Samsung has long had a reputation for copying Apple’s designs for its smartphones. Apple even took Samsung to court in an epic, years-long legal battle over designs and alleged patent violations.
But something unusual is happening in the smartphone world right now: Apple and Google are copying Samsung.
Back in 2015, Samsung brought out the Galaxy S6, a premium handset, and alongside it, the S6 Edge — a sister device that featured a curved screen along the edges.
It followed it up with the S7 and S7 Edge in 2016. Then last month it announced the Galaxy S8, which makes the curved screen standard, and radically shrinks the bezels at the top and bottom of the device so the front is almost nothing but OLED screen.
While the S8 hasn’t officially been released to the public yet (that happens later this month), initial hands-on reviews from journalists have been pretty positive, with the innovative design getting praise.
And according to the latest rumours, it sounds like Apple and Google both plan to copy that design in their upcoming flagship phones.
First, Apple: The Cupertino technology company is expected to unveil the tenth anniversary edition of the iPhone this Autumn. The “iPhone 8” rumoured to be getting a major redesign — including a curved S8-style OLED screen.
And Google is also due to bring out the second version of its high-end Pixel phone later this year. The latest reports suggest that it too will come with a flexible OLED screen that’s curved.
(In both cases, the usual caveats apply: These are rumours, not confirmed features, and the companies almost never discuss upcoming products before they are formally announced.)
This is a remarkable turn of events. Samsung’s devices, while high-quality, typically hew closely to Apple’s style. In a 132-page document dating from 2010, Samsung detailed how it could make its phones better — by making them resemble the iPhone much more closely. Apple has waged war in Samsung in the courts for years.
But this time around, Samsung is leading the way — and Apple and Google are playing catch-up.