Apple exec says “annoying” Samsung copied iPhone design

Samsung “ripped off” Apple’s technology and used it to create a “poor” copy of the iPhone.

That is according to comments from Apple senior vice president for worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak, in a newly-released Wall Street Journal documentary on the evolution of the iPhone over the past 15 years.

First launched in June 2007, the iPhone revolutionised the smartphone industry by dumping the stylus and BlackBerry staple physical keyboard entirely.

Instead, it offered a full touch-screen display for typing and navigating the phone’s features.

That iconic design shift has remained for over a decade, with numerous Android-based manufacturers following in Apple’s footsteps.

Perhaps the most noteworthy among these is Samsung, which released its first Galaxy S smartphone in June 2010.

Its first-generation model had a similar all-touch design as the iPhone, including a single physical “home” button beneath the screen even though Android uses three buttons. It even had the same-sized display.

Samsung gradually tried to differentiate its models from Apple’s by offering a much bigger display in subsequent years.

Whereas Apple stuck with 4 inches through the iPhone 5, Samsung went to 4.3 inches on 2011’s Galaxy S II, 4.8 inches on 2012’s Galaxy S III, and 5 inches on 2013’s Galaxy S4.

This proved to be a big hit with consumers, with the latter two models each recording 70 million sales worldwide, Samsung’s best-selling flagships to date.

In the documentary, Joswiak did not beat around the bush regarding his feelings about Samsung only having display size as its major differentiator.

“They were annoying,” said Joswiak. “And they were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology.”

“They took the innovations that we had created, created a poor copy of it, and just put a bigger screen around it. So, yeah, we were none too pleased.”

Greg Joswiak, Apple senior vice president for worldwide marketing

Apple finally bumped up its iPhone screen size from 4 inches to 4.7-inch on the iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch on the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

Those models became the best-selling iPhones to date, with combined global sales of 224 million.

Apple won a lawsuit against Samsung for patent infringement in 2011 and was initially awarded $1 billion in damages.

Following drawn-out negotiations, the companies settled in 2018.

Playing catchup

In recent years, Apple stagnated in terms of display design, while Android manufacturers have introduced a raft of innovations.

Apple only added high refresh rate displays with last year’s iPhone 13 Pro models.

Samsung, Xiaomi, and many other Android manufacturers have been boasting 120Hz displays on many of their premium smartphones for several years.

Most flagship Android smartphones also now come with hole-punch selfie camera cutouts to maximise screen real estate.

Some models eliminate the cutout with a pop-up camera or under-display lenses.

The iPhone still has a large notch at the top of the display to house its advanced Face ID biometric authentication system.

That is expected to change with the iPhone 14 Pro, which is set to feature a combo pill-and-dot cutout to give users more display space.

Apple has also often taken flak for being late to the party with adding certain features.

While the company was initially seen as an innovator in the smartphone industry, it is now perceived as more of a streamliner — focused on perfecting a feature before launch rather than rolling changes out iteratively.

Now read: Big problem with blacklisting stolen smartphones in South Africa

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Apple exec says “annoying” Samsung copied iPhone design