Apple vs. Samsung vs. Innovation
It all started one fateful night when I made a very, very big mistake. I poked a troll. Okay, he wasn’t a troll, but he was bordering on Rageface territory, so he generally didn’t seem like a great choice to have a reasonable, sane debate with.
In fact, I was a bit afraid there were going to be Molotov cocktails hurled through Samsung’s windows if I didn’t get to the bottom of what this Apple fan was so spitefully raging about. Had Samsung killed his parents?
Admittedly, I did consider trolling him myself. But then I remembered that my dad, who’s not yet on Twitter (he would just review craft beer anyway) but is just getting the hang of saying “epic” and using “fail” as a noun, checks my Twitter page to see what I’m doing. He is definitely not familiar with the concept of trolling. I’m not anonymous enough to be a jerk on Twitter. So instead, I strayed dangerously close to white-knighting on behalf of this brand that I had only recently bought into. GREAT PLAN.
Behold the hate! Do you see why I was afraid he might stab me, or worse, yell at me?
That part seemed reasonable. I felt like I’d gotten to the source of the hate. It was like having a civilized conversation where we represented our fandoms with some fairness and didn’t result to flaming-
Well, crap. That genuinely offended me, not as a Samsung user but as a human being. I spent 20 minutes debating how best to flame him before I put my civil pants back on. He’s not REALLY talking about cancer, calm the hell down, Dodge.
It got pretty unexciting after that, since I was being super-polite, assured him he was right about some things and mostly dropped the conversation when he told me to Google things instead of just giving me links. Dude, I’ve been researching this brand all week, I know what stories are out there. Give me articles and we’ll talk. Fine, let me give you articles! I will pester you out of existence!
But right after, below, is where the breakthrough happened. Can you spot it? In the next few exchanges I go from lip service to epiphany. (Reads bottom to top.)
I started off a little wishy-washy, thinking it’s totally cool to rip Apple’s designs as long as there are some distinguishing traits. No one’s gonna start designing something without that great big front touch screen and a grid of apps, because it’s what the consumer wants right now. Apple getting ripped off? That’s good for innovation, it’ll kick their butts into maybe not holding back quite so many features for the next release. It’ll push them harder. Apple shouldn’t have a monopoly on quality mobile devices, and they don’t! And blah blah blah lawsuits and patents and bears, oh my.
But then it hit me. Everything will look the same. People identify my Samsung Galaxy Captivate as different (and it gets passed around the room to try) because it doesn’t look like an iPhone (and definitely not like a BlackBerry). It’s a little boxier, definitely bigger, completely different buttons, and definitely not the same phone. But most of the S2s I keep seeing just look like big iPhones with some Androidy goodness bells and whistles. Since when did all consumers want the same-looking thing? Maybe this is killing innovation in the industry, if only in Samsung. Apple’s not likely to change their look. But everyone else, can we have our personalities back? An argyle gel case can only do so much to differentiate a clone.
There ended my most riveting Twitter debate to date. Thanks, respectfully blurred-out dude, for letting me bounce some thoughts off you only to realize that I feel strongly about the design of my phone and how it doesn’t resemble the one you’re trying to defend. Turns out we’re sort of on the same side.
Look at that beauty. Mine’s customized completely differently. Widgets everywhere. I love to use it, I love Android, I love Samsung and their quality hardware. But when I saw that one of my best friends has the Galaxy S2, the next model up, my jealousy faded the instant I handled the device. Better specs are always awesome, but it was rounded and typical. In shape alone I felt it had none of the personality that my more irregularly-shaped Captivate does.
I was ready to don the white armour for you in front of that scary not-sure-if-he’s-joking-or-going-to-burn-down-a-factory man, Samsung, but the truth is, your designs are coming very close to Apple’s and that’s bad for both of you. I salute you for taking them on directly. I salute you for having extremely competitive products. But it’s time for something I never see much of in Apple products: individuality. Neck and neck with the greatest rival the mobile world has ever seen, I think this is the time to flash some innovative design, and really show the world you can do better than just follow in their footsteps.