Just how similar is Samsung's Galaxy line to Apple's iPhone?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| November 20, 2013

Every once in a while when I'm checking up on mobile news, I still come across some article about that everlasting banter in the courtroom between Samsung and Apple. I swear it seems like these two have been at it practically forever, or at least nearly as long as smartphones have become so coveted. But the courtroom isn't the only place where these two companies set off sparks. All across the Internet in forums, on websites and in social media you'll have people rooting for one or the other. "Samsung can't innovate," "Apple can't keep up with the competition," "#teamapple", "#teamsamsung" and the like. And I can't lie, there's been a time (or two, or nine) that I've contributed such statements to fuel the fire. I've never been particularly loyal to either one consistently, but I have my ups and downs with both companies.

There is one argument that I can't comprehend, and that's the one where people say that Samsung blatantly copied off of the iPhone, or sometimes that the iPhone copied off of Samsung. There are a few design elements from both phones at this point that could be said they copied off of one another, but in the end, does it really even matter?

There is only one similarity right off the bat that I do notice, and that's Samsung usually incorporating a single physical button that brings the user back to the home screen on many of their devices. That same function, a physical home button that is, is also notorious for being present on every iPhone ever made. Okay, yes. I get that. Maybe there they could have done something different. But everything else I'm seeing just seems petty. Everybody makes it out to be some sort of blatant Samsung vs. Apple thing, but if you set every smartphone ever made up next to each other they're all pretty much the same exact thing across the board. They're all just slabs of everchanging technology to me. 

And if you ask me, they're all kind of copying off of each other. 

The HTC One is rectangle, just like the iPhone. The Nokia Lumia 1520 has a big 6-inch display. Who else has a big display? Samsung phones. The Moto X's power button rests on the upper right side of the device; so does the Galaxy S 4's. A headphone jack is on the bottom of the device? Uh oh, so does the iPhone's. For real though, all of this patent this and sue over that nonsense just seems pretty ridiculous at this point. All TVs look pretty similar, all computers and laptops look pretty similar, most calculators have similar layouts and nobody gives two... hoots about that. Just smartphones.

And let's not forget that when putting a Galaxy device next to an iPhone they look almost nothing alike. Aside from similar colors and the presence of a home button, are people really going to get upset over that? I'm fairly certain nobody switched to or from an iPhone or a Galaxy device due to the fact that they both have a physical home button. Don't get me wrong, it's nice, but... I mean, come on. There are so many differences between the two that it's really a non-issue at this point. Samsung is big, has more rounded corners, has different button placement, uses a different platform. Apple is smaller, uses different materials, tends to have sharper corners, and is just different. They're both different. That's what it all boils down to. They both have their good and their bad, but both look like huge babies over these patent wars they keep having. I want you to try to sell me on how good your phones are, not how much you think another company sucks. That's about as effective as politicians spending their time bashing the other party. Like, hey, thanks for not telling me about what it is that makes you a better candidate. Now you both look like jerks.

Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but to me it seems clear which device is which from a glance. Then again, this is coming from the mind of somebody who deals with this industry on a near daily basis. What are your thoughts, readers? Do you find that Apple and Samsung are justified in their patent wars? Do you still pay attention to them at this point? More importantly, do these courtroom cases sway your opinion on what phone to purchase in the end? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Martin Hajek, Gizmag