Can You Fault Someone For Protecting His/Her Intellectual Property? Further Apple Innovation Will Put More Distance Between It and Competitors
Apple's patents are about putting some distance between itself and its competitors. Apple's products carry with it's the DNA of the original Mac philosophy of "just works", ease of use, and elegance in its designs.
What anyone else does about their own designs and functions matters very little to Apple as long as they do not infringe too much on Apple's work. And more than just Android being a threat in the market, Apple felt that Android's dominance happened because a competitor like Samsung came in and copied not only key functions but also how it looks and feels.
And while I don't agree with Apple 100% on this issue, you cannot help but feel that there are similarities between the iPhone 3G and 3GS with the Galaxy phones.
You also have to ask where would Apple's competitors go if they did not help themselves to some features like multi-touch? I am not excusing their behaviors but only to point out that their recourse would be to reinvent the wheel so to speak or to invalidate Apple's patents.
No matter how Google rants or talk about patent reforms, one thing that will no change is this. There is a reason the concept of patents exist. It's to protect the inventor's intellectual property.
And judging by the lack of innovation coming out of Apple's competitors, I see Apple distancing its iOS devices from competing products even more. The only way to end is thing is not play by Apple rules. Innovate and change the game entirely.