Where's the Samsung shaped dent in the universe?
It's not that Samsung doesn't continuously push the limits of hardware specifications and capabilities as much if not more than anyone else. They do. But they do so by systematically, institutionally copying what other vendors have already done first.
Samsung does it to such a degree, and with such a consistency, that it's flabbergasting they can show up in court, swear an oath, and claim anything otherwise. Now they could claim it doesn't matter, that all phones and tablets and icons should look alike, and would be understandable as a strategy. But claiming they don't copy? Absurd.
Before the iPhone, Samsung copied the BlackBerry with the BlackJack. RIM sued, and Samsung changed the name to Jack, but kept the same design. Then, as now, they looked at the market leader and rather than asking how they could make "what's next", they asked how they could make what would be as close as possible "next to" it on a shelf. Rather than setting a course for the future, they set out to subsume the present.
Following the iPhone, when Apple showed the industry what "was next", rather than trying to do to the iPhone, and later the iPad, what Apple did to Palm and BlackBerry, Table PC and netbooks, Samsung conscientiously, deliberately, made their own smartphones and tablets look and work as close to indistinguishably from Apple products as possible. They started with the Instinct and kept right on going with the Galaxy series.
And they didn't stop with iPhones or iPads, either, but shamelessly copied everything from icons to interfaces, plugs to ports, dongles to desktops. They cloned devices, like they had Photoshops's stamp brush made manifest on the factory floor.
This year Samsung introduced the Galaxy S III and began to visually differentiate themselves from Apple. The shape was less a slab and more a river-stone, the charging was inductive, the sharing a physical tap away, and the screen would even ripple like water when you touched it... Just exactly what Palm did with webOS and the Pre back in 2009.
As a gadget lover, even if you love Samsung, even if you don't want to admit it, it's a huge disappointment. A splinter in the mind that mars what are otherwise phenomenal devices. A shadow in the periphery that stops you from enjoying the full light of their accomplishments.
Even if you can rationalize "a black slab is a black slab" it's impossible to rationalize "a yellow flower on blue background icon for photos is a yellow flower icon on blue background for photos", or "the shape of AC adapters, dock cables, and desktop computers are..." well, you get the idea. Even if you can dismiss individual instances as coincidences, when taken as a whole, it's impossible to dismiss the depths of Samsung's unoriginality as anything other than blatant, bold-faced copying.
And lets face it, it works. Hitching their design train to Apple's engine has helped make Samsung the most successful Android manufacturer on the face of the earth, and the only truly profitable one. That is no doubt tremendous incentive, and explains why Samsung did it, and while they'll likely continue to do it.
Copying is inevitable. Great artists steal.
But as someone who marveled at the Handspring Treo, the BlackBerry, the iPhone, the Palm Pre, and the Nexus One, seeing the perpetual lack of innovation exhibited by Samsung is disheartening. Call Apple's litigations "anti-innovation" all you want, but how can you not recognize copying threatens innovation just as much as over-litigation, if not more? How can you not see how its end result is a depressing future filled with me-too products that do everything but delight and inspire?
I'm not ready to be done yet. I'm not ready to concede that the iPhone at Macworld or the Pre at CES are the last time I'll truly be amazed by leaps forward in mobile. I'm not ready to accept a years-long drought filled with cheap knock-offs and increasingly conventional, commodity devices.
I bought and owned a Nexus One. I bought and own a Nexus 7. I'd buy and own another HTC or Motorola Nexus in a heartbeat. I've never had the slightest urge to buy or own a Samsung mobile device -- because I already have a Treo and an iPhone, an iPad and a Palm Pre.
I would love to add a Samsung device to that list, an original, novel, inspiring take on mobile from one of the giants of the industry. The Galaxy Note and the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.1 are a start, but there has to be something beyond "with a stylus". There has to be a Samsung device that could be, for once, at the head of the design curve. A Samsung device that other manufacturers look to for inspiration and take their turn in copying outright.
Regardless of how the Apple vs Samsung trial turns out, that's the challenge Samsung faces. To move from replication to innovation. To take their place as not only a market leader but an industry leader. To stop copying the present and claim a role in shaping the future.
Apple II. Mac. iTunes. iPod. iPhone. iPad. Apple's has done it over and over again. Trinitron. Walkman. Sony has done it too, as have others.
Samsung has a chance next year. No doubt there'll be a Galaxy S4/Galaxy S IV, and no doubt Samsung is already planning it. They have a chance to zag instead of zig, to do something as original as Apple did in 2007 and Palm did in 2009. I sincerely hope they take it.
I hope they put a Samsung shaped dent in the universe.
Get the best of iMore in your inbox, every day!
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.
Use what you learned from the competition and how they did it. Just go build your own and maybe try to do a better job of it.
You could interchange the word Apple for Samsung and your post is just as valid. Apple doesnt own a patent on the rectangle shape. Jobs stole just as many ideas as Samsung - if not more.
Besides, why an American would choose to admire a South Korean company over an American company, the greatest technology company in the history of America, borders on the unpatriotic. Mr. Ritchie, you're an excellent writer and many, many owners of iPads, iPhones and iPods agree with your observations; of which even a blind man would pick up on.
Samsung is nothing more than a technological copycat. That's the point. Anyone who can't admit that is nothing but a covert Apple Hater. " You do realize Apple is every bit of copycat as Samsung right? Go Google Steve Jobs Apple Stealing
And right now, Rene, your opinion shows way, way too much Apple fanboism. (I'm not talking about this editorial alone. Every time I see a post on iMore which I think is 'fanboish' I think in myself, "Hmm, that's probably Rene" and that's the name I see when I scroll to the top.)
likes Samsung a lot. They push Apple and tech in general. But that's why they are so irritating to people that respect good design - they are the "me too" of design. It has nothing to do with originality or who did what first. It's about thoughtfulness which they seem to possess none of when it comes to design.
Just because you think so? Or because there's a logical reason? Re: "copying/similarities in design is inevitable and is the way of the technology world." And the copiers usually pay royalties for the use of patented designs. For example, half of all Android hardware makers pay Microsoft licensing fees. Because they use technology that Microsoft has patented. Didn't know that, did you? Things are complicated in the big city.
Why, exactly, should Apple let competitors profit from Apple's original work?" Thanks for the early morning laugh.
Rene I honestly believe if HTC or Motorola had a phone selling as well as the GS3 right now, they would be in the line of fire as well.
Leo I doubt if he is scripting anything off air.
Obviously Samsung has kept Apple from being the most profitable company in US history. I own Apple products like you do, I just think that Apple is wasting their time and money garnishing negative attention in the courtroom, meanwhile the competitors are literally out innovating them. What the courtroom dramas are showing us is that Apple cannot keep up and are resorting to the lowest common denominator of our courts. I personally will not choose another iOS device if the courtroom aftermath leaves the iOS device as the only product legally available. Call me weird but I want more than one choice when it comes to my purchase. Apple should just continue to make great products and let their merit be chosen by the consumer..
The screen is big and that's nice but man it just cannot take the sun at all. WiFi is hit or miss. connectivity is hit or miss. My BB 9900 has none of these issues and the 4s never did. What is really awesome is you go to the forums for help with these issues and only things you find is, root or mod your phone, that will fix it. Really? so now I am stuck with a hunk of Samsung junk for 2 years. SHOULD HAVE STUCK WITH MY IPhone.
Samsung devices after the iPhone was launched.
of the two phones and pads side by side (or maybe Conan's pic in his video of the same, you'd have the complete, complete picture.
Samsung do indeed make some great stuff, but it always seems to be directly influenced by their immediate rivals.
Why can't they create a killer product first?
That, is the point Rene is making.
To be honest some of the example on here are honestly stretching to be honest. A gear S2 icons don't to me look like an apple watch. "Look my gear s2 is an apple watch! The icons are a copy!" - I don't think so.
The galaxy s6 does not look like an iPhone ! Fair enough the galaxy s1 yep looked like an iPhone and Samsung didn't need to use a 30pin cable like the iPhone. Anyhow my 2 pence. Must be slow news day. Posted via the iMore App for Android
Have Samsung copied apple ? Yes they have that I am not denying but on some of the examples René gives ?no way! Posted via the iMore App for Android
Never mind I am no designer what do I know ? Posted via the iMore App for Android
PS: I said 'set the standards' not 'invent'. Sent from the iMore App
And as so many comments point out
the data and truth can be interpreted many ways, you get bits and pieces from everyone.
Although I agree with you & i'm sure Apple is not perfect either.
But they have push this technology great direction.
Hopefully the courts deside the real truth. Sent from the iMore App
When got my wife her 1st smart phone I got here a Samsung because it was the best looking Android phone out there that was not a iPhone.
Thanks for this amazing post.
Yes, I am total agree with the sentiment that Rene has stepped over the line this year. He has become part of the Apple PR -machine as chief explainer and accuser. In most cases, the facts are weak to nonexisting. So many times we are close to schoolyard bullies territory. http://samsunggalaxys9specs.com/
I would remind that Apple has been convicted using patented IP by Nokia. Right now they are paying every and each month for that. The were convicted for every account in that case. And they were hard patents, not some BS. A within-trial was shown that apple withheld payment to Nokia as an cold and calculated business move.
PS: Don't bring up the Note 7 in this discussion ok? It really caused a 'blast'. Sent from the iMore App
I'm sorry but Apple has been every bit as guilty as to taking ideas of others and calling it it's own. So don't do unto others, what you wants others to do to you. I think that's the price of being the market leader, that people will follow your lead. http://www.appleiphone8updates.com/
If you keep raising the bar because of your sheer innovation ability, trust me the pretenders will fade away eventually because they will always be one step behind. Well, Apple after Steve Jobs is starting to show that, instead of doing continuously raising the bar/setting the trend. They are now acting on defensive by suing anything that remotely looks like a shape.
First of all, it's an amazing post. Thanks For sharing such a beautiful information. Keep It Up!
Yes, they do have some cool software particularly the new suite of S-Pen apps. http://popingapk.com/
I think Samsung has had some little bits of innovation and have stolen from people being from large corporations or small developers. Apple directly stole the most popular iTunes wi-fi sync app from Cydia they even took the exact icon used by the developer on Cydia and made it black and white in the keynote for IOS 5. Which I admit is a small feature that I would imagine is little used anymore. Apple could also have been said to have stolen some of the early notification center layouts will look very familiar to android users.
Despite this ad
http://youtu.be/O99m7lebirE Sent from the iMore App
1. The large screen size (Samsung was the pioneer of the Note idea, and hence majority of the Android OEM and eventually Apple also follow the trend).
2. The S-Pen on both phone and tablet. (Hence you see the Apple Pencil).
3. The split screen and the floating video playback (same features copied by iOS). It is not fair to penalize Samsung on this aspect. Tech industry is not just about one features. It's about the overall package that come with the device. They may borrow some idea from Competitor if they think that is a good idea and customer would like it. The same thing that all other big or small company out there is doing (including Apple).
(2 TouchID visual display - That's ok....... its only a copy if its an 'exact' copy,,,,, but Samsung used different colors..
(3 If u look at web pages then say u can't use my design, i can say "yes i can because the color is different. It's a different shade of blue" for one.