So we've been watching this sketchily-sourced piece from VentureBeat's MG Siegler that claims Google was specifically asked to avoid implementing multitouch by Apple over patent concerns bounce its way around the web today, and while we didn't want to contribute to the echo chamber effect without being able to lend any authority to the story, it's starting to get stupid: John Gruber is chiming in that he'd additionally heard that Apple warned Google against including a 3.5mm headphone jack on the G1 after Cupertino was shown a prototype, which is ridiculous. Fine, we're somewhat willing to accept the complete lack of multitouch on the G1 is a result of Apple's influence, especially considering the huffy language Apple's been using lately over its intellectual property, but the absence of a straight 3.5mm headphone jack can't be chalked up to any patent issues, since Gruber's source is probably pointing to an Apple patent that covers controlling music via a headphone jack, which in no way prevented HTC from slapping a regular 3.5mm jack on there -- and hell, HTC makes breakout boxes for ExtUSB that expose both a jack and control capability anyway. Furthermore, it's not even remotely clear why Google would be cruising around Infinite Loop with the G1 way ahead of release; as Gruber himself points out, Schmidt recuses himself from board meetings involving iPhone conversations, and we'd expect the courtesy to go both ways.
iTunes, iPod, music, your ears... we get it, Apple owns everything with a melody nowadays, but c'mon, now: at the time the G1 was designed -- many moons ago -- attitude toward the importance of 3.5mm jacks on phones was significantly different than it is today, and we can understand why HTC and Google could've reasonably thought that ExtUSB was good enough. Today, that attitude wouldn't fly -- indeed, HTC's own Touch HD does a real jack, and going forward, we'd expect most Android hardware to have them, too. Talented engineers can usually design their way around patent issues, and we're certain Google and HTC have both the legal and technical muscle to deal with Apple -- so can we please all stop playing lawyer and get back to mocking up the Dream G2?