Hey Manufacturers, Please stop copying Apple.

Hey Everyone, It’s been a while since my Epic Rant and I have been quite busy doing research on my secret project. Mocking up designs, scrapping them, doing it again and so on. And after a very successful demo of a prototype with a prospective client, I decided to give myself a short break hence this post. ;-)

The Apple Era

It’s clear that this is Apple’s time to shine. Their products are now market forces which makes people “need to have them”. I think this is due to the fact that Apple puts a lot of thought into their products and they design them to impress. Seeing Apple’s success, other companies no longer want to innovate. They just look at Apple products for ideas. Which is simply a shame! What they don’t realize is that..

Apple is not always right

Let’s take a few quick examples, shall we?

The 7-inch Tablets: Steve Jobs (who I can rightfully assume represented Apple’s corporate stance on design decisions) was very clear why 7-inch tablets would be “Dead on Arrival” (DOA). And he seemed right at first with the outright failure of the Galaxy Tabs. But then it wasn’t until the Kindle Fire (thanks to Jeff Bezos) that we started to realize that 7″ actually works in many use cases like reading books, gaming e.t.c It’s like the “Oh, this is a bit big” feeling when you held the iPad for the first time was trimmed off.

The Stylus: During the unveiling event of the iPhone, Steve Jobs said “Who want’s a stylus? yaack!“.. well I do! There’s a good reason we don’t just dip our fingers in ink. Bill Gates has been saying this for a while now. He has always been optimistic that in the future, handwriting will be an important form of computer input. And with the release of the Note 10.1, His words are starting to make more sense. In fairness to Steve (Bless his soul) Styli at the time were just terrible but the technology is constantly improving. Wanting to sometimes use a pen on a tablet is an intuitive, natural feeling and makes a lot of sense than typing on a virtual keyboard… “Search your feelings, you know this to be true”

3.5 inch Screen is Perfect: Well in fairness, this may not have been generated by Apple. But it sure was perpetrated by lots of iFans. When the first set of larger smartphones were released, iFans mocked them like the Evo 4G  or even the Galaxy S2 saying that 3.5 inch is the perfect form-factor and that’s why Apple has not changed it ever since. Well bad luck guys, Apple has realised that a 4 by 3 3.5 inch screen doesn’t make sense any more and will screw you over in “the new iPhone” (Not iPhone 5)

PC Market

The Apple plagiarism is a lot worse in the PC market. Everyone want’s to look like the Mac Book Pro or the Mac Book Air. I initially had a HP-G62 laptop. Although the laptop was nice, I started to notice a few weird things about the design before I realized a subtle hint at the older Mac Book Pro which wasn’t so bad. I later got a Dell XPS 15z, which is a very good laptop overall. The XPS line can be thought of as the offspring of the Alienware and the Inspirion line with Dell taking lots of good design and hardware cues from Alienware. Sweet specs, super-comfy keyboard, adequate internal ventilation, e.t.c  The laptop is a very good laptop, neat specs and all but its the outright copying of the Mac that sicken’s me. Using an all metal casing? Come On! This means that if a power outlet isn’t properly earthed, you’ll get a “shocky sensation” just like the Mac Book Pro or worse, outright electrocution. Don’t get me started with the over-heating (metal.. helloo) or the fact that I’d have to tear the laptop apart to change the battery or even the lousy decision to cramp all the USB ports on one side (Apple changed this in the Retina Mac Book Pro) and then there’s the arrow keys…*1 minute silence*

Anyway, There are also good things that they copied from Apple like the battery indicator which is pure genius or the backlit keyboard which Apple didn’t invent but really popularized. However, Alienware would never accept the XPS 15z as its baby because unlike the XPS 15 (L502X), It clearly looks like the Inspirion slept with the Mac Book Pro :-D But its not just Dell, other laptops like HP’s envy 15 are a whole lot worse.

Spot the Difference.
Image courtesy of TheVerge

Mobile

Those of us who follow what’s going on in the Tech landscape are well aware of the current legal battle between Apple and Samsung. Considering that Steve Jobs did not mince words concerning his feelings towards the Android Ecosystem, one could assume that Apple is going for the kill. No licencing, just an outright ban will do. The judge had earlier asked Apple and Samsung’s CEOs to negotiate. However, that proved to be unsuccessful. Oh wait.. I think it may be  because Apple is asking for a licence and damages on all touch screen phones sold including Windows and Bada phones  like they freaking invented it! That is just diabolic. My God, Talk about sheer Greed! If Samsung’s CEO were a Nigerian, He’d reply “Your Father!” showing Apple’s legal team his left palm wide open. :D So its no surprise that both parties are slugging it out in the courtroom as we speak. Check out Apple vs Samsung: Billion dollar trial

Ok, let me drop all my previous prejudices and allegiances at door and come straight…

I am glad that Apple is suing Samsung.

Huh?!.. Wait, just hear me out. The truth is that Samsung can’t claim innocence. What tires me with the Galaxy Lines of phones especially the S1 was the fact that they just copied Apple unnecessarily. Which sucks! so I’m hoping that this trial will make Samsung really work hard and innovate solely on their own. Android in itself is quite different from iOS. Yeah there are few similarities here and there, But overall, you can’t completely mistake one for the other and knowing how to operate iOS doesn’t mean that you know how to operate an Android device. However, Samsung openly copies Apple. From icons, menus, effects.. to the music player, contacts app, home screen/drawer structure, S-Voice e.t.c Google even warned Samsung that its design was too close to Apple’s. The funny thing is.. Apple’s software design pattern (i.e using skeuomorphism) actually sucks! which is why Microsoft and Google have avoided it in Metro and Android. So in order to mimick Apple, Samsung had to throw away the spirit behind Android. And as a result, Touchwiz  is not as cohesive as iOS or stock Android. Just a design chaos.

What Samsung can’t see is that people buy their phones because they come with sweet specs at a very reasonable price. Not because of some Icons or Bouncy effects and certainly not because it looks like an iPhone. Heck, We’d be a lot happier if they just included apps for their hardware on stock Android period. Updates will roll out faster and there would be less confusion in the Eco-system. Fortunately, one of the beauties of the Android platform is that you don’t have to live with Touchwiz, You don’t have to wait endlessly for updates from Samsung. You can just flash it with CyanogenMod and problem solved. Which is what many users are doing judging from Cyanogen’s numbers.

Conclusion

So Dear Manufacturers, contrary to what it seems, you don’t need to design your products like iDevices to get users’ appeal. Apple has something similar to a cult following. In other words, people buy Apple products mainly because it is Apple.  This reputation has come from its unique style and design language that they have built over the years. So without the Apple logo, no amount of copying will help you, hence your current state of destruction at their hands. You have to innovate on your own and come up with better designed products that work. Devices like the Nokia Lumia 900, HTC One X or the Nexus 7 really drive this point home. When you hold them in your hand, their design speaks to you in a very unique and pleasant way. That in itself can make an open minded (as in.. non ecosystem locked down) iUser make the switch.

About Ody

Web Developer/Programmer and Hardcore Gamer. Mainly interested in the Web and Web Technologies

4 thoughts on “Hey Manufacturers, Please stop copying Apple.

  1. Super Cool write-up Ody. Can’t blame others for copying Apple’s style, they’ve got it quite tight on ergonomics. I remember the first time I saw an iphone, after fumbling with it trying to ‘click or tap’ having been used to stylus type input for touch devices and noticed it wan’t responding properly, I instinctively ‘touched’ it…full on the thumb and I felt like that was the way it was meant to be from creation of the universe till now and it felt sooo solid to hold. Had we been in an apocalyptic world with greedy humans fighting for possesions, I’d have pulled out my gun and told the owner ‘I like this’, then pulled the trigger. Give it to Apple, the others should try like you said, some are trying, the Nokia N900 beat the Iphone at a major awards on design.

    • The iPhone was revolutionary. A friend of mine was able to get his folks to send it for him not too long after it was released. I remember seeing it for the first time, I was totally blown away. Browsing the full web via our schools WLAN was like sci-fi at the time. But later that my friend sold it for a BB sstorm (Imagine?) And I really flamed him for it. Turns out the little things like MMS, Bluetooth sending.. were important to him. As for the stylus, you are right. It has never made any sense on phones. But on Tablets, That’s a whole new story. In my minds eye, when I hold a tablet, I get a book/diary like intuition hence the occasionall urge to write on it

  2. I feel your friend was right, simple stuff like dat would count on everyday usage. Actually it was the N9 that beat the iphone at the D&AD awards on indutrial design.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s