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Confused judge demands someone explain iPad’s pinch-to-zoom feature

Confused judge demands someone explain iPad’s pinch-to-zoom feature

It’s not like justice is on the line or anything. 

The man responsible for overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial has some questions about how iPad’s pinch-to-zoom feature works, and he’d really like an expert witness to explain it to him. On Wednesday, Judge Bruce Schroeder disallowed Kenosha County prosecutor Thomas Binger from showing evidence on an iPad that would require the use of the built-in zoom feature. The reason? Well, as Judge Schroeder tried and failed to articulate, maybe pinching and zooming, you know, does stuff to change the image?

“What [the defense is] saying, I think, and I know less than anyone in the room, I’m sure, about all of this stuff, but I’m hearing him to say that they are actually artificially inserting pixels into there, which is altering the object which is being portrayed,” observed the judge.

This, as anyone who uses a modern smartphone knows, is not how pinch-to-zoom works. But, in the hopes of explaining it to the judge, we reached out to Apple for its thoughts on this technical dilemma.

We received no immediate response. Which is too bad, as Judge Schroeder really wanted someone to explain it to him.

“You’re the proponent,” he told the prosecutor, “and you need to assure me before I let the jury speculate on it that [pinch-to-zoom] is a reliable method that does not distort what is depicted.”

The judge’s dumbfounding technical obliviousness kicked off when Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Mark Richards, also admitted he didn’t understand what he was talking about. You can watch the jaw-dropping exchange, starting around the the 5 hour, 2 minute and 26 second mark, in the below video uploaded by the Washington Post.

“iPads, which are made by Apple, have artificial intelligence in them that allow things to be viewed through three dimensions and logarithms,” he told the judge. 

Again, this was in service of Richards’ effort to prevent the use of pinch-to-zoom.

Rittenhouse, then 17, was charged with first-degree murder in 2020. Rittenhouse shot three people, following militia groups organizing on Facebook in opposition to Black Lives Matter protests

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