Best Buy customers returned Samsung tablets after mistaking them for iPads...

Best Buy customers returned Samsung tablets after mistaking them for iPads...

Amid the flood of court documents being released as part of the ongoing Apple vs Samsung courtroom drama, Ina Fried from AllThingsD notes the following line (emphasis mine):

Samsung was forced to release a bunch of documents it had been keeping under seal that show the likeness between its products and Apple’s. Examples outlined in the documents include comments from Samsung workers discussion similarities with Apple’s products and reports Samsung got from retailer Best Buy that Samsung tablets were being returned because customers thought they were getting iPads.

It's Best Buy customers plural, so we know it's more than one. But no number is given, so we don't know it's more than two. We have not idea how many Best Buy stores the customers were spread over either. It makes for a great headline or pull quote. It may or may not make for good evidence in court. But it almost certainly will get some attention online, and be the subject of a few jokes.

But seriously, how many people really bought a Samsung tablet thinking it was an iPad, took it home, and then at some point discovered it wasn't? And at what point did they discover it wasn't? How many really didn't know vs. how many had second thoughts and decided they wanted an iPad instead?

And does that say more about Samsung copying Apple design motifs, Best Buy not properly interacting with their customers to assure they're getting what they want to get, or customers just being inattentive? Remember how hard it was for our own Seth Clifford to buy an Android tablet at Staples?

It's going to get sillier before it gets saner, folks.

Source: AllThingsD

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Best Buy customers returned Samsung tablets after mistaking them for iPads...


Many, many, many people are tech illiterate.

This is particularly true of people buying devices such as a tablet, which is really designed not to be "techy."

What really gets me going is when people dont know to turn their smartphone sideways for proper use of the camera!

the camera can go either way. i.e. portrait and landcape mode
video is more a convention for playing on computers/tvs than a proper direction. look at facetime where portrait mode works better

this has nothing to do with tech. they are simply illiterate. Not to mention that in every store i've ever seen tablets are locked up or high on a shelf so high that only employees can reach with a ladder so you can't steal them which means these people are asking for the wrong thing on purpose.

It does happen. Some people don't really know what an iPad is. They just see a slate and call it an iPad.

Yes, the name iPad is just that ubiquitous.

I want to believe that those who purchased Galaxy Tabs and thought they were iPads are being 100% honest, but it's kind of hard to mistake a product when the placard beneath it says the name of the product and most of the Best Buy's I have visited have even had small posters behind the Galaxy Tabs and iPads that clearly identify the products.

Sheesh, I can see being that inattentive buying a can of Dr Skipper instead of Dr Pepper, but when dropping a couple hundred dollars I make sure to know exactly what I'm getting.

All this says is that there are some extremely stupid consumers who either can't see very well since the shelf tags & packaging don't say iPad anywhere (oh & if you can't tell the difference by looking at them, please never drive a car). Or said consumers read tech blogs & thought it might be funny to act like uneducated idiots to a retailer.

"Like OMG... I thought it was like... Well um an 'i' type thingy & um like OMG um... This is like a store & you sell stuff right? OMG can I order a pizza with my iPod 6 Mac Touch Google thingy?"

Nice link bait from Ida. It's her stock in trade basically. But I simply refuse to believe people are this patently stupid as Apple seems to think. This ridiculous nonsense over Samsung copying our stuff is just stupid at this point. Especially when Apple continues to Photoshop everything & try to present it as fact.

You really are ignorant aren't you? The world doesn't revolve around YOU. Is it really that hard to stop and think for a minute, the various scenarios that can happen? While this isn't a huge dillema, it's certainly plausible.

Take, for example, older people. Many aren't tech savvy. They hear about iPads on tv and see people with them. Since iPads are clearly the dominant tablet, that's what a lot of non tech savvy people refer to them as. It's certainly plausible that some people would go to a store and purchase a tablet, only to bring it home and find out from someone that it's not actually an iPad. I've heard so many people refer to any smartphone as an iPhone as well. They just don't know. There are people who are interested and just go out and buy stuff without consulting with anybody, even a store clerk for that matter.

I know this is hard for you to process, but it's a fact. Oh, and the whole car analogy that someone else said is utterly ridiculous. It's not the same as buying a car and thinking its a Mercedes Benz. The group of people I am describing just aren't tech literate.

Rob's comments shouldn't even be dignified with an rebuttal. Everyone here knows that Rob is actually a part of the Geek Squad team. Neglecting his duties and trolling on iMore is how Rob passes the day.

Speaking of which, I'd like to thank Rob personally for keeping me employed through these tough times. Because of Rob and his squadmate's shear incompetence at performing the simplest of duties, I have more work than I can handle. Yes, that's right. Rob breaks it and I fix it.

I'd would like to thank Rob for the opportunities he's created for me. Without incompetent idiots like Rob, I would have never been able to pay off my mortgage in 15 years. Thanks buddy. I could have never done it without you.

Just remember, short bus people are special too.


Perfect examples of the iMore crowd. And typical Apple customers who believe themselves superior intellects. Reality is far different so it's good Apple makes dumbed down products.

Oh & hate to burst your bubbles but I don't work for Best Buy. I just know idiots when i see them. You two are fine examples.

Seriously, I had a co-worker who saw me the other day with my HTC Flyer and asked me how I liked my iPad. So many people just don't know.

I've had that happen to me too with my PlayBook. The difference is that they're just asking us how we like our "iPad" and we explain to them how it's not an iPad and inform them of the difference.

This post is talking about people actually going to best buy, picking up a tablet, walking to the cash, paying for it, going home, opening it, and THEN realizing it's not an iPad.

There's a big difference between those two scenarios. Consumers aren't always the smartest people, but to believe that a large number of people made the mistake of actually BUYING the tablet and not knowing it wasn't an iPad until they got home is a bit far fetched in my opinion.

That's Ludacris. Either those people are hired by Apple just to help drive a nail in the coffin or they are just flat out stupid. In the case of the latter. Those people need to stick with rotary phones and Discmans for their social and media connections.

This is ridiculous. How can you mistake a Galaxy Tab box for an ipod box. The box IDs the device inside as a Galaxy Tab. I call BS on this story. The only way this can honestly happen is if there's misleading statements made by the retailer, and they get the product out of the box.

i say u let a day pass in a best buy store by the returning register and see what happenes? then tell us if this is fake or not... :) have fun...

This happens a lot in emerging markets. Here in Indonesia I frequently see shop windows with iPhone and Samsung boxes side by side - the similarity is ridiculous, and it isn't difficult to sell the cheaper brand as being 'just the same'. These shops pre-fill the devices with pirated apps and games; a lot of these people don't have internet or even a home PC, so the device contents never change.

It is very, very rare to find such shops staffed by people who know what an App Store is, never mind advertise the fact, so people going from dumb old Nokias to a modern smart phone have no idea what the possibilities are.

I was thinking there is no way to confuse an iPad from any other product. Then I realized it could be elected officials buying the products. I could see our congress buying a paper note pad thinking it was an iPad. It could happen.

I think the person just want to get a refund or return the product. You should know that when you want to return something you need to make an excuse so they will accept your return. :-)

I was going to quote "The man who mistook his wife for a hat" line, but now I feel that man's story makes more legal sense than this utter bollocks.

So ur telling me that the customer walk into the store, picked up the tablet, bought it without even taking a few seconds to read the name of the device on the box, walked out with it and realized AFTER opening the box??! And still couldn't read what's on the box WHILE opening it??! Wtf??!! Who would spend hundreds of dollars on something and not know what it is until opening it?? I call complete BS on this story, sorry it's way too far fetched for me to buy.

Most people are stupid. And most of the ones buying at Best Buy are on the lower end of stupid.

But no, like someone else said, they lock these things up. They have to ask to buy them. What really happens is they save money by buying the cheaper tablet thinking they all do the same thing. They get home and find out or are informed that nope, it's not quite an ipad. They then return them saying, sorry, but it's not an ipad.

Heck, that sums up the kindle fire. People hear tablet and think ipad. They order it and quickly find out it's no ipad.

It's probably android fanboy reps that push these crap tablets, and when these people get home they are berry disappointed.

People have been led to believe that iPad is a generic, like Android. They believe it is a category of products. They see a bunch of rectangles that look like iPads, and ask a sales person who is desperate to get some commission. He says it is just like an iPad. It runs all the apps and works the same way, just a lot cheaper than the Apple model. Making certain elements "exactly" like the iPad is done precisely to confuse people into thinking it is a legitimate, iPad generic. That is how everything else is sold. It is exactly how non-tech people think. Apple has tried to make the item unique; Google has tried to make it generic.

Hence the law suits from apple. That's why companies keep up with their branding. The average consumer believes any tablet is an iPad.

Tim Cook actually discussed this the other day, (and it was covered on TiPB):

"And what competition? Apple has seen many tablets. 100s of them over the last year. They've yet to see any of them gain any traction. When it comes to apps and experience, Apple feels most customers aren't looking for a tablet. They're looking for an iPad."

I think Tim would disagree with you, that consumers DO know the difference...and they want an iPad.

The difference between thinking you saw an iPad and in this case buying a tablet thinking it is an iPad is different. Given that you have to ask for the tablet you are purchasing in most stores and especially Best Buy, I doubt that the average customer says "I want to buy this tablet." When the average consumer purchases something, and moreso when they are spending a large amount, they will just say the name of the product or Apple tablet if they want an iPad. I'm thinking that this has more to do with wanting to return a product and quickly coming up with some sort of excuse to return it.

Here's a true story that happened to my mom at a Verizon store last year that I had the pleasure to witness...

She walked in wanting to buy an iPad 2.. The guy across the counter immediately started pushing the Xoom, and I was actually quite baffled by this, as she did quite clearly say iPad 2, and those two product names do not sound similar at all..

.. Until I realized that the Xoom was being served up with a nice two year contract. And the way the salesman was pushing it, he was simply trying to confuse my mother about the products for about 15 minutes (he even used the words, "they are pretty much the same thing"). Had I not been there, she might have actually purchased the Xoom thinking she was getting an Apple product, since the commission-based service rep was pushing it as such. And yes, I know I'm evil for not stepping in right away, I just wanted to see what this a-hole would say to get her money.

In this case, I wouldn't fault her for being misled. It's a different scenario when someone picks up a product and takes it to the register without bothering to read the big "iPad" on the sides of the box. It's quite another when a salesman pushes the contract-based product by making bold comparisons to the iPad that someone not tech-savvy wouldn't immediately understand.

So no, I wouldn't blame Samsung for that. I would guess the fault lies more with Best Buy Mobility, but either way, there isn't enough information to know for sure.

The only thing the iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1 share are that they are thin. They have different aspect ratios, the back says Galaxy Tab, it has Samsung stamped on the front, camera placement is different, and TouchWiz on a tablet definitely does not look like iOS on the iPad.

A likely scenario is, customers show friends and/or family their samsung purchase and they get ridiculed about not getting an the real mcCoy and having to return to the store with a likely story!

I think what most likely happened is that those customers knowingly bought the Samsung tablet thinking they would enjoy the iPad experience without buying the iPad, for whatever reason. I don't think that stupidity is a factor. I mean, seriously, how could anyone not notice the missing iconic Apple logo?

Comparably sized Samsung tablets seem to match the iPad price points; therefore, cost doesn't seem to be the motivation--that is, assuming they'd bought and returned the larger screen tablets.

So, it probably didn't take them longer than 10 nanoseconds after booting the thing up to realize their mistake: That a "tablet" is not an iPad. What to do? Return the beast and declare ignorance.

And it's also possible that Best Buy placed greater emphasis on selling Samsung tablets vice Apple's iPad, especially if they stood to earn a greater share on the sale of a Samsung tablet.

I was "hoovering" the house when I suddenly realized my HOOVER is a MIELE. Shock, horror, what to do? I won't be returning it because it is so much better. Yes we adopt trade names as adjectives and I am sure that most people consider a tablet to be an iPad. Heck, I bet people GOOGLE search even if using Yahoo or some other search engine. Ubiquity my friends.

I've worked with tech illiterate people, but since you have to get assistance from a sales person to even buy a tablet at Best Buy, someone asking for an iPad and getting a Samsung Tablet would have to be dealing with A) An idiotic and illiterate sales person and/or B) Be blind and unable to read "Samsung" or "Apple" on either box themselves in order to mix the two up. It's impossible to mix up the two, unboxed. It's even more impossible to mix them up looking at each one. Even someone who didn't speak English knows the difference between the Apple logo on a box and a box that doesn't have it. So this won't have any bearing on the case. It's just proof that tech illiterate idiots work at Best buy and tech illiterate customers shop there.

More than likely a large number were purchased by non-tech savvy grandparents and wives as gifts, that were returned and exchanged for what the recipient really wanted. Although easy to find now, iPad 2s were constrained for months after release, so I can see a lot of people being convinced that this tablet computer is pretty much the same thing, AND available to take home and wrap up.

Wow. You can't blame on Samsung for people thinking the tablet was an iPad. Its the customer's fault in the first place. They should have checked if it was an iPad. I mean it says iPad on the side of the box! It's not that hard to get Samsung and Apple products to get mixed up. Whats next? People getting the GSIII while they think its an iPhone?

Maybe it's me, but doesn't it show the name "Samsung" on the box? I refuse to believe that anyone spending that kind of money will make such a mistake. Instead of admitting they changed their mind, which they have a right to do, they opt to say that they mistook it for an iPad when the box clearly indicated that the device was a Samsung device. Of course, I have no proof to back my assertion. For those who say that it's possible the buyers didn't know what an iPad was, why in the heck would they be out spending hundreds of dollars on a product they know nothing about? I'm sorry, but I'm not accepting their excuse as legit.

Re: "But seriously, how many people really bought a Samsung tablet thinking it was an iPad..."

All it takes is one. BOOM.

For those who are not getting how this happens:

"Mom/Dad, can I have an iPad?"
"Sure. It will be your Arbor/Bastille Day present!"
*days later*
"Mom/Dad, why did you get me this? It's not an iPad."
"Well it looked the same, and it was cheaper."
"Can we go back together to exchange it and I will show you what I want?"

And this is just one really common one. I'm sure there are lots of others.

Also, I wonder how many of these were on purpose. Just to emphasize the similarities.
Apple in court: "See Judge! All these Galaxy Tabs were (suddenly) returned by people thinking they were iPads!"

I dont know, I would think that the first inclination I was buying a Samsung tablet instead of an Apple iPad is the word SAMSUNG across the back instead of a big Apple. Same as I know I'm not getting a Ford Focus when I buy a Toyota Prius by the word, Toyota. Second indication might be the word Samsung on the box, instead of Apple. I know I'm buying Milky Way instead of Snickers the same way and I dont have to be a candy techie to know which confection I'm getting.

So these people supposedly never saw the box, never saw the back of the device, spent hundreds of dollars and never heard anyone say the name of what they were buying and didn't make sure they were buying what they thought they were.

Okay, I'm not buying it. Either they got it home and the person they bought it for wanted an iPad so they came back and 'bought the wrong one' or they are shilling for Apple. Otherwise on a purchase like that it does not happen. You get a box with a new purchase not just the tablet and every box has the corporate name/logo on it.

So the fact that the box says "Samsung Galaxy" means nothing? These people were idiots. You should know its not an iPad the minute you buy it....If I just spent $500 or more, I know what the hell I'm buying.