In what has added to the evidence that practitioners in the legal field do not make the best tech support guys, both lawyers and judge in one of the most followed court cases in the US disagree on the extent of Apple’s pinch-to-zoom capabilities. The honorable judge even produced his own Samsung phone to prove a point.
While you would expect a discussion of how Apple has implemented pinch-to-zoom on its touchscreen iPad to take place between two nerds, Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers and the prosecution team battled it out on what is happening under the popular tablet’s screen.
Rittenhouse stands accused of killing two people and injuring a third person during a protest in Wisconsin. He is facing a trial before Judge Schroeder.
The prosecution lawyers had tried to replay footage of evidence on an iPad, but the defense team came up with an objection that would baffle any tech-savvy citizen. They claimed “iPads, which are made by Apple, have artificial intelligence in them that allow things to be viewed through three dimensions and logarithms. It uses artificial intelligence, or their logarithms, to create what they believe is happening. So this isn’t actually enhanced video, this is Apple’s iPad programming creating what it thinks is there, not what necessarily is there.”
Amazingly, the judge agreed with the defense’s claim! He then placed the burden of proving Apple’s iPads do not alter videos on the prosecution, granting them minutes to find an expert witness. Obviously, that was not possible, and the trial had to continue without an expert witness on whether the iPad could add randomly generated data to a video played on it.
While the defense would have preferred the video not shown, it didn’t have a complete victory it hoped for as the video was watched on a Windows machine hooked up to a large TV. Perhaps to avoid sparking another debate on how Microsoft enlarges its own videos, the prosecution team didn’t let the video fill the TV screen completely.
That was not the end of deliberations on the iPad’s pinch-to-zoom tech, as Judge Schroeder put up a small demo on the magic of blowing up images. He worked the jury, defense team, prosecution team, and everybody else fortunate to present through how he takes screenshots of texts on his phone and emails them to himself for backup purposes.
The following dialogue ensued between the judge and the prosecution lawyers:
[Judge] “You were talking the other day… about it’s just like a cellphone where you can expand a picture and make it bigger. But it’s not making it any bigger; it’s just a blur. Well, it’s not making it any bigger… it’s making it bigger, but it’s nothing but a blur..how that can be reliable… because it isn’t reliable for me and getting my messages on my phone.”
[Prosecutor] “I think you’re taking the picture wrong on your phone. I’m not tech support, but…”
[Judge] “I’m not surprised.”
The tech-inclined are probably smiling at this point or even laughing, but here is a reconstruction of Judge Schroeder’s screenshot saving routine:
The smartphone used by the judge is apparently a Samsung Galaxy 20. If the assumption is correct, then the judge has been using the ‘scroll capture feature that allows a user to capture all the content displayed while scrolling down long content like a collection of texts. This is why the final images are unusually long and thin.
At the point of emailing the long and thin image, it gets compressed by reducing the resolution and file size. By the time he downloads and tries to zoom, the image becomes blurry.
The judge might not realize this, but his demo does not correlate with the defense’s claim that Apple’s iPads can introduce new footage to a video being played on them. Besides, he has compared apples to oranges (pardon the pun) by comparing how a Samsung smartphone running on Android processes a screenshot to how an iPad running on iOS zooms a video.
If at this stage, any reader is still in doubt of what Apple’s iPads are capable of, the tablets cannot create extra materials and join to an existing video being played on them. This is despite Apple’s well-documented efforts to improve the iPad.