You are currently viewing Admit it, everyone wants an Apple device—even if it’s made by Samsung

Admit it, everyone wants an Apple device—even if it’s made by Samsung

Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Copy that

Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but I don’t advise readers to rely on that defense in court. Not even if you’re one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

It remains to be seen, admittedly, whether Samsung is about to find itself in court. But let’s just say that the signs aren’t promising. As one Twitter wag has pointed out, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra and the Samsung Buds 3 are so close to their Apple equivalents that it’s hard to believe the whole thing is a coincidence.

We’ve been here before. Between 2011 and 2018 Apple and Samsung fought bitterly in courts around the world, accusing one another of violating smartphone patents. Apple pointed out that Samsung phones (namely the i9000 model of the Galaxy S) looked quite a lot like its own phones (namely the iPhone 3GS) and asked for action to be taken. Seven years and a small fortune in lawyers’ fees later it felt like very little had been resolved, but I suppose a point of sorts had been made: copy our designs and at the very least you’ll be dragged through a long and costly legal process.

Amid that case, incidentally, I got to make my one and only appearance on national TV when “expert” analysis was required on a news show. It’s possible that the bookers had overestimated my ability to explain copyright law to a teatime audience, but I did have some success with an analogy between smartphones and microwaves. (I always say that a good analogy is like a friend who’s better at explaining things.) Microwave ovens all look the same, I argued, because that device’s evolution arrived at an optimal design and there was no longer anything to gain by changing the fundamentals. At some point, smartphones will reach that point too, and they may have done so already. The legal system will need to be able to account for that, or we’ll just be forcing some of the companies to make worse handsets for the sake of it.

But that was then, and this is now, and it must be admitted that the latest case of imitation/flattery feels more blatant than the case of the Galaxy S and the iPhone 3GS. Based on leaked images, the Samsung Buds 3 Pro don’t just look like they copied the fundamentals of a pleasing rival design—they look exactly like a pair of AirPods. They look, in fact, like one of those scam products designed to trick you into thinking you’re holding the real thing, right up until you notice they’re called AirPro Pods and cost $11.99. As for the band and the squarish rugged look of the Galaxy Watch Ultra… let’s just say that using a slightly different shade of orange doesn’t count as designing your own product. I mean, even the back and the band-swapping mechanism appear to be carbon copies of the Apple Watch Ultra.

In a different time, the Cupertino legal team would be currently assembling, like Voltron in expensive shoes, and gearing up for another epic battle. And perhaps they are. But such a battle won’t achieve anything except cost both companies a great deal of money and give tech websites something to talk about. But maybe, on some level, Tim Cook can just smile about the whole thing. For a rival company to be driven to this level of desperate mimicry, the AirPods and the Apple Watch must be truly great products, or at least products that every consumer wants to own. And maybe there’s something to that old saying about imitation and flattery after all.

Trending: Top stories

AI is a mess and Apple is here to clean it up.

Arm race: How Apple’s M3 squares off against the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite.

Is an Apple Vision SE the key to spatial computing’s success?

Apple’s HomePod speakers aren’t as smart as we thought.

Podcast of the week

What’s going on with Apple’s next phone, the iPhone 16? That’s in this episode of the Macworld Podcast!

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Reviews corner

The rumor mill

Apple Watch Series 10 leak shows off an Ultra-sized screen in a slim body.

Apple’s struggles to cut the price of Vision Pro’s successor could mean key features are lost.

Reports of an Apple/Meta AI team-up might have been exaggerated.

Software updates, bugs, and problems

Here’s how your conversations with Android users will look in iOS 18.

Apple just updated all of its AirPods and once again we don’t know why.

Gamers rejoice! macOS Sequoia makes it easier to install large apps.

And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.