Referencing the second item in this column:
I think Cecil’s answer is incomplete at best and probably misleading. I took Cecil’s advice and Googled Kramer’s name - one of the first items to come up was this news article:
The article discusses how Kramer testified on Apple’s behalf in a case Apple was defending against Burst.com (later settled out of court). Burst claims it had patented software for high-speed online delivery of audio and video, and previously had collected $60 million from Microsoft.
It’s not clear how Burst’s allegations, (which strike me as more about iTunes) related to Kramer’s invention of the iPod design. But the article states that “documents filed by Apple in a court case show the US firm acknowledges him as the father of the iPod.” Furthermore, in 2008 Kramer was “negotiating with Apple to gain some compensation from the copyright that he owns on the drawings.”
Calling Kramer’s patented item a “concept” and equating it to two-way wrist radios in Dick Tracy is really unfair. You don’t get a patent without a working model. Of course it wasn’t a practical product at the time, but that doesn’t mean Apple couldn’t have used Kramer’s documentation of his invention (necessarily made public in order to get the patent) as the basis for designing the iPod. Apple’s defense against Burst would seem to reinforce the idea that it based a lot of the design and technology of the iPod on Kramer’s invention. Let’s give the guy a little credit.