Should Samsung be allowed to see the third-generation iPad and iPhone 5?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: June 14, 2011

More often than not, secrecy is the only way a company can try to stay on top of their competition. Working on the next big or best thing isn’t all that easy if everyone else knows what you’re doing; and it makes it even harder if your competitors know what you’re working on and plan on creating their own special thing with all the same extra features. Out of all the companies in the mobile market, Apple is considered the most secretive, and that works for the Cupertino-based company. The rumor mill may have other tidbits powering it from time to time, but it doesn’t get a real charge until Apple rumors start filling its grooves. But Samsung wants to change that, at least when it comes to the next generation iPhone and iPad, as the company is still trying to gain access to those devices. Apple’s calling it harassment now. So who’s right?

Taking a look back at where this particular situation started, we see that Apple took the initial step in suing Samsung, basing their legal action on the fact that they believe Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S smartphones “copy” the iPad and iPhone respectively. Soon after, it was revealed that Samsung had been ordered by the courts to provide Apple with access to the company’s unreleased products. This is due to the fact that Apple is saying that Samsung’s devices copy Apple’s products, so it makes sense that Apple would be allowed to see what Samsung is working on, to see if these new devices still take cues from Apple’s design elements.

On the other side, Samsung responded to Apple’s gestures with a movement to gain access to Apple’s unreleased devices, specifically the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3. This may have been a logical step for Samsung, seeing as Apple had requested the same information for their unreleased products. However, Samsung isn’t suing Apple for copying their devices, and that may have something to do with the reason why the courts haven’t decided on Samsung’s request quite yet (a response is expected as early as the end of this week, or by the start of the next).

In Samsung’s request, they specifically name that the next version of the iPad, the iPad 3 or the third-generation iPad; additionally, Samsung’s lawyers name the next generation iPhone as the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 (or some other name). Obviously we can guess what the next iPad will be called, but the future iPhone’s title is anyone’s guess at this point. It makes sense that Samsung would want to broaden their approach, making sure that Apple can’t “sneak through” by altering the device’s name in some fashion. Samsung obviously wants to see the next iPhone and iPad – but why?

Apple has responded to Samsung’s motion, claiming that the company is harassing the Cupertino-based company. Harassment is obviously a bold word to use, and there’s no way to tell if Samsung is literally “harassing” Apple to see the final versions of the iPad 3 and iPhone 4S/5, but Apple went there. Was it the right move? Logically, considering Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung right now (and considering only that), it would make sense that Apple would be able to see some future devices coming down the pipe from Samsung, especially the likes of the Galaxy S III and any Tab tablets. But, does Samsung have any position to request the same information from Apple?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Is Apple actually in the right here? Or is Samsung being bullied into showing off what they’re obviously already hard at work on?