Some wounds never heal. Just ask Apple, the new champion of grudges.
As we all celebrated 15 years of the original iPhone, Apple took a moment during a rather lengthy and fascinating interview with the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern (opens in a new tab) to once again call out rival Samsung for allegedly copying iPhone technology. iPhone.
One of the star actors in Stern's video, deftly detailing the history of the iPhone through the eyes of someone born on the same day.
However, when he questions Joswiak about the rise of big-screen Android phones and Samsung's role, Joswiak's smile fades and he calls him "boring."
Okay, I understand. Apple was on top of the world with a revolutionary device that came in exactly one flavor. There were no Pros or Maxes or screen size variants. You got 3.5 inches and that was it. Samsung then comes with devices like the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S4, all with screens that are at least an inch larger. Worse yet, its icon-based layouts and splash screens were all too familiar.
Yeah, I guess I'd be bored too.
But Joswiak is not done. "They were upset because, as you know, they stole our technology." Oh, wow. So let's go. Concerned about the issue, Joswiak continues: “They took the innovations we had created and created a bad copy of it and just put a bigger screen around it. Yeah, so we weren't too happy.
Eh. It's like the wounds are still fresh, even though they're not, even from a litigation perspective.
Apple vs. Samsung
In 2011, Apple sued Samsung (opens in a new tab) for patent infringement, claiming that Samsung copied the look of its iPhone 3GS. Samsung would later fight back, claiming that Apple was copying them.
Legal battles continued for years, costing, primarily Samsung, millions of dollars until the two sides reached a silent settlement in 2018 (opens in a new tab).
Yet here is Joswiak, tearing apart that old wound as if the companies were no longer partners.
That's right, for many technologies Apple seeks to build (including, now, Apple Silicon), it still relies on component manufacturers for various iPhone parts and technologies. In recent years, Qualcomm (another foe) and Broadcom have provided wireless chips, and Samsung is often the go-to supplier for OLED screens in most modern iPhones.
Of course, Apple insists on bespoke components from many of its partners, which means that, for example, Samsung could build for its own phones and other companies, Apple is probably asking it to do a lot of tweaking to meet its own stringent requirements. .
Although Apple and Samsung have never been partners, Joswiak's new feud is surprising. It's as if he doesn't know that the entire mobile phone industry is sliding inexorably towards the center. All smartphones look the same and while Samsung had supposedly not "copied" some of Apple's design elements and functionality, there was a clear path for all smartphones:
- Larger screens
- Biometric security
- slimmer bodies
- a higher battery time
- On-screen apps and app management
- Better and more cameras
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, that's how development works. Unless you invent something no one has seen before, your product and design will inevitably build on what came before.
Naturally, Samsung (and other third-party Android smartphone makers that Apple has also sued (opens in a new tab)) have seen the seemingly ubiquitous iPhone and used it for quite some time. They had to understand this phenomenon. Even if they weren't doing teardowns and reverse engineering (many probably were), they'd still be influenced by the iPhone.
One could argue that creating another platform option and some ambitious design decisions made by Samsung (such as larger screens) actually helped Apple by having them expand iPhone options into a model with five current options (iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone SE (2022)).
Typically, when you ask a CTO about the competition, even from a historical perspective, they hesitate and explain how the competition has driven growth and innovation for them.
However, Joswiak made it clear that Apple was still upset.
On second thought, though, that might not be a bad thing. This means that Apple is as hungry as a young company. It can still feel the slights from the early days and uses them as fuel to drive new innovations.
It may even be a sign that Apple is preparing, after all these years, to retaliate against Samsung where it hurts the most: in the marketplace. And what better way to do it than with Apple's first foldable iPhone. Imagine how Samsung will feel when that happens.
I guess "boring".