It’s impossible to cover the mobile market without diving into the good ol’ “iOS vs. Android” debate from time to time. These are the two biggest mobile platforms on the planet, so they’re constantly being compared. Likewise, Samsung and Apple are the world’s top two smartphone vendors, so their phones are constantly pitted against each other as well.
Of course, there’s another reason Apple and Samsung are often mentioned in the same breath: after entering the market, Samsung quickly grew to become the top mobile device maker on the planet thanks in large part to Apple. First, Samsung did everything it possibly could to copy Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Then, it spent billions upon billions of dollars belittling Apple products in TV, online, and print advertising. Samsung spent years positioning its own devices as the cool alternative to Apple’s iPhone, and its efforts paid off big time.
Even now, Samsung continues to copy Apple all the time across several different product lines. The latest example is Samsung finally deciding to dive into the years-old smart speaker market now that Apple is getting ready to release the HomePod. Apple copies Samsung and other Android phone makers all the time too, obviously. What’s odd and ridiculous, though, is every time we discuss Samsung’s long history of copying Apple, Android fanboys seem to lose their minds.
It will always be fascinating to me how passionate grown men and women can be about a smartphone. Say something negative about their platform of choice and they start foaming at the mouth. Heated debates ensue constantly, as though the topic at hand was religion or politics. It’s bizarre and, quite frankly, embarrassing. Smartphone vendors and mobile platforms are hardly the first areas of consumer tech to draw such passion though, and they won’t be the last.
That brings us to last Tuesday, when I published an article titled “After years of copying the iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 will finally copy Apple’s smartest strategy.” The article was about Samsung’s rumored decision to follow Apple’s lead next year and give the larger and more expensive Galaxy S9+ some exclusive features instead of making them identical apart from size, as it did with the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
Apple has done this with its iPhone Plus models for the past two years, and it encourages consumers to buy higher-margin phones. That’s obviously a good thing for Apple and its bottom line, so it makes sense that Samsung would follow Apple’s lead. In fact, it looks like the Galaxy S9+ will be differentiated from the Galaxy S9 in exactly the same ways the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus are different from their smaller counterparts: A dual-lens camera and extra RAM.
In this article, I briefly discussed Samsung’s history of copying Apple. This is not a matter of opinion. This is a fact. Samsung spent a tremendous amount of time and energy copying Apple’s products. If you don’t trust your own eyes, you can trust the countless internal documents that were made public during the companies’ court battles. Apple was even awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages as a result of those lawsuits.
Apple copies Samsung all the time, too. For example, iPhones would still have teeny-weeny little 3.5-inch displays if not for Samsung. But the subject of this particular post was Samsung copying Apple, so that’s what I discussed. I even supplied hard evidence of Samsung’s history of copying Apple — a 132-page internal document Samsung created to help its Galaxy phone engineers copy the iPhone pixel by pixel — in the second sentence of the article. The second sentence. Yet I still received dozens of emails from angry Android fans trying to revise history and explain to me that Samsung has never copied Apple.
Again, this is not a big deal. Samsung copies Apple. Apple copies Samsung. Toyota and Honda copy each other. Coke and Pepsi copy each other. Who cares? How could this possibly matter to someone enough to warrant hammering out an angry, misguided email to a complete stranger? It’s just so weird.
With that, I’ll offer some unsolicited advice to anyone who feels obligated to send unsolicited emails to people you don’t know about a damn smartphone: Pick the best product for your needs, and enjoy using it.