

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