The Apple iPad is king. For the moment. But Apple’s dirty tactics in fighting its competitors are unjustified.
Apple really wants to hold onto its position at the head of the tablet market. The problem it faces is increasingly usable Android tablets entering the market, all cheaper and more customizable than the iPad. So it’s fighting dirty, insisting all other tablet manufacturers have somehow copied the design of the iPad. Like petty thieves.
The biggest crook is, in Apple’s eyes, Samsung. The Galaxy Tab does indeed look very much like an iPad. Of that no one can deny. But then could it really have looked any different?
Thomas Baekdal back-engineers an iPad, or as he calls it, undesigns an iPad, in a truly brilliant article. He argues that every design feature which the iPad and Galaxy Tab share, and which Apple is insisting Samsung remove, is just the natural state of being for a touchscreen tablet.
The size, the shape, the corners, the color, and the thickness are all pre-determined in order to give the user the best experience possible. As he concludes, “You can trademark design, but not simplicity.” Which is all Apple has really demonstrated with the iPad, stripping the form factor back to its natural state.
This is not only the best explanation for why Apple is wrong to accuse Samsung of copying, but also the best debunking of the myth that Apple is somehow the masters of hardware design. Steve Jobs was clearly a visionary, and alongside Jonathan Ive and others he managed to produce some great-looking products. But there was no big trick to what they achieved: they just let the products design themselves.
That is obviously genius in its own right, but it’s also nothing special. And it certainly isn’t grounds for Apple to sue left, right, and center in an effort to retain its number one spot.