Whether you are team Android or iOS, it can’t be argued that the first iPhone that came out in 2007 laid the foundation for the modern smartphone. Apple’s mobile was the first to popularize touch screens and the company was also the first to launch an application store. Other vendors were quick to follow suit and one of them managed to surpass Apple in smartphone sales: Samsung.
This surely left a sour taste in the mouth of the company’s top dogs. Perhaps in an attempt to play down Samsung’s success, a company executive says that the South Korean giant’s phones were just poor rip-offs.
The iPhone turns 15
The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern has made a documentary (via MacRumors) about the evolution of the iPhone from its creation on June 29, 2007. She interviewed top Apple execs, including some that no longer work at the company, as well as a couple whose first child was born the same day as the iPhone.
When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was asked to make a bigger iPhone after some signal drop issues with 2010’s iPhone 4 because of its small 3.5-inch footprint, he said that he was not a fan of bigger phones from companies like Samsung because “you can’t get your hand around it,” and “no one’s going to buy that.”
By 2013, Apple began to rethink that as sales were slowing down. Meanwhile, phones bigger than 4 inches were gaining steam.
The leading phones with big screens at that time were Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note handsets. Apple responded by equipping 2014’s iPhone 6 with a bigger display and it worked. Never the one to miss an opportunity like this, Samsung was quick to make fun of Apple for going back on its words.
When Stern asked Apple’s marketing chief Greg Joswiak about Samsung and other Android manufacturers who were cranking out bigger phones at that time, he said that he found them annoying because they were just producing poor iPhone knock-offs.
They were annoying. And they were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology. They took the innovations that we had created and created a poor copy of it, and just put a bigger screen around it. So, yeah, we were none too pleased.”
Funnily enough, the video begins with the co-creator of the iPod and the iPhone Tony Fadell saying that the company started working on the iPhone after competitors began cranking out feature phones with camera and music capabilities.
Apple actually took Samsung to court in 2011 for copying its design and user interface and was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages. The two settled in 2018 but Apple maintained its stance that it started the smartphone revolution and Samsung blatantly copied its design.
Around the same time, Apple was also involved in legal battles with manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, Amazon, and Nokia, some of whom it had sued and some of whom it had been sued by.
When Stern reached out to a Samsung spokesperson, they said that the company pioneered many industry firsts, such as large OLED displays, which by the way Apple buys from it, and water and dust resistance. The first few Apple phones were powered by Samsung processors.
Both Samsung and Apple are behind some of the best phones of 2022 and at the end of the day, it’s a win for consumers if they copy each other’s features.