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Samsung re-starts copier, announces Passbook for Galaxy devices

Samsung announced their new Samsung Wallet today. The video above is from frAndroid, and here's Simon Sage's background on it from Android Central:

Samsung has announced a new API for developers to help manage event tickets, boarding passes, memberships, and coupons. Samsung Wallet will be a new application which brings all of these types of content into one place. Time and location-based push notifications will help users get a hold of the ticketing information.

If that sounds -- and looks -- familiar, it's because Apple already announced it back in June of 2012 as Passbook.

It's not the first time Samsung's copied an Apple product, it's probably not even the hundred-and-first, though given their bolder, more authentic releases over the last year, it did seem to be something they were growing out of. Apple isn't adverse to copying features from Android either, though historically they haven't been as consistent or blatant about it.

Like with black slab designs I'm pretty much over any obsession with who's copying who, but I do think this smacks of laziness and a lack of pride.

I'm happy for Samsung users that they'll get to enjoy a feature that's been nifty, if limited so far, on iOS 6. But it shows Samsung really doesn't give a shit. Passbook is certainly not the only way to tackle a digital wallet, and it may not even be the best way. By relentlessly copying, Samsung isn't moving the technology forward. They're not raising the bar. They're not making a wallet interface and experience so good anyone is begging for Apple to copy them.

I own a Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, which have LG and Asus designs, and Google software, and I'm currently waiting for an HTC One (love HTC). I have little interest in Samsung products, and it's mostly because of stuff like this. And I want to have interest in Samsung. I want a better Samsung.

Obviously Samsung's making all the money in Android these days, and their upcoming Galaxy S4 will no doubt be an unprecedented hit, so they probably don't care.

But they really, really should.

Source: frAndroid via Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I use both Android and iOS so I think I'm fairly unbiased. iOS has certainly copied more Android features than the other way around.
  • Please explain this.... I have not seen anywhere near as many instances of Apple copying Samsung.
    Can you give examples without including those from Android? After all, this post is specifically about Samsung. And even if you were to include Android, I think that you will find you are mistaken.
  • Notification Center is one that jumps out at me, and it's a biggie. Facebook Integration counts too I guess, as Android, at least some flavors, sync with Facebook by default. Upgrading the OS from the device itself. While I see this as a copy, and I'll admit that, I don't see any other way this could be done. Apple can't patent the rounded edges, or an app that manages tickets. They can patent "iOS" and "Passbook", even the files that are used by Passbook, but I don't see it as an outright copy.* Samsung isn't claiming to have invented Passbook, but Apple did basically (and no I don't have exact articles as proof) claim to have invented the Notification Center. *A copy just to copy (added in an edit)
  • Notification Center, absolutely. Facebook integration, no, neither over-the-air updates. That all existed before Android. Arguably privacy settings, though I don't think iOS' go far enough yet. I wish Apple would copy Intents or something like it. Copying design, though, is just lazy.
  • Slide to unlock technically isn't apple's either. I agree with the design copy. Could've made it look different. Yes, Samsung copies, but making something that does the same thing isn't itself "copying", and that gets called copying too often.
  • I wish both companies would stop accusing each other of copying features and just accept that they made a good feature and other companies want to use it! They could at least make an agreement like HTC did with Apple.
  • So, ummmm Notification Center bc the other two you mentioned are laughable/straw-grasping at best, even for me, who owns/uses/enjoys both platforms. (I actually prefer HTC on the Android side, but enjoyed my GS2 for about a year, so no ill will towards Samsung) If you're gonna jump in for someone, at least have some decent points in your post B
  • From Android, I can name notifications, folders, multitasking, panorama photos, changing the wallpaper, to name a few. And if you're going with Apple's sue-happy logic, LTE, too.
  • Are you crazy?
    These are the features that you can come up with?
    Are you saying android invented LTE?
    If that is copyin, than you should also consider multi-touch, app store.
  • Steve Jobs did not invent multi-touch. Samsung actually had a multi-touch phone interface before Apple did. He did not invent the app store concept either. Linux distros like Ubuntu have had that concept for a long time now.
  • Tons of examples at The very first post you'll see, click the arrows on the sides and go through the images. Apple has done a ridiculous amount of copying.
  • Exactly my point. Apple didn't invented those things.
    I was replying to @return_0 that if android gets the credit
    For inventing he concepts of things it didn't invented(folders, multitasking, changing the wallpaper and definitely LTE) just because they were first to successfully implement in phones.
    Then apple should also gets the credit
  • Hey, they didn't directly copy. They have "Movie Ticket" - iOS has Fandango. They have "Boarding Pass" - iOS has American, Delta, etc. Starbucks, Target, W, Sheraton? Nope, they have "Membership Card", "General Card" and "Coupon" See? They CAN be original. But seriously, I don't care who copies who. Like you, I am over this "We did it first" pissing match. Who is doing it best for me is all I care about. Hell, for the past couple years, I have been BEGGING for Apple to copy Synergy (partially have), Cards, and JustType from webOS. (Can't wait for those features on my LG TV, where they will be oh so useful)
  • +100 on the 1st sentence in the last paragraph, sums up my feelings on the whole "copying" thing. I don't care who did it 1st, I care who does it the best way for MY usage.
    (Samsung really doesn't do themselves any favors when it comes to stuff like this tho)
  • get over it.
  • Out of all the things to copy, I'm not sure why they zeroed in on something that hardly anyone uses. Here's the thing though for android users, unless it comes from Google, it's just bloatware.
  • Nope, just hardcore Android users (rooters/rommers/hackers/blog types/etc....) bc most average users couldn't even tell u what "bloatware" actually is, let alone care where it came from.
  • That's probably true about average users. But it gets tiring hearing about average users and how stupid they are when it comes to tech. Here we are on a forum dedicated to iOS. If I want to know about what Joe Bob, the average user thinks, I'll go visit certain relatives or friends to see their newest Samsung bloatware sorta android phone.
  • Sooooo... Unless it comes from Apple on an iOS device it's bloatware as well? Glad we got that straight.
  • Of course I'm talking about the OS. Not apps. I assumed this was more junk thrown on by Samsung to modify android.
  • As Rene has talked about on the iMore Show so many times, it's rare that Apple is first with anything...but they are there to make it better. The difference with Apple is they take technologies, and introduce a new approach to workflow and the use of apps to enhance our lives, versus blatant copying. The only reason Samsung didn't copy it exactly is to avoid lawsuits.
  • This is a new workflow. It will work on your android device instead of iOS.
  • Hopefully Google Now will end up doing all of this (it already does flights and movie tickets, but coupons and membership information would be nice) in a less hideous way.
  • I think the iOS notification center is a pretty blatant copy of Android OS and to say otherwise clearly shows Rene's bias towards iOS. I am all for competition, and at times there may well be only a few methods to which you can accomplish some things,say a rectangle phone with rounded corners, wow, that's innovative for say 2007, but in 2013 its pretty much the norm and design has gone that way. In the automotive world you don't see such BS lawsuits as Apple's going on and in fact car companies rely on their marketing and customer interest to drive their product sales. Yet Google had their wallet app which was clearly going to be more than just a POS method so once again they too can build upon what they started before Apple and not be considered a copy cat. Yet Apple can rip off notification center and not be called a copy cat, I call that odd. The best part is, I found Passbook to be useless, it required you to have all of the various merchants apps on my phone which makes it redundant and eats up space, they don't have the carriers or retailers I use or need so really it was a meh product feature.
  • Reading is fundamental. "Apple isn't adverse to copying features from Android either". That covers the fan-boy part. In addition to notification center, can please elaborate everything that iOS has ripped off Android and/or Samsung?
  • Folders, multitasking, wallpaper changing, panorama photos, LTE…
  • Were these not around long before Android?
  • Re: "The best part is, I found Passbook to be useless, it required you to have all of the various merchants apps on my phone..." Do you find the wallet in your pocket useless? Because you still need to carry all those credit cards in it anyway? Or do you find your wallet useful because it lets you keep all that stuff in one place? Or were you just arguing for the sake of mindless argument and/or to hit iMore with Android trollspam?
  • Its all in the same place already.. your iPhone. Except for that one day you need to catch a train to take you to your flight so you don't miss the movie back home that you have a coupon for, its kind of redundant. On that day though it would be quite handy I admit that.
  • I said that in the post, and linked directly to Notification Center. Does that mean I lose my fake biased badge? And yeah, you do see this in other industries. A lot of the stuff you take for granted, even refrigerators, is licensed. Again, I don't care that anyone copies, but as a user, every time they do, we're denied the potential for something better.
  • " it required you to have all of the various merchants apps on my phone which makes it redundant and eats up space, they don't have the carriers or retailers I use or need so really it was a meh product feature." Not *entirely* true.
  • Samsung should have done more to differentiate their wallet app... Well how different can movie tickets look?
  • They should add NFC support. Then instead of copying Apple, they would be leap frogging Apple.
  • Uh oh. Somebody call Apple and tell them, OK?
  • I have no idea what you would consider "not copying" in this context. Is it a copy because it puts potentially unrelated commerce information on a single screen? That is as comically overbroad as the "black slab" issues you claim to be over. Is it a copy because it puts that in a vertical list view? There are only so many ways to order a list, but, if you think a horizontal list would be a differentiating factor, err, sure, I suppose. I would point out in the screenshot that Samsung's version appears to group items conceptually, rather than a completely unordered list, with vertical scrolling between groups and horizontal swipes to move between items in the same group. I'm not sure how valuable that is unless you have a horde of cards at once, but it is a different UI concept, and it implies a level of tagging and organization Passbook does not and will not offer. Is that enough to differentiate it for you, or does the vertical list doom it to be a copy? There also appears to be better access to background processes, which opens up channels Passbook cannot access. How many of these do they need to have in order for you to say they "give a shit." Or can they never add enough, as long as there is a superficial resemblance?
  • That's why you're user name isn't "Designer from TiPb" ;) There are a ton of wallet apps out there. Only two look alike, Apple's and Samsung's. Unless we concede Passbook is the best ever implementation of a wallet-like app, which I'm not willing to do, and obviously Google, Microsoft, and others aren't willing to do, then Samsung took the easy way out. You're also (deliberately?) forgetting the long, long, long, long history of Samsung doing exactly this -- copying Apple. If HTC did this (which they haven't), your argument would hold merit. Right now it just seems uncharacteristically reactionary and apologetic. (Was that appropriately abrasive? I tried to match the silliness of the tone as best I could :) )
  • Abrasiveness is fine -- Lord knows I can be abrasive as well. I also fully concede Samsung's history, and Apple's as well. But you are sidestepping the question. From a *very* cursory view of the announcement and product page, I can count at least two new methods of user interaction is Samsung's implementation, as well as some back end features does not have. Even if Samsung used Passbook as a base model - and I agree they did - that is going beyond what Apple did. I would not go so far as to call it innovative, except in the strict sense that they have created features that did not exist before. How much of that do you require before you consider a company "giving a shit" -- or is a similar base look and feel the only overriding concern?
  • I found the closeness in design more appalling than the closeness in concept. I agree with you there are differences, so why bother making it look like Passbook? Unless Samsung has no idea how to make things look (i.e., no competent design staff), there's no reason S Voice had to look so much like Siri, Wallet has to look so much like Passbook, etc. I'm willing to bet if you gave those features to any competent indie design team, it would end up not only more distinct, but better.
  • Again, the resemblance to Passbook is that there are rectangles, vertically aligned. Point taken. However, within that framework, even visually, there are more differences than similarities. Compared to Passbook, Samsung's Wallet: a) Does not contain overlapping items
    b) Does not extend to the sides
    c) Does not have logos
    d) Does not have gradient treatment
    e) Does not have any lighting effects
    e) Does have control icons on the items in list view
    f) Does contain horizontal groupings
    g) Does have separate items flowing off the left and the right sides. To an item, I think Samsung's changes make their Wallet look worse than Apple's Passbook. But they are visually distinct, unless you feel the broad concept of a vertical list of rectangles is Apple's private property.
  • thank you its like all they see one similarity which is the vertically listed rectangles but forget about the countless other differences lol people see what they want to see
  • the only similarity here is the vertically alligned tickets/cards and one is stacked and the other isnt, does 1 similarity make it a copy or doesnt the fact that there is about 10+ noticeable differences not matter...look at messaging or email apps they have vertically alligned messages but have various other differences does that mean its all copies or maybe thats just the best way to view the imformation..
  • While everyone is acting childish and trying to determine who copied who more, I'm looking at this as a good thing. Right now, Passbook is a useless app taking up space on my phone. Passbook has potential, but there just isn't enough support right now from companies/developers. Now, with Samsung and Android getting in the game, maybe this will spark more interest in apps/services of this kind. This could be a win win, IMO.
  • Look at the skeuomorphism design Samsung is using. I bet the hypocrite Google android sheep who keep complaining about Apples skeuomorphism designs are going to love it though because it's Samsung.
  • I'd say its safe to bet that most people who complain about skeuomorphism didn't even know what that word meant 3 months ago, and didn't realize they didn't like it until they started reading blogs and forum complaints about it.
  • I find it very comical that you would say that Samsung isn't moving technology forward because of this application that has mostly to do with Wallet. I think you had better look at both the latest OS on the iphone 5 and any of the latest Samsung Jelly Bean devices such as SGS3 and the Note 2. The innovation that are in those phones are so far ahead of anything that is in IOS. Every day there is something new that I find. You are obviously a very angry boy. For you to say that Samsung is not helping innovation is so far out in left field, it really shows your jealousy towards Android and Samsung. Copy this, Copy that, come off the crap, IOS is one big copy anyways. Take Google out of IOS and you have a phone without a heart. You should proof read your little articles before sending them out to the readers. It makes you look like an ass. Just my Opinion.
  • Your reply has nothing to do with what I wrote. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, that wasn't my intent. You can love Samsung, and think they're the best thing ever, even if they copy Apple over and over again. Personally, I prefer the Nexus 4 or HTC One. When I want different. I want different. And Samsung gets ZERO credit for Jelly Bean. They're just using Google's code. They get tons of credit for their own stuff. I think the Note line is a great idea, and an example of what Samsung can do when they think and move beyond Apple. I want more of that. Don't you?
  • I'd really be interested in your take on Apple's copying of David Gelertner & Mirror Worlds design that was iOS before there was an iOS. If we are going to keep rehashing this copy business let's air all the dirty laundry that Apple has in the washroom that nobody has held them accountable for.
  • I've seen the lawsuit stuff, any particular design/prior art you're referring to? Like I said, Apple isn't innocent. They got in trouble for ripping off the Swiss Train clock recently. I don't recall anyone denying it. And Apple paid up.
  • Specifically this one; Now I'm not totally up to date on this case in terms of final resolution, & yes you did say that Apple isn't innocent of copying. But I like you don't give a shit anymore (an apt use of that phrase if ever there was one ;-) ). So why keep rehashing the same old arguments?
  • lol he never said samsung gets credit for jb he just said the latest samsung jb devices becasue its those jb devices that have new features like direct call,multi view,pop up play,smart rotate etc etc
    you love to keep on saying samsung copies apples but looking at the last few ios releases what original ideas has apple thought of.
  • There are so many great innovations that Samsung put in their latest devices that add so much to the Jelly Bean OS, that is what I am talking about. Not hurting my feelings but you are just being so petty and coming from someone who writes editorials about these things it shows just how let down that IOS has been to you.Very transparent. The SGS3 and the Note 2 have so many great things in their OS, I find new things every day, Innovation, Innovation and more Innovation, Samsung's definition in Webster's is Innovation. Finally Samsung has moved so far beyond Apple they are barely seeing them in their rear view mirror. Apple customers are always going to be apple customers until they try using Android's top products. Apple better get off the can and on the stick because they need a software overhaul badly. The innovations that Samsung has added to the Android OS makes their top devices a must have in the work place. There are so many great features that push the OS over the top. To me Samsung's features make their line of Android the best. The other Android manufacturers are now using many of Samsung's features in their new phones. Finally Passbook is just a useless application, the only thing I am looking forward to is the Wallet part of the app. You write a big editorial around a useless app that hardly anyone thinks is any damn good to just try to knock Samsung, that is the most comical. The new Wallet feature of Samsung's app is using NFC which you failed to write and I don't think the iphone has added that to their phones.
  • All that work for Rene to "look like an ass" when all he had to do to accomplish that was put a Patriots logo as an avi & write 1 pretentious douchebag comment on a website. FOH
  • Maybe the Samsung version will actually be useful.
  • they're taking what was a good idea from apple and probably making it better than it ever was
  • And u know this how?
  • cuz i'm god. and that's just the american way. it's up to the consumers to decide
  • Historically, that hasn't been the case. S Voice was a dumb copy of Siri. Google Now was a fantastic improvement. Samsung going with a Passbook style wallet, instead of helping Google push Google wallet, is probably a step backwards.
  • so just cause s voice didnt turn out to be all that great(though it is much better now) that means everything else will be poor..
  • No, it means Samsung, both with S Voice and with Wallet, could have chosen to work with Google to put something into Android proper, but has instead chosen to build something separate. Rene may believe, as I do, that Google has show itself to be much better at software (not hardware) than Samsung, and that the resultant competition between Samsung Wallet and Google Wallet will eventually tip in Google's favor. Samsung assuredly had their own reasons for making a separate Wallet -- perhaps Google was moving too slowly, or in a different direction, or that Google Wallet's source is not available to partners in the same way Android system source ie. But, if you believe Google is superior to Samsung in terms of software design and development, it is easy to think Samsung going its own way as a step back.
  • Right and Siri was a direct copy from Vlingo.
  • This is unbelievable. Samsung continues to set the bar lower and lower for integrity and design innovation. Is it just Samsung, or is it the nature of Korean culture, to have no shame in copying design ideas? At least make it look different... SMH...
  • this posted by someone else explains it well
    Again, the resemblance to Passbook is that there are rectangles, vertically aligned. Point taken. However, within that framework, even visually, there are more differences than similarities. Compared to Passbook, Samsung's Wallet: a) Does not contain overlapping items
    b) Does not extend to the sides
    c) Does not have logos
    d) Does not have gradient treatment
    e) Does not have any lighting effects
    e) Does have control icons on the items in list view
    f) Does contain horizontal groupings
    g) Does have separate items flowing off the left and the right sides. To an item, I think Samsung's changes make their Wallet look worse than Apple's Passbook. But they are visually distinct, unless you feel the broad concept of a vertical list of rectangles is Apple's private property.
  • A) Unless Apple is going to make Passbook available on the Play Store, why should Samsung fans have to miss out on that feature?
    B) You mentioned in another comment there are plenty of Wallet apps, but only Apple's and Samsung's look alike. I would disagree; Passbook and S-Wallet aren't really "wallet" apps, since you won't be able to use either in place of cash or debit card.
    C) Why shouldn't Samsung have a chance to do Passbook, but better? You mentioned S-Voice is useless (which I agree with), but who can say S-Wallet will be the same?
    D) Consumers don't lose anything from this. In the end, Samsung is the only real competition Apple has right now. That competitive spirit will lead to a better Passbook, better iOS and Touchwiz, and better phones overall. You don't work for Apple. Other than getting a better product, you aren't affected by this.
  • This might be a bit off topic here. I recently purchased a Samsung SmartTV. Netflix for iOS lists the Smart TV as an airplay device rather than my Apple TV2. How is this possible? I know that Youtube can stream to the Smart TV but only through the Safari browser, not the Youtube app. I've looked online everywhere and haven't come up with anything yet on how is this possible. Help a brother out!
  • similar but not a direct copy you can clearly tell a difference, apples has its card stacked on top of one another where as samsung has what looks like tickets on a page not stacked but seperated and if you look at it close it looks like you can swipe left and right on some tickets to show more tickets..this is the equivalent of saying all messaging apps look the same.
  • As an Android adept I would just like to say that I feel the exact same way about Samsung and your story is spot on imho :-) (and I don't feel like that very often but I keep reading iMore for a different perspective)
  • I think this might be the lamest discussion I've ever read...bunch of useless yapping about who copied who and cries for accountability. Please! Who cares?! Do you get rewarded for being right? I think we can all agree on two things: 1) We all like to see every company innovate beyond what's available. 2) Even if things are copied, increased exposure of a potential or realized benefit is a good thing as it solidifies the attractiveness in the marketplace to adopt. Let's have more wallets...copied or fresh. We'll have more merchants using the capability which will save us time. I've been thankful for Passbook ...have used without a problem at Starbucks, Amtrak and Target. And, let's hope Apple, Samsung, HTC, Google, et al continue to push the boundaries. Now, instead of useless arguing, how about some great ideas on how to make Passbook & Wallet even better???
  • I honestly don't understand how people get butt hurt when an obvious copy is done so blatantly. Samsung ripped off of Apple with this plain and simple. its not difficult to see why. When someone says this please lets step back for a second and see the reasons why. When someone also says it is a copy doesnt mean Android as a whole is under fire. People need to stop trying to counter with "Oh Apple does it too" because its obvious Apple has coppied as well, but it still doesnt change the fact that Samsung did what they did and it happened. And for those who are wondering what device I use, I use a Nexus 4, only use Android and always will. I love my OS of choice but it is what it is
  • This app has so many issues, the complaints are too many to name, the way it runs in the OS is the true barometer. The problem everyone is having is Renee jumping on this pathetic app and calling out copy, copy. You don't see many Writers on other sites calling out Apple and there are so many things to call them out on. I am no way conceding that this app from Samsung is copied, I am just making a point. Renee wrote this piece, he is always the first writer to try to rip Samsung. Samsung has so many new innovations they incorporated into the Android OS, the features are just too many to list. It is so obvious that Renee is butt hurt over this subject. It is comical that he jumps on one of the worst IOS apps and yells copy when the app isn't even out yet. Come on Renee, take a freaken vacation and get a grip. The new SGS4 will be out soon and I'm sure that all the new features that Samsung has implemented will all be copied from Apple's secret Vault that They broke into. hahahahahahahahahahahahahh