Rittenhouse trial judge still baffled by pinch-to-zoom

Both the prosecution and defense are still arguing over evidence in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial for murdering two people in a Wisconsin protest. Judge Bruce Schroeder and the defense have been astonished at the amount of confusion about what happens when you pinch to zoom on a touchscreen device.
Schroeder said Wednesday that it was up the prosecution to show that zooming in on a video with an iPad does not alter or manipulate the footage. The defense stated that Apple's iPads have artificial intelligence that allows things to be seen through three-dimensions or logarithms. This isn't enhanced video. It's Apple's iPad programming creating what they think is there, and not necessarily what is.

After giving the prosecutors just 20 minutes to find an expert witness, Judge Schroeder allowed the objection to stand. He explained how pinch-to zoom on an iPad works. (It is important to note that iPads don't have any "logarithms," which allow video to be viewed three-dimensionally or "recreate" portions of images that aren't there.

During the live broadcast of jury instructions, the judge pulled out his smartphone to show his continued confusion at pinch-to zoom.

The judge takes screenshots of his friends' texts and emails them to him. Today, he showed one of these screenshots to the courtroom, noting that some were "very long" and "show up as an email like this, like little ribbons." So he zooms in on them and "it is just a blur."

It's "just a blur"

The judge, speaking to the prosecution, said that "it's just like having a cellphone where it can expand a photo and make it larger." It's blurring the image, but it doesn't make it bigger. It's not making the phone any bigger. But it's making it larger, but it's just a blur.

The prosecutor replied, "I believe you're taking it wrong on your smartphone." The judge responded, "I'm no tech support, but ..."," prompting laughter.

Let's see what's happening. Judge Schroeder seems to be using a Samsung Galaxy 20. This means that he is likely using "scroll capture," which allows Samsung to take long images of a whole window. In this instance, it was the entire text conversation. To make it fit, those screenshots appear as long thin images on his screen. He can email (or text) the image to himself to reduce its file size and resolution so that it is blurry when he zooms in.

Judge Schroeder seems to be activating scroll capture with his Galaxy S20

This is not useful evidence to support the defense's claim about iPad pinch-to zoom. First, the Galaxy S20 runs Google Android with various Samsung customizations. The defense's specific objections focused on Apple's "logarithms” on an iPad. From the beginning, it is irrelevant what a Samsung phone does to an objection about how an Apple gadget works. The defense object is second about Apple logarithms that add data to images so it can be viewed three-dimensionally or recreate what isn't there. Judge Shroeder's iPhone is not clearly adding data to the image. It remains blurry. His experience actually supports the prosecution's ability zoom in on a video. Again, different software comes from different companies.

The judge ended the conversation by not putting his phone down.