Enough with the Samsung bashing

Samsung Electronics did about $140 billion in revenue in 2011. They’re the biggest tech company in the world by revenue. They make everything from cameras to telecom gear to TVs. They are also the second-biggest semiconductor company in the world and even make the microprocessors for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Samsung has 160,000 employees, and 40,000 of them work in R&D. There are Samsung design centers in seven cities around the world. And, just recently, Samsung leapfrogged Apple to become the biggest seller of smartphones in the world.

So I wonder sometimes if people at Samsung resent the way Apple and its cadre of increasingly nasty fanboy bloggers keep deriding Samsung as some kind of backwater knock-off shop, a cheap Asian cloner that, as Apple put it in a lawsuit, “slavishly copied” Apple to make its products. To hear Apple and its fans tell it, Samsung is the high-tech equivalent of those factories in China that crank out fake Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags to be sold on Canal Street in New York.

The latest example is on Daring Fireball, a blog penned by John Gruber, a hardcore Apple fanboy. Responding to news that Samsung just turned in a barnburner fourth quarter, Gruber wrote:

So Jony Ive leads the design team at the two most-profitable phone makers. Impressive.

This is typical snarky Gruber stuff. But it’s so arrogant and patronizing that when I read it was brought up short. Because I realized, this guy isn’t joking. Gruber and people like him really believe that Samsung just sits around making copies of Apple products. In their view, Apple is the fountain from which all creativity flows, and Samsung just follows behind, stealing their ideas.

Thing is, over the summer I had a chance to use a Samsung Galaxy S II. That phone could not have been a copy of the iPhone 4S because it came out nearly a half a year before the 4S. But maybe the GSII was a clone of the iPhone 4? Sure enough, they are remarkably similar devices, except for a few tiny details — like the fact that the GSII has a much bigger screen, a faster processor, more RAM, a better camera, an NFC chip, FM radio, a removable battery, a MicroSD slot and support for MHL. Oh, and it’s thinner and weighs less. The screen technologies are different. The cases are different. The GSII is plastic, with no stainless steel wrapper, no glass back panel, no metal volume buttons and no metal toggle switch for muting.

Otherwise, okay, total knockoff.

Even after the iPhone 4S shipped, most of the differences remained in place. Apple caught up in the camera department. But the GSII is still thinner and lighter, with a bigger screen, faster processor and more RAM. If the GSII is a Jony Ive product, you have to wonder why he’s saving his best work for the employer that doesn’t pay him.

The differences become wider (literally) with two newer devices from Samsung — the Galaxy Nexus, which is even bigger than the GSII, and the ridiculously ginormous 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, which is about to arrive in the U.S. Apple purists no doubt find the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note appalling. But a lot of people love them. De gustibus non disputandum est, as they say. These devices certainly can’t be called knockoffs — Apple doesn’t make anything like them. If anything, with these new phones, Samsung is pushing the envelope on form factor and taking more risk than Apple.

You might be shocked to learn that Samsung actually employs its own designers. Back in the early 1990s Samsung recognized the importance of industrial design and started hiring hundreds of designers and building design centers around the world — Seoul, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Milan and Shanghai. Here’s a BusinessWeek article from 2004 describing Samsung’s efforts. Samsung also reached out to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to set up an in-house university for Samsung designers. Samsung sent young designers around the world (Florence, Milan, Egypt, India, Paris, Frankfurt) to tour museums and study architecture. They sent people to work in fashion houses, cosmetics companies and furniture makers in Europe.

These articles are worth a read, if only to see that Samsung has been building toward this for a long time. In fact for the past few years has been winning a lot of awards for design — sometimes even more than Apple.

Sure, Apple fans make a pretty good case that some Samsung products look a lot like Apple products. But when Apple scored a victory in Germany against the Galaxy Tab, Samsung quickly made a minor change that a judge indicated would be sufficient to get out from under Apple’s complaint. Samsung, meanwhile, alleges that Apple has stepped on its patents. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung are going to take a long time to play out, and it’s foolish to try to predict the outcome.

Apple has been making essentially the same phone, with the same 3.5-inch screen size, since 2007. It’s a great phone. But Samsung is making dozens of phones and experimenting with different form factors. They must find it rich to have Apple, with its one design, accusing Samsung of lacking fresh ideas. Samsung must also love it when Apple, which can’t manufacture its own chips, or any components for that matter, has the chutzpah to slag off the engineering prowess of the company it relies upon for microprocessors. Samsung’s flagship devices — GSII, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note — bear no resemblance to Apple’s iPhone. No one would ever confuse one for the other. Inside the case they’re even more different. Dismissing Samsung as a bunch of thieving cloners is ridiculous and stupid, and only proves one thing: Steve is gone, but the reality distortion field lives on.

187 Responses to “Enough with the Samsung bashing”

  1. HN

    Extremely well written.

    I’m no Samsung fanboy, by any stretch, although I do own a GSII. However, the attacks on samsung have left me stunned. There are few (large) companies less innovative than Apple, yet they are constantly lauded for it, while few (large) companies more willing to expand and take risks than Samsung, yet they are constantly attacked.

    Excellent piece.

  2. Chris

    Nice article Dan, your blog is probably the only one I consistently read to completion anymore.

    I agree the Samsung bashing is a bit tired at this point; however, I also think that beyond proving the distortion fields continued existence, it proves what some pretty blatant copying can do to a companies reputation. I know Samsung isn’t going to get many Apple fanboys to jump from iOS to Android and they clearly don’t need them to. Samsung is doing a great job “pushing the envelope” and competition will only lead to better products from both sides.

  3. Thomas S.

    And that’s the point!

    Want some more:
    - charger: http://9to5mac.com/2011/09/24/oh-samsung-you-are-making-this-too-easy/
    - “Dock-like” connector

    Samsung’s devices alone are one thing, their marketing is another. They would like their customers to believe that they are “like Apple” but without the “walls”.

    BTW, Samsung hardware (TVs, but some smartphones too) often looks precious on products shots, but on a closer look they are made of cheap plastic (not glass) and cheap metal (not alu/stainless steel).

  4. Zato

    “Gruber and people like him really believe that Samsung just sits around making copies of Apple products. ”

    Dan, all you do is sit around bashing Apple. You’re a professional anti-Apple propagandist.
    You also know nothing about the inner workings of Samsung. Anyone who does will tell you that what sells in Asia is whatever is as close to the Apple original as possible.

  5. vikram333

    “Samsung must also love it when Apple, which can’t manufacture its own chips, or any components for that matter, has the chutzpah to slag off the engineering prowess of the company it relies upon for microprocessors” – Sorry Dan, this is a strawman that you arguing against. No one is “slagging” Samsung’s engineering prowess and Apple has never done so.

    Rather, what people are pointing out is the fact that Samsung is ripping off the packaging, the basic design aesthetic – saying that the Galaxy II came 6 months before the iPhone 4S is entirely disingenuous when the 4S looks like the iPhone 4 which came out well before the Galaxy. Take a look at the Samsung box and packaging, the print ads etc… and it is impossible to think that Samsung isn’t aping Apple. The cables and cords were redesigned to look like Apple’s (except in black). Samsung does have a bigger screen and USB memory and a few differentiating factors but it is pretty clear that they are doing everything that they can to mimic Apple.

    As for the internals, obviously they are different but Apple isn’t claiming that Samsung is copying internal components, they are pointing out that Samsung is trying to sell products that look like Apple’s.

    Sorry Dan, Samsung deserves all the scorn that they are getting. I recall when the Motorola Razr feature phone came out and Samsung knocked them off with a near identical model at the time that was quite shameless. I believe that Motorola sued them then for the same reasons Apple is doing it.

    (by the way, Apple’s phones tend to outperform Samsung’s even with Samsung having put in more RAM etc… Apple’s processors are more efficient and beat Samsung in PERFORMANCE bench tests. The A5 which came out in March is faster than what Samsung used later in their SII in terms of measurable performance – see the many Anandtech article proving the point.)

  6. Watcher

    Granted, Gruber’s constant passive aggressiveness is tiring. And good for Samsung trying to bring variations on the hardware side, after first mainly copying and cloning.

    Still, there’s the not unimportant area of software and user experience. Can’t see anyone beating or even not copying Apple there (apart from Microsoft).

  7. Ed

    jony ive stole a lot of his Apple designs from Dieter Rams, a German designer working for Braun. Apple should be happy that Rams doesn’t like to sue as much as Apple does.

    So, if we should be as childish as Gruber, then Rams having been copied by ive, is also responsible for Samsung’s designs (at least some of them).

    Rams really should get more recognition than he has.

  8. techy

    Samsung for sure does copy the design. But, it is providing cheaper(slightly) alternative to iphone/ipads. Yes, A5 has better performance because the SW is what is differentiating.

  9. Jason

    Nice one Dan,

    The Apple fan boys really do make me sick. They talk about the likes of Samsung and Microsoft (and to a lesser part Google and Facebook) are some kind of mom and pop shops. These businesses are very successful companies with employing a great majority the worlds stock of really talented designers, engineers and business people who make a product that that millions of people around the world enjoy and that businesses rely on.

    If you challenge one of these Apple drones they will no doubt try and defend their tribal fanboyism simply due to the fact that they have simply been sucked into the Apple marketing vacume.

    Also the large majority of these fanboys have been so sucked into the Apple machine they really do think that Steve Jobs himself built every-single-one iPhone and that Jony Ive was the one and only sole person responsible for the design of the Apple trinkets. Their blinked views of the world thru Apple shaped glasses even results in the Appdrones disregarding the 1000s of unknown yet critical Apple employees.

  10. motionblurred

    So the Meizu M8 is not a clone because it has different specs?

    This is a joke but what else can we expect. It asks you not to suspend belief and ignore the obvious. Who really cares which designers Samsung hires if the end result is an Ive imitation?

    >Apple caught up in the camera department.

    Funny, I’ve never read any review that said the GSII had a better camera than the iPhone 4. From what I’ve seen the GSII camera is slower, worse in low-light, noisier and doesn’t handle taking photos well at close range. It does have more MP so I guess the specs are more important than the image quality!

    > But the GSII is still thinner and lighter, with a bigger screen, faster processor and more RAM. If the GSII is a Jony Ive product, you have to wonder why he’s saving his best work for the employer that doesn’t pay him.

    Odd that you don’t mention that the GSII has a lower res display on a larger screen which further reduces the pixel density. Oh well, I guess it’s only about the specs that meet a particular talking point. By the way, why is the browser slower and reders poorly on the GSII with those ‘superior’ specs compared to mobile Safari?

    We should all chastise Ive on not using cheap plastic instead of glass and steel.

  11. Zurkram

    Bottom line, Samsung and other company’s wait to see what Apple is going to do and then copies them. Prime example? Ultrabooks.
    It’s true, get over it!

  12. James Randall

    Dan “SCO credibility” Lyons hits another “slam dunk”! Way to go Dan!

  13. John Keogh

    Come off it, Dan, these Samsung products look exactly like iPads and iPhones. There is no way they would have been produced if Apple had not done so first.

  14. Rami Yoakum

    All those self-righteous fanboys are exactly the reason I won’t spend one dime on any Apple product.

  15. @adambanksdotcom

    Apple and Xerox had a business arrangement under which Apple sold shares to Xerox in return for limited access to PARC. I just mention this because the often repeated and perfectly reasonable suggestion that Apple “copied” ideas from Xerox seems to have morphed into “stole”, which can’t be true: you don’t pay for what you steal.

  16. @adambanksdotcom

    (Hey Dan/Dan’s web guy, when I click “Reply to this comment”, shouldn’t my reply appear indented under that comment, not at the end?)

  17. Tad


    Dan, seriously, c’mon man. You can’t have an IT/tech-based blog with a broken comment system. When the only mode of community-based interaction you have on your site is broken, it kind of shows what you think of your readership and their opinions. Ultimately, says a good bit about you as well.

    Flame on!

  18. David Abraham

    Samsung is a great company. But they’ve certainly crossed a significant threshold in appropriating Apple’s marketing and design aesthetic to great advantage. Who knows if that’s wrong or right or “just business”, I don’t care…but it is true.

    …and of course Dan you know this :)

  19. Sam

    Samsung does some things well – no doubt. But still it’s clear that they copied a lot from Apple. And it does not help to just use a bigger screen or a dual core (which you really need for Android to be as smooth as iOS) to be called an “innovator”.
    Samsung has nice TVs but the UI is so unusable and slow.

  20. Peter Daly

    How many logical ways are there to make a wrapper around an LCD screen!? An LCD screen is black when it’s off, making black the obvious choice for the rest of the bezel.

    Apple’s fighting over this stupid and wrong.

    This is not the article I expected to read based on the headline. There are PLENTY of things to give Samsung a hard time about, and they deserve to be harassed for some of their actions, but I fully agree on the design points of this article.

  21. Norm

    “Apple has been making essentially the same phone, with the same 3.5-inch screen size, since 2007. But Samsung is making dozens of phones and experimenting with different form factors. They must find it rich to have Apple, with its one design, accusing Samsung of lacking fresh ideas”

    Screen size is not the root of the argument of Apple vs Samsung, so mentioning this here is irrelevant. Physically speaking, the iPhone4/4s is greatly different than the 3G/3Gs (so it’s not just one design overall).

    Sure, Samsung has more designs out there, which illustrates Apple’s philosophies versus Samsung’s; Apple prefers not to pump out a new phone every two weeks, and instead keep focusing on one phone a year, but putting tremendous effort in quality, refinement and consistency in the user experience. Samsung by contrast (and you may as well lump HTC and friends in there as well) prefers to flood the market with tons of crap, causing android fragmentation (due to specialized android modifications that manufacturers [like Samsung] won’t bother putting effort into maintaining in many of its older models) and consumer confusion.

    “But the GSII is still thinner and lighter, with a bigger screen, faster processor and more RAM…”

    The only reason Samsung’s (and other android handset makers) phones have faster processors and more RAM is because Android is a bloated OS that pretty much requires these to run more efficiently. But because Apple only has a small set of phones to focus on (remember, Apple doesn’t flood the market with tons of crap, so they can afford to do this), they make the iOS as lightweight and streamlined as possible, thus removing tons of un-needed bloat. Gizmodo did a nice write-up on this:


    (and before people start bashing Gizmodo over this, it is important to note that Apple has blacklisted Gizmodo over the orginial iPhone 4 prototype fiasco… so it isn’t like Gizmodo is ass kissing or anything).

    Now while Apple is moving into quad processors and probably more RAM in the future, it will undoubtedly have nothing to do with iOS and more to do with increase in display resolution and offering developers more power to play with.

    “Samsung must also love it when Apple, which can’t manufacture its own chips, or any components for that matter, has the chutzpah to slag off the engineering prowess of the company it relies upon for microprocessors”

    Nikon, while it designs its digital SLR sensors, has someone else (probably Sony), doing the manufacturing. Does this make Nikon engineering weak? No. Not all companies want to invest in fabrication manufacturing. Sometimes, it makes more sense to contract it out. So Apple is in this boat.

    Overall Dan, with all due respect, your article is weak in argument and quite frankly doesn’t hold much water.

  22. Stefan

    Designers (in all sorts of industries) copy a lot and often. But you need to copy whilst adding advantages. Like, Zara copies but makes the clothes a lot cheaper. Like, architects copy the leading designers whom you couldn’t afford to hire on buildings that are much smaller and cheaper. You see something, think, whoa, that’s great/sexy/successful, and you do the right thing and copy it. But please try to add something that makes it a better copy, a more advantageous copy. In other words, show that you’re also got something to contribute. So like, the original Mac copied a lot, but also added a bunch of stuff, and aimed at making the Xerox system a lot cheaper and accessible. So we can praise Samsung for the ways in which they are genuinely improving things. Everything is sorta a copy or recombination of something with something added. Apple did improve with a design for a phone that, sure, incorporated a lot of existing stuff, but added some stuff to also make the whole package better or more successful or more focussed on certain things, like the responsiveness of the touch interface. Work hard at copies. Make them better copies. What we don’t like, is lazy copiers, the companies that just say, OK, we’ll make a slightly worse copy and charge the same and try to ride on the success of the thing we’ve copied. People will come to their own perceptions of whether Samsung has copied and improved for the consumer, or whether they are verging more towards simply copying something successful as the quickest way to make a buck, without even trying to leap forward. But even if the latter, who can blame them — the iPhone didn’t tank in the market, and who wants to spend years developing the next thing like BB and end up broke? Samsung could have lots of innovative stuff around but they need to ship stuff NOW and don’t have two years to sit around in studios and dream up the next big thing. See, none of these companies can copy the incredible luck Apple had with their timing. Apple stepped in just at the point the technology got good enough to make something like an iPhone. Windows phones were too early, aping a Desktop. BB PlayBook was too late. Samsung has to get in there now and that’s what they’re doing.

  23. Todd

    So, who can name that one awesome Samsung phone that was a lot like an iPhone before the iPhone was released? You know, the one with all the core ideas that they came up with themselves?

    And Stefan, the Playbook was not too late; it doesn’t even have email a year later, and that means it sucks. Period. Saying it’s too late ignores its gaping flaws that were an insult to customers.

  24. dasdas

    Outstanding post Piers. The link you provided tells the real story. This article is garbage.

  25. Walt French

    Exactly. There’s not a single website in the whole galaxy that promotes Androids or BlackBerrys or Nokias, extolling their virtues (real or imagined).

    Case in point: you’d never see anybody for instance extolling a Samsung device with extremely selective reading of specs and results.

    Great call that you are so savvy about this self-righteousness. Genius-level logic, I’d say!

  26. Eric S. Mueller

    I’ve tried to read Gruber a few times. I never could get into his writing. He only enters my mind when people like you complain about something he wrote.

    You’re right; Samsung has a huge portfolio of products. I’ve had plenty of good Samsung products. The only phones of theirs I’ve owned were the BlackJack II and Epix, which were my last straws with the Windows Mobile platform. I liked the concept of the Epix, but it ended up with hardware and Samsung drivers that were just as problematic as Windows Mobile itself.

  27. Walt French

    “All those self-righteous fanboys are exactly the reason I won’t spend one dime on any Apple product.”

    Exactly. There’s not a single website in the whole galaxy that promotes Androids or BlackBerrys or Nokias, extolling their virtues (real or imagined).

    Case in point: you’d never see anybody for instance extolling a Samsung device with extremely selective reading of specs and results.

    Great call that you are so savvy about this self-righteousness. Genius-level logic, I’d say! (Right up there with the commenting system’s)

  28. Walt French

    Dan, please DO go on and tell us all how Samsung’s shipbuilding, construction, life insurance, investments, theme parks and other diverse activities bear on findings by US judges that Samsung has illegally copied Apple designs.

    That should exculpate their violation of US laws how, exactly?

  29. myardor

    So Ford should sue all auto companies cause all cars look like Fords? ie 4 wheels, steering wheel, front and rear seats, motor, transmission, belts, etc etc?

  30. samiam

    It’s one thing to be inspired by, another thing to completely rip. A subtle difference to you maybe, not to everyone however.

  31. fjpoblam

    Hey, no Samsung bashing here. I’ve been using their products for a long time, starting with dumb phones. My Samsung dumb phones were the best—both in design/ease of use and durability, and I was very miffed when $Verizon$ dropped them. I had to switch to LG then Motorola (ick).

  32. Simon

    I wonder what you would do when i keep copying your articles, now and then altering it a little bit.

    The design is a BIG part of Apple devices, sometimes even more than bigger screens, better camera’s or more memory. So just like Nike would sue Adidas for making a shoe that looks the same (but maybe from plastic instead of leather), Apple sues Samsung. Not only because it’s the gut feeling you get when someone steals your work, it’s also because they have to protect what they are. They spend money creating the design, the feel, the brand.

    Samsung is perfectly capable of making their own designs, so why don’t they just stick to those.

  33. Marco

    Samsung copied Apple. Period. So now they have to put up with the bashing. It’s what they decided to do. If that is deserved or not, it’s a matter of opinion.

  34. shane blyth

    The problem with “Fanboys” is they are no longer restricted to Apple.
    I hate fanboys myself that are stupid and brainless drones as you say, but the point is there are plenty of them that are drones that follow Android or other companies and platforms. Its good to keep a balance. Apple has done some great designs yes some ideas copied of course, everyone copies thats true and its a good thing if kept within reasonable bounds. I think the only reason that Samsung has got such a big smack in the head recently is quite valid and they probably in some ways did it on purpose just to get the press. Any press is generally great advertising. It cant be denied that when you even copy the box and how it opens and those details or start using the same actors in an advert that hey something is going on here. Any reasonible no tech normal human would say thats going a bit far isnt it. I love Samsung Tv’s but I’m not that great a fan of their phone hardware I prefer HTC hardware as it feels better engineered to me and there Sense UI design seems original but no doubt they got that idea from somewhere else.

  35. Edwin

    Funny to see Apple heads not struggle with both being appalled by Samsung design while calling it derivative.

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  37. sagitarrius

    The Samsung bashing is quite unreal. considering, that Samsung does a ton of manufacturing for Apple’s chips and screens.

    There is also lots of dirty underhanded play involved as well. When Apple is paying hundreds of people to be internet warriors to trash other companies. Especially close rivals like Samsung.

    There is also racism involved as well. Since the perception seems to be that Asian companies can’t possibly be more innovative than white anglo american companies like Apple

  38. Matt

    racism? *no one* accuses Sony of ripping off anyone.

    That’s a low thing to hide behind.

    Samsung literally copies & pastes the icons Apple produces. they are the only major company in the tech industry that thinks this is okay.

    Sure–any particular detail that looks similar between Apple and Samsung products are debatable. But there’s no other company that actually makes pixel for pixel copies. If they’d stop doing that then people would shut up.

  39. Bryan

    I would love to write a response that in some way defends Apple, but what’s the point? If you defend Apple in any capacity, well you’re just a fanboy so who cares what you think? I never once saw Gruber say that all Samsung did was copy Apple. Not once. But to say they in no way have copies many things from Apple is delusional.

    Drat. Sorry. Just a fanboy after all right Dan?

  40. Ken Berger

    Samsung is a Korean company known for making very high quality copies of established products. This pre-dates their coping of Apple and goes back to the Sony days. Their strength is and always has been the rapid ramp of 2nd generation manufacturing technologies.
    That is how they go tho the top of the LCD TV business. They are a great company but not an innovative company, they are the best at what they do, but to confuse their success and capabilities with the idea that they are originators or products, designs or markets is crazy thinking.

  41. Gustav

    Actually, Apple “fanboys” can and do defend their arguments all the time. You Apple-hating trolls just run in, call them a bunch of fanboys with no real information to support your statement, and then leave before considering their reply (or their evidence they produce in the purpose). You trolls are the online equivalent of holding your hands over your ears and yelling “LA-LA-LA I an’t hear you! fanboy!”

    Gruber has defended the fanboy accusation quite well. Go read it if you are really interested in having a mature debate. But I doubt you will – you’re more interested in your pompous fanboy labelling than the actual truth.

    Grow up.

  42. Alice Bevan-McGregor

    There’s a really important point struggling to get through this fanciful diatribe. “Back in the early 1990s Samsung recognized the importance of industrial design and started hiring hundreds of designers and building design centers around the world…”

    Well, there’s your problem! Is it no wonder that Samsung:

    a) Has very little consistency of design.
    b) Ships more models than you can shake a stick at with utterly pointless (and user-opaque) differences of purpose and function.
    c) Consistently seems to be stealing a purity of design from Apple.

    There’s no denying several of Samsung’s current and future product line-ups bear striking resemblances to past and present Apple products. Comparing the guts and not the shells of the products is misleading when the products, held in your hand, are obviously (though distantly) related. Glass, steel and aluminum trump plastics in terms of feel, however.

    As for technical specifications themselves, well, Apple proves how successful you can be when you stop trying to flaunt completely meaningless statistics in order to confuse users. The fact that a 400MHz original iPhone can scroll smoother than any modern (1-1.5GHz dual core) Andriod phone is just one of those shameful facts. UX matters, not specifications.

    Pro-Apple? Anti-Andriod? I like to use things that “just work” and otherwise stay out of my way. I switched from Windows to Linux in the late ’90s, then Linux to Mac because, lo, being your own systems administrator when your job is something else entirely is too much of a pain in the rear end. Android’s not very good at staying out of the way. The UX is jarring. Applications are terribly inconsistent. There is little to no trust of the app market. The fact that anti-virus software is rising on that platform is NOT a good thing. It’s yet another in a line of indicators that something is terribly wrong. (And don’t get me started on the “openness” that working with a single vendor partner during development, then “allowing” the others to catch up and fix bugs, THEN releasing the source to the public implies.)

  43. Sam

    Carry on people, nothing to see here, especially at that link (we don’t want reality to impede our discussion of “fanboys”)

  44. Gustav

    Rami Yoakum: “All those self-righteous fanboys are exactly the reason I won’t spend one dime on any Apple product.”

    Mature, intelligent people buy products based on the utility and experience they provide, weight against price and other meaningful factors.

    But if you want to be the type of person that buys something because of how other people you don’t even know think of it based on the brand name, go ahead. But honestly, such shallow reasoning sounds a bit fanboyish to me, don’t you think? You’re worse than the so-called “fanboys” you accuse Apple customers of being.

  45. Gustav

    There are lots. Just go into a Best Buy and look at all of the laptops. There are plenty that don’t look like Apple’s.

  46. Stephen R. Smith

    “John Gruber, a hardcore Apple fanboy” – How is it that someone who’s in the professional news business still refers to people who have an honest bias as a ‘fanboy’?

    Don’t like Gruber? Fair, I’m sure lots of people don’t. Don’t agree with his journalistic viewpoint? Also fair, I’m sure there are lots of people besides Gruber that don’t agree with you. But fanboy? Can we please put this back into the grade-school vernacular where it belongs and try using grown up words?

  47. Petar Popov

    Firstly, I don’t think that Dan is reading the comments, neither did I. But I want to point something out – it is one thing to be fanboy, it is completely different to be a blind amateur with and opinion.

    Also, everyone that claims to be professional is obligated to do some research before say something stupid. You know, like using Google for instance. :)

  48. Eric

    Lyons calling Gruber a fanboy. That’s rich. If there’s anyone out there in the blogosphere who is an Apple fan, but who also bends over backwards to give the competition a fair shake it’s Gruber. At least at any popular tech blog.

    Lyons must still be smarting from his loss of fans when his Fake Steve Jobs gig went sour and his animus towards Apple was made plain to the blogosphere. To cast Gruber as a fanboy rather than to really take on Gruber with faces proves Lyons is a poltroon.

  49. Peter

    C’mon Dan – Samsung has cross the line a bit recently, surely anyone with a reasonably objective eye can see this.

    And you’ve shot yourself in the foot here Dan – your comment about the Galaxy S II not being a copy of the iPhone 4S is embarrassing – the Galaxy S II isn’t a copy of the iPhone 4S, it’s a copy of the earlier iPhone 4 (you may have noticed the 4 & 4S look a little alike).

    As for those who comment about how the arrogant fanboys put them off Apple products; take a look in the mirror people. Who has the bigger problem, you or those who love their iMacs and iPads? I suspect that you’re just looking to find an excuse to avoid Apple and maintain your own prejudices – and that’s at least as sad as blind allegiance.

  50. Eric

    That’s about the lamest argument I have ever heard. Ive was inspired by the design ethic of Rams’ work at Braun. But show us one single product Braun makes that looks or works anything like ANY Apple product.

  51. Chris

    “You might be shocked to learn that Samsung actually employs its own designers.”

    I am shocked. What to they do all day, browse the Apple Store?

  52. zot3000

    Regarding Ken Berger´s post, about Samsung copying before Apple, this is completely true. For example, if you do a search in Google for ¨Samsung C3322¨ and ¨Nokia 6300¨ you will see that Samsung just copied the design of that very successful Nokia phone.

    Dan, I used to love your articles but this is one is really bad.

  53. Murphy Mac

    “Apple has been making essentially the same phone, with the same 3.5-inch screen size, since 2007.”

    - and –

    “like the fact that the GSII has a much bigger screen, a faster processor, more RAM, a better camera, an NFC chip, FM radio, a removable battery, a MicroSD slot and support for MHL.”

    So Dan – internals DO matter – or they don’t?

  54. Meester Bleester

    Samsung copied Apple because their engineers were under intense time pressure to produce something, and their upper management was too dumb to realize the implications (if they realized at all). In other words, it wasn’t a planned conspiracy, it’s what happens when you tell a bunch of engineers, “Quick! Catch up!”. In fact, I bet the dizzy managers didn’t consider that they would loose Apple’s manufacturing business, or much of anything else, when the original phones were designed.
    Now that Samsung’s smart phone process has matured, you see the results of UX design first (e.g. the GSII). I doubt you’ll see much more copying of Apple. But I call bullshit when you suggest that there Samsung didn’t copy Apple. The evidence is abundant.
    I also call bullshit that most Android buys are making a conscious decision. What makes you say that? You could say most iPhone buyers are making a conscious choice, because everyone knows what an iPhone is. You could say most GSII buyers are making a conscious choice, because it’s a damn expensive phone, not something you just buy on a whim. But I think 3/4ths of Android buyers have no idea they’re buying an Android. They can’t tell you the difference between Android or Symbian or Meego or Windows Mobile. They’re buying a phone because their mobile plan qualifies them for a free phone. They will never use email, or web browsing, or wifi. For evidence, I point you to the latest reports of app purchases and web browser stats.
    While it’s fair to call Gruber and Uber Apple Fanboi, you sir and an Uber Apple Hater. You really want to see them go down, don’t you? Why is this?

  55. Nae

    This is a terrible article. You’re trying way too hard to make Samsung look better than Apple. Seriously, to imply that Samsung hasn’t copied Apple quite a bit is totally ridiculous. No one said Samsung wasn’t doing any original work, but they have (and will most likely continue to) blatantly copied Apple. And to think that people sit around believing that Samsung does nothing more than make copies of Apple products is just an asinine statement.

  56. kibbles

    ed – please show us a single Braun smart phone or media player that resembles an Ive-designed product. thanks!

    meanwhile, ill show you many Samsung products that look identical to Apple-designed products:


  57. kibbles

    dan lyons is a tool. he is too easy to make fun of on Macalope.

    Gruber said it best:

    “I’ve also never made nor seen anyone else make the argument that Apple is the only company doing original work. This is just another case where the person wielding the word fanboy is the one making the over-the-top head-in-the-sand unreasonable argument.”

    durrrrr. My name is Fake Steve–er, Dan.

  58. Roger

    Hey Gruber, I have no doubt you will read all these comments, so here’s mine.

    I’ve been a loyal DF reader for almost 3 years now. For the most part I think you are great writer and I appreciate most of your work and you podcast.

    But I’m getting tired of your BS. It’s wearing me down. You bog yourself down taking constant shots at Google and Samsung (and now Amazon). Sometimes they are legit and worthy shots. Other times you are seriously reaching and you land a pathetic attempt of a punch.

    DF is both a great look at the world of tech and a really petty and smarmy blog at times. And I’m seriously thinking about just deleting it from my bookmarks.

    Your smugness is also translating to your podcast. Joking that you don’t know how to pronounce the names of countries. Wow, too funny man. Drinking and eating because you know it bothers some listeners. Dude, get over yourself. You are acting like a child and it’s grating and annoying.

    And man, you and Dan need to chill out with the praise at times about Apple. You take it to absurd levels. When Jobs resigned you both fawned over the sentences in his resignation letter. It was embarrassing.

    And you are a fanboy. Lyons is right. You go overboard at times with your Apple praise. And you come across as someone who is constantly defending Apple to the point where it is nauseating. And for the love of God stop defending Apple if they potentially don’t release a larger screened iPhone. I personally am tired of pinching out constantly on my iPhone 4. Countless others are too.

    Gruber, you got talent, and the brain, but you are totally misguided lately and I really wish I could just knock some sense into you. Be more objective, stop constantly looking at the smallest of things to crap on Google and Amazon about, and grow the F up.

  59. Bob S

    Mr. Lyons is a fine writer. I’m surprised that he resorts to the tired term of “fanboy.” I cease reading when I come across that word because I figure the writer must not have a real argument in his arsenal.

  60. justin

    yeah, i saw that documentary too.
    you don’t have any new “insiders” insight, and he didn’t rip anything off.

  61. James

    I completely agree. In my experience the use of the word fanboy inevitably is used as an ad hominem, and only serves to indicate the writers belief that he is superior and separate from the target. It does nothing to further the dialog.

  62. Trollem Maximum

    Fanboi, however fact is, Apple are going down, particularly Flash suddenly I-Pod in the end you suck afterwards sucky ass. Android sells more phones then moron I think fact is, I can get a better laptop for less, besides you don’t know anything.

    You’d buy s**t if Apple sold it, because of fanboy to whom brainwashed, while Google Voice is better than Siri and TellMe put together when you suck. Apple copied LG where ass-kissing prior to overpriced when fanboi whatever typical fanboy.

  63. Tom

    I’m not sure what’s more ignorant — the original post, or your response.

    You make my head hurt.

  64. Magic Johnson

    thanks dan this was a decent read. but your head is buried in the sand. the only way i can look at this is as a yin / yang effect. to say that the apple design aesthetic isn’t present in samsung offerings is completely ludicrous. unfortunately as long as sammy continues to post strong quarterly numbers they will be able to ignore the rants no matter how legit they may be. sales numbers are the bottom line not who blatantly ripped off whom. it is a disgusting truth. you don’t ditch a winning gameplan. but one must also reiterate time and time again the fact that sammy is producing several handsets running multiple operating systems. comparing apple to samsung smartphone unit sales will never be a one-to-one comparison yet the pundits will spin everything to fit their lopsided views. what is the point in even writing an article such as this these days? all you get are people like me pointing out how wrong you are and on the opposite end your loyal lemmings who agree with every word you write. and the flame wars continue.

  65. X

    That’s such a tired myth. Xerox invested in Apple, and Apple was allowed access to their research lab in exchange for the deal. Apple added a lot of innovation to the ideas they found there. They did not steal. Look it up.

  66. seabass

    Really Dan,
    This is not the same thing as Windows 3.1 being SIMILAR to OS6 (it really wasn’t really).
    If you where blind and just had to touch the competing Apple and Samsung products you would have a hard time distinguishing.
    If you are sighted and you look at the packaging, the connectors, the products themselves, it DOES look like they are being designed by the same people.

    This is not an accusation being thrown at Motorola who also has tablets and slate style smartphones.

    This is not even a situation with HTC which has some products which are much closer to the Apple one.

    The accusation is only at Samsung for a reason.
    All you have to do is look at all the products to realize what is being talked about.
    who is the fanboy now? I only see one and its definitely not John Gruber.

    link to a definitely Apple Fanboy site REddit (oh wait maybe its not): http://www.reddit.com/tb/kr14a

    and unlike Bob S, Mr Lyons might be a fine writer, but as far as logic is concerned he is not a star… specifically he should read up on copyright law before shooting from the hip…

  67. Time Magician

    I look at this from an abstract level: A and B are two people taking an exam (consider the exam is about solving consumer problems). They both got stuck at one question. A take it on by himself, made a few mistakes, and scored 80% on that exam. B constructed a few thoughts, but rejected all his ideas. (Assume) he had an opportunity of checking on A’s answer before the end of the exam, and he liked it. B solves the problem based on A’s idea, but adding his thoughts to complete the answer. B scored 95% on that exam.

    If you ONLY compares the scores, no one believes B cheated on A. But sometimes, science or engineering solutions only takes one simple idea to make a huge difference. Everyone who’s taken an exam had that “aha” moment – you only need a “reminder” to get a complex puzzle solved.

    The author of this blog only compares the final scores – if B scored 95% (Samsung is bigger had has more phones than Apple), higher than A’s, how is it possible for B to cheat?

    The simple home button, the USB charger, the tight software interaction between Apps…it only takes a few tweaks to improve and making products intuitive. Yet, these ideas take years of thoughts and experiments, while Samsung and others just take it as is.

    So many people only pay attention to the “cosmetics” of a Galaxy vs. iPhone – understandable because they’re consumers. However, the key about a patent or an intuition is not about the exact screen size or the thickness of the phone, it’s about the solution approach – how the device solves a problem.

    Did Samsung copy? I believe so – they added own thoughts, but cheating on the originality nevertheless, even they scored higher in the exam.

  68. Chris

    If he did read this, I think his reaction would likely be: “This is why Daring Fireball doesn’t have comments”.

    I know that’s what I thought.

  69. Steve

    If Samsung didn’t copy apple’s designs then show me ONE design of a tablet or even a samsung smart phone that existed before the iPhone or iPad.

  70. jL

    @Roger: consider heeding your own advice, and get over yourself.

    Just because some people think cilantro tastes like soap (apparently stemming from a matter of genetics), does that mean that cilantro should be pulled from market shelves?

    Unsubscribe to the blog or podcast. Exercise your own taste, and do so unapologetically, with serenity and peace of mind. DF has an audience, and maybe – just maybe – people come there to have a good laugh. Because they’re capable of appreciating that humor.

    As for Mr. Lyons, well, what’s there to be said? Samsung has knocked loads of stuff off Apple. They even ripped off iOS and Mac OS icons DIRECTLY in their bloody Samsung store:


    I mean, come on, folks. It’s not like these allegations are remotely unfounded.

    But I guess he just needs to perpetuate his pissing match with Gruber. That’s fine, because it affords punch lines on DF.

    Everybody wins.

  71. coyote

    If Samsung employs their own design team, they shouldn’t be paying them all that much. The Samsung Galaxy S II looks exactly like the iPhone 4.

  72. scott

    Yes they copied products from 40 to 30 years ago. None of which are competing products.
    Plus all the interviews I’ve seen of Dieter Rams he has nothing but praise for Apple. He said the only company in the world doing design right is Apple.
    Sounds pretty bitter!?

    Copying is a natural thing. It’s how we learn and develop. The main gripe is that Samsung’s copying is of a direct competitor.

  73. Jack Trollsmiter

    And what, exactly, did Apple steal from Xerox again? Oh, right. Nothing. Xerox was offered the chance to buy pre-IPO Apple stock in exchange for both allowing Jobs and company to look at PARC’s work AND to create their own GUI based on what they saw.

    Xerox ACCEPTED this offer.

    So I’ll ask you again. What, exactly, did Apple steal from Xerox?

  74. Steve

    I actually like Gruber saving up the claim chowder… and swatting down this “Fanboy” nonsense. Gruber just picked apart this Lyons piece so easily it is kind of embarrassing. I like Gruber’s articles, I think they’re fun.

    And really? A screen that’s .5 inches bigger is going to save you a lot of pinching and zooming? Rrrright,

  75. Jack Trollsmiter

    Oh yes, and Lyons is an idiot. Samsung steals copiously from Apple and their designs. There is irrefutable proof of this everywhere you look. Lyons, apparently, thinks the similarities are an absolutely amazing coincidence, or he just doesn’t like Gruber so his panties are in a twist about it.

    My advice to Samsung would be to make devices that don’t fucking look like Apple devices. That would be innovation. Other companies don’t seem to have a problem doing it, what’s Samsung’s excuse? Anybody?

  76. Steve

    It’s called inspiration. An aesthetic. I bet Ives would be the first to tell you that Rams is a hero of his. If 60′s Bruan had made computers and phones, I’d buy them, but they don’t.

    Samsung’s designers aren’t inspired. They’re lazy.

  77. JM

    I am with Steve on this one (and Gruber). Samsung shamelessly steals the design concepts from Apple, hands down.

    And that is why I won’t buy a Samsung product. May as well spend the money and buy the original instead of the copy.

  78. Nick

    I agree Samsung does create a plethora of products, but that does not excuse them from being sued for copying Apple’s narrow and refined product selection.

    Copying is copying. Do it in school and you’re expelled. Do it in business and expect to be sued.

  79. Gary

    Wish you were as smart and discerning and as good a writer as Gruber (who does not need to call anyone a fanboy to make his point).

  80. za1

    And by pushing the envelope you mean an envelope designed at 1 Infinite Loop and copied by Samsung :)

  81. JL

    Jony Ive didn’t steal anything from Rams. He is an admirer of Rams work and his style is influenced by Rams “rules” of design. He hasn’t flat out copied Rams products.

  82. emorycreek

    Seriously? Taking an undeveloped technology and developing to make it usable and available to consumers is very different than blatant copying. You need to actually look at what Xerox developed and what Apple delivered and see the vast difference, rather than repeating crap you read on the internet.

  83. d kamp

    PURE link bait. Dan if you were Apple and you had your hard work ripped off you too would sue.

  84. d kamp

    You dear sir are stupid… get your facts straight. Apple PAID for the right to access Xerox. Don’t post BS your ignorance shows.

  85. JL

    How do you come up with this stuff? Samsung manufactures chips for Apple so no one is supposed to call them out for ripping off designs? Apple pays people to trash companies online? Racism against Asian companies? WHAT?

  86. Clark

    I know many of the designers personally that are working at Samsung (and HTC). I can tell you with out a doubt that their portfolios are full of interesting and original work. They are capable, proud of their abilities, and eager to produce something unlike anything else on the market. But they don’t. Why? New incurs risk, and risk of this sort is not something that their companies are willing to take. It’s a business decision. They copy as much as possible the elements that they feel will align their product with the industry leader – if their is any innovation it’s all in engineering and logistics. It’s a strategy that pays handsomely for many companies here. Samsung isn’t a fly by night operation based in some 2nd tier city in China so their legal division wouldn’t allow for an out right rip-off, but their is no doubt in anyones mind where their influence comes from.

    Their is no shame as this isn’t America. Try opening an entirely original shop of any kind here and if you do well financially you will find half a dozen copies pop up right next door. There is massive amounts of talent and creativity of course but when you are taught from an early age to copy and regurgitate the work of others copying the aesthetic comes with little negative impact.

  87. Greg Smith

    Everyone hates the king of the hill. If it weren’t for Jobs and Ive, you’d still be using a crappy Blackberry, at best. Samsung’s Apple knock-offs are a pathetic indication that their company completely lacks originality, and it so far behind, that the only thing they can do to compete is to keep copying, and market it to the people who resent Apple’s success, but still want their products.

  88. pack

    wow what utter nonsense. who cares what company makes a component for the internal;’s of a product. There is no samsung bashing going on. instead it’s people merely stating what anyone with eyes and ears can plainly see. Samsung copies apple. It’s up to you whether it’s right or wrong but saying there current crop of mobile products are originals is not up for debate to anyone except idiots like Lyons.

    where is this evidence that apple is paying hundreds of people to be “internet warrior”s in the press? This is the first I’ve heard of it. I guess you are breaking the news yourself!

    This has nothing to do with racism. That’s you projecting. No one I’ve ever seen on any tech site has said asian’s can’t innovate. What they have posted is pictures of apple’s iphone and ipad which came first and then comparison images of samsung’s offerings which blatantly rip them off.

  89. Wes Campaigne

    Um. Jonathan Ives has never shied away from giving credit to the inspiration provided by Dieter Rams’ work. He has spoken and written quite a bit on how significant and groundbreaking Rams was, and how indebted he is to him.

    But: “Design” isn’t just how something looks. The fact that a few Apple products have a very similar outside appearance to a few old Braun products (that had a completely different purpose)? Really not significant, and to suggest that they have the same “design” is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of the term.

    But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Dieter Rams himself, talking about his respect for Apple, and how it’s one of the very few brands today that understands and values what “design” really entails:


  90. Grigori

    Not really related to the article, and it may have been mentioned before, but who or what exactly is DL praying to in his page pic… himself?

  91. Jason Diaz

    Competitions is good. The rub. One company that’s most thriving seems to be used exclusively for inspiration for their products.

  92. Jason Diaz

    Excuse me as I double post a bit.

    It is really easy thing to grasp. Samsung builds a competing product that it is iPhonesque in design, which is popular by the way – 3GS is 3rd place anyone?
    Some might say as far as quality is concern. Sammy simply adds some their own features and or flare on top of the original to differentiate itself. All Android OEMs try to differentiate themselves from one another. Simply copy err steal what works.

    I just debunked the great Dan Lyons’ entire diatribe. Easy enough task.

  93. DrieStone

    I’ll be honest I like my Apple stuff, and frankly I could have cared less about this whole “Samsung Steals Apple’s Design” thing, but I was in the store the other day (happened to be BJ’s, a warehouse club on the East coast). They had an iPod display and next to it they had the tablets. I glanced over, curious if they had any iPads, and I saw that they did…. until I got up close and realized that it wasn’t an iPad, but a Samsung. I had that “ah ha moment”. Curiously there were 6 other tablets sitting on the display and the Samsung was the one my eye went to, and the one that said “oh that’s an iPad”. None of the other devices would be mistaken for an iPad. That’s not to say that they were ugly devices, and it’s not to say that the “Apple” design is sacred, but in that moment the law suits against Samsung really made sense.

    It would be idiotic to claim that Samsung’s designs aren’t heavily influenced by Apple’s. I’m not talking about broad strokes, but the subtle cues.

  94. Johnny

    So true. Dan is in deep denial. One just has to look at the comparison photos, but Dan doesn’t even acknowledge them. (They have been posted widely.)

    And, when is the notion of a larger BUT LOWER RESOLUTION screen going to register with Dan? Apple could easily make a larger phone, it’s not a technical problem! Please simply acknowledge that the iPhone has a great screen, Dan.

    BTW, I haven’t seen mention of the “Photos” icons, which on iOS is a sunflower and on Samsung ‘droids is… well, you know.. what *else* would you use as an icon for photos other than a sunflower?

  95. Roger


    “People come there to have a good laugh”. Dude, WTF are you even attempting to communicate to me? Nice grammar by the way.

    People read DF for a good laugh? So you find Gruber’s fake “I don’t know how to name this country” attempts at humor as funny? Hey he eats apples on his podcast because it’s a jab at people who call him an Apple fanboy. Man this guy is hilarious.

    Also, don’t you dare try to tell me to unsubscribe to a podcast or stop reading DF as if I don’t have the right to state on this post what my potential reasons for doing so may be. God forbid I express an opinion with evidence for it. I should just keep my negative words about Gruber and DF to myself. I’m so sorry mommy.

    Dude, seriously, get over yourself. Lyons is right to call Gruber out. I’m so tired of John’s ways and it’s about time sometime give him a taste of his own utter BS.

    Enjoy your DF t-shirt loser.

  96. Anthony Aaron

    Samsung is just doing what some of the other ‘innovative’ Korean manufacturers are doing — going after the Green Je$u$ by blatantly copying others’ successful products. Kia also does it in a very visible way — has for years.

  97. james

    “There are few (large) companies less innovative than Apple,”

    Been on the internet since 94. This is without doubt in the top 10 of dumbest comments I’ve ever read. For your sake, I hope that was the drugs talking.

  98. Scott

    I think it’s well past time for a Godwin’s law corollary that applies to people who use the term ‘fanboy’.

    Every time I hear someone frothing at the mouth about Apple fanboys, I know I’m about to be sold an utterly uncompelling argument. Samsung phones look nothing like iPhones! Uh yeah, right…

    Funny thing is, the Apple user base is markedly less fanatical than it was before the wild success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Enjoying Apple products is now mainstream and practical, unlike the days when buying a Mac was more a religious decision than a rational one.

    Seriously Dan. Don’t you feel weird saying the word fanboy in any context? Maybe I’m getting old because I can’t imagine that word coming out of my mouth. It’s so disrespectful and childish.

  99. DRoss

    Just by the look of you in your cute header profile photo it’s easy to tell you’re a nobody who’s trying to prove something. You’re a PC dimwit and probably a Republican. You have one point of view and fail to look at the other side of the equation. Dimwit.

  100. His Shadow

    Thats the dumbest comment in service of a dumber article. Can you point to a single tablet, PMP or GUI designed by Dieter Rams, you moron? Are you aware that Rams wrote a little something called “The Ten Principles Of Good Design”? So at that anyone could apply his principles to their work? Exactly how would Rams sue anyone for following design principles he freely espoused and passed on the fellow designers?


  101. Jeff Berard

    “All offered by a man who couldn’t get one LOLcat’s worth of attention for his writing until he pretended to be Steve Jobs.”

    Funniest line I think I’ve ever read.

  102. Luca

    Okay Dan, but then how do you explain the inescapable detail that Samsung has repeatedly been ‘inspired’ to follow what Apple has done over and over. Very similar power plugs, app icons on their tablets (the yellow flower for photo gallery comes to mind) etc. Even to the point of using a white father and daughter in their tablet ad that look very similar to the ones in Apple’s ad.

    Because, and I’m someone that has no need for another Apple, even I can’t help but notice that Samsung has put out a lot of things that are very similar to Apple stuff, just after Apple released or at least announced it and wished they would find a different inspiration so my friends that are Apple diehard don’t have yet another thing to gripe about

  103. Jean-Marc De Jonghe

    PLUS Look at what the Xerox Star User Interface look like first (many video on youtube like here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn4vC80Pv6Q&feature=related ) and then compare with System 1.0 a HUGE difference

    Also remember this: when the Xerox Star system was announced in 1981, the cost was $75,000 for a basic system. The Mac was introduce in 1984 for around 2000$

    A 1:1 copy ? come on !


  104. RF9

    So if Apple never existed you think Samsung’s power charger, icons, tablet, and the other stuff that are near carbon copies wouldn’t look just like they do today? Really? Samsung would have designed them like this on their own?
    Talk about realith distortion field.

  105. Walt French

    “I wonder what you would do when i keep copying your articles, now and then altering it a little bit.”

    Hye, IANAL, but it seems like this article’s saying: “go right ahead: Set up a Fake (Fake) Dan blog and repost them verbatim.” Dan’s given you a go-ahead, under, for example, the theory that Google used to rip off java ME.

    Be sure to work the SEO angle well, so you show up ahead of him in searches for Fake Steve or Dan Lyons or any topic on which he opines. Because intellectual property is a quaint idea and old laws, etc. are irrelevant. All the better if you do it from a big, multi-talented outfit such as HuffPo.

  106. Geoff Miller

    I can forgive Dan his vapid writing as of late. One, he doesn’t have Steve to emulate (arguably his funniest work) and two, with all the vapor locks on his ass, he probably can’t think straight. Talk about fanboys for Dan…. perhaps shills is more appropriate.

  107. reese

    sorry Ed, that’s BS!

    Rams and Ive are quite mutual and Ive never lied about the fact, that Rams is a big inspirational figure to him. In several german interviews Rams also talked about that connection and how flattered he is, that someone understands ands translates his design principles (emph. on principle) so well.

    also keep in mind, that Rams and Jobs are (and were) heavily influence by japanese design asthetics, so maybe the japanese should sue both Ive and Rams?

    your comment is pretty typical for non-designers as they don’t often understand the fine line between where something is plain copied and something is inspired but translated.

  108. NH

    Wait, who took the risk with the modern day tablet everyone copies? Who took the risk commercializing the the personal computer back in the early 80′s? Who took the risk introducing the GUI OS to consumers? Who took the risk introducing the mouse to consumers? Who took the risk creating a truly worthwhile digital music platform? Who took the risk with a full touch screen smartphone that wasn’t a heap of junk? Not Samsung.

  109. Adrian O'Connor

    Holy crap! I knew Dan Lyons’ name meant something to me for some reason other than this (god awful) blog, but I’d forgotten what it was — I must have blanked it out of my mind :)

    I used to so enjoy reading Groklaw take apart the likes of Lyons and O’Gara.

  110. Kunal

    There are few tech companies less innovative than Apple?
    Well that would be a beautiful world, where the company that almost independently created GUI as we know it, as well as smartphones (multitouch, capacitive) and tablets, as well as making several iterated innovations (read steve jobs bio) and lastly making the first online store where you could purchase music, and one of the first where you could purchase games (and the best).
    Samsung taking risks? Could you show some evidence for that? Have they ever launched a product that is so entirely new yet abhorrent that it would be a risk? No from design to implementation, almost all of their current products are genuine rip offs of Apples. Phones to laptops (and ofcourse tablets and OS)

  111. Stefan

    What Clark said about designing something new, but also taking the RISK to do it. First person I knew who saw an iPhone said, “it doesn’t have buttons, it is just a slab, it isn’t functional!” and “touch screens suck!” (Said person eventually went on to own several iPhones and hasn’t switched yet.)

    Apple had to take a huge risk making a product that didn’t fit many conventions. Perhaps they knew with the Apple Stores people could pick one up and try it, but still, the risk is there.

    ONCE it is successful, yeah, it looks obvious in hindsight that it is how things should be designed, so how can anything from competitors be called a “copy” ? They are just doing what’s “obvious”. Being first though, with the product that changes the expectations, that can’t be copied. Apple took that risk and that’s what I praise about them — when they dare take a risk on trying to make something better.

    Show me who could have sat down 6 years ago and made a list, “what I want from my next phone” and come up with stuff like, “no keyboard” and “no Java, just native apps” and “make it a plain square slab like an iPod” and other descriptions of an iPhone. Make that list and think, how could anybody be sold on THAT? But Apple somehow figured they had a good design, but you still gotta take that risk.

    Other companies could do something different — you’ll see Gruber praise Microsoft for daring to do something different with Metro — but Samsung so far, despite their army of designers, seems to be playing it safe. Fair enough for them, they gotta make money.

  112. John

    Jonny Ives has always been very upfront about mentioning Dieter Rams as an influence on his aesthetic. That’s a long way, however, from the slavish copying that some of Samsung’s products show.

  113. John Frum

    The line of argumentation presented here is reminiscent of what one gets when arguing in response to a challenge to the contrary that Apple innovates, as if that should even be necessary: “You Apple fanboys all think that Apple invented everything!” Who ever heard anyone make such a claim besides anti-Apple fanboys putting false words in the mouth of Apple fans? Like this article, it’s poor rhetoric, a complete straw man, transparently false, and an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

  114. jrock

    wow – what do you say to this kind of article? samsung is losing in the courts yet dan lyons knows better. someone check his stock holdings.

  115. Ed

    As much as it makes you to call out Gruber an apple fanboy, it makes me suspicious that samsung PR has paid you to write this.

  116. rollie

    In all honesty the samsung bashing is nowhere near as virulent as the apple bashing, also there is way to much self projecting by claiming anyone who see’s how influential apple is, being merely the ravings of an apple fanboy. 

    All the apple bashing wouldn’t be so bad if the people doing it didn’t get so excited when their favourite hardware/software companies introduce apple’esque features. Look at the new ultrabook rage, closer a product is to a macbook air the more people rave about it, this is what samsung is capitalising on, excitement that apple produces, as they have a clear vision for how tech should work and also a passion for their creativity. 

    Another example is ipad 2, when that came out and steve was overemphasising how thin it was, I remember all the comments from the android faithful like, ‘who gives a sheet about how thin it is’ ‘steve just obsessed as he’s thin too’. Then an exec @ samsung who were distracted competing with ipad 1, made a public statement about their current tablet not being good enough as it wasn’t thin like the ipad 2. A month or so later when samsung got theirs 2mm thinner, now all of a sudden it’s innovative, loads of other tablet companies have thinness as a selling point now, it’s just really sad.

    Retina displays, no big deal when the iphone 4 was introduced, big deal a year or so later in the galaxy nexus, ask any iphone4/4s and galaxy nexus owner, if retina makes a big difference on the web reading text. It gets a bit silly with so many companies falling over themselves mimicking apple and people still make jibes about apple lacking innovation, having a dumbed down os, being locked in a walled garden etc. If an approval process for apples app store is so bad, then why the big song and dance when a popular app store app makes its way into the land of the free. Why do I see this comment loads ‘android version please’ for a ton of apps from the evil walled garden.

    People who mock apple but love windows 7, love samsungs innovation in mobile ‘giggle’ think the envy range is sexy and rabbit on about widgets (they couldn’t even change the name from the osx version) on android, remind me of closet homosexual’s that are so publicly homophobic. Be honest with yourselves you love what apple has done for consumer tech, so maybe you should just bite the bullet and give in to your secret desire. Then you can become one those annoying people online who go on about how great apple is.

  117. smith

    Dan, you’ve outdone yourself this time. Trolling on your own website – that’s new. If you seriously believe the line you’ve taken, then it’s time to consider a new career, because you’re not suited to this one.

  118. Watson Greene

    I’m no Apple fan, but anyone except the physically blind can tell that almost all of the current Samsung designs are almost complete copies of Apple stuff.

    Being an Android fan it’s kind of sad to see how low Samsung stoops, but then again Samsung was known as a copycat company long before the days of the iPhone. Back then their copycat Japanese-wannabe and RIM-wannabe designs, their outright theft of copyrighted logos and icons from other companies for use in their own interface, is still fresh enough for those who have been following the cell phone industry for years.

    Careless copying of good designs seem to be a cultural trait of Koreans, so Samsung is just true to their Korean roots by being who they are.

    Turning a blind eye and trying to deny things that are as clear as daylight just makes you less credible, which you seemed to be ever since taking up the Newsweek job.

  119. germanguy

    Did you take the trouble to actually read the Gizmodo article you cited? It praises Ive for his adherence to Rams’ design principles, and I quote: “Some people will probably call these examples a “rip-off” but, in a world where industrial design and art are constantly being recycled into new work, I just see Apple’s products as a great evolution to classic concepts.”

  120. Hiram

    I guess it stands to reason that a man whose claim to fame was pretending to be Steve Jobs would approve of products pretending to be Apple products.

  121. canardminceblanc

    Yes, all those smartphones and tablets that Dieter designed for Braun in the 70s….. He should definitely sue.

  122. seo

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  123. robert

    Apple are boring, about time they did something new with their os.
    Apple can’t compare with Samsung until they can make their own hardware. End of..

  124. robert

    And the “i” Im sick of it! Find a new name, sounds so crap and old now.
    Apple innovate about as much as Atari these days

  125. random

    To be honest, my real life experiences with Samsung products have been a let down. Sure the SGSII has it’s strengths, but it’s weaknesses is so glaring that it just didn’t provide the fluid, productive experience I could get with the Lumia or the iPhone. I think the scorning here really should be directed at the obnoxious fanboys. God help me once they open their mouths to defend their beloved Galaxy phones.

  126. Rob

    Why is it not ok to bash a company that was built on copying other’s IP? (Not just Apples, BTW).

    Samesong’s model is about copying stuff & then trying to make it cheaper and better (spec-wise at least) – always has been. You can either deny it or face the reality.

  127. Joel

    Haha, I love it when they say “The list goes on and on…” at the end of a list. No it doesn’t, it ends here? :)

  128. Bee

    The phones in question dates back to iPhone 3gs and the Samsung Galaxy Ace. Not the Sg2 and 4s/4 (I can’t find any design style patent trials that are referring to these two phones). Google the iPhone 3gs and Galaxy Ace and come to your own conclusion.

    Now people are accusing Samsung of copying the gold phone idea. While sure, Samsung has released gold phones in the past (as many other OEMS have) none of them are current or relevant (I think the last one was a flip phone from Sammy).

    It’s hard to dispute the timing, in an age where most smartphones are “black or white”, with the exception of Windows phones and the just released Moto-X that has every color conceivable; Apple releases a gold phone, it becomes immensely popular and Samsung immediately follows.

    There’s no reason to be ashamed of following. If you see a trend and are able to capitalize on it, then good for you. But don’t expect for people to “go easy” on you for being shameless.




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