Apple Piles Up More Evidence Showing TouchWiz Was Inspired By iOS Every Step of The Way


Today in court, Apple continued with their “leaked memo” onslaught, showing another round of leaked internal Samsung memos and once again, Samsung is forced to play defense.

Yesterday night we had an interesting discussion on exactly what were Samsung’s intentions regarding the software design of the Galaxy S — specifically, when dealing with TouchWiz icons. While I was skeptical, some were more than willing to give Samsung the benefit of the doubt, saying it was nothing more than a coincidence and a normal evolution of design. I may not have agreed, but I could jive with that.

If yesterday’s email from JK Shin urging employees to enhance the user experience of their devices so that they could reap iPhone-like success, wasn’t the smoking gun Apple hoped it would be, maybe the latest memo is more what they were looking for. Let’s pretend for a second that Apple didn’t influence Samsung’s custom TouchWiz UI. I mean, it’s not like Samsung execs held up an iPhone side by side with the Galaxy S, and asked designers to come up with iOS-esque icons… right? Not so fast. According to this leaked 132-page internal document from Samsung back in 2010, they may have done exactly that.

You can see from the above snippet straight from Samsung’s product engineering team that Samsung wanted to do away with stock Android’s irregular, flat, non-glossy icons. Instead Samsung was looking for something a little more like iOS — that is to say, square icons, with rounded edges, and a glossy “3D” look. In fact, the entire report goes into painstaking detail, comparing iOS’ UI with TouchWiz. You can see for yourself that whenever changes were made, they were almost always in favor of duplicating the iOS experience. It turns out Samsung may not have been trying to come up with a completely original UI at all. It can even be said that TouchWiz was a direct result of iOS, like some kind of Apple bastard child.

Let me be clear. I’m team Android all the way. I don’t think Apple should have been granted half the patents and copyrights on things like “rectangular phones” and icon designs. It’s ridiculous and quite frankly, I find it stupid. At the same time, I think it’s pretty obvious to see what Samsung’s intention was when releasing the Galaxy S. This was Samsung’s answer to the iPhone 3GS and while it may not have 100% copied Apple’s IP’s, I think it’s safe to say that the Galaxy S was most certainly inspired by the iPhone, and today’s leaked documents prove that. But does this make Samsung’s actions illegal by making something similar to the iPhone? Not a chance.

Remember, if Apple hopes to hit Samsung with that $2.5 billion dollar fine, they need to convince the court that Samsung “slavishly copied” the iPhone and that consumers were so dimwitted, they couldn’t tell an Apple device from a Samsung one. To further their position, Apple went to call on more “expert” testimonies who, after being handsomely compensated for their time, testified that Samsung’s device’s weren’t just coincidentally similar to Apple’s, but that they infringed on their specific design elements and utility patents.

Samsung’s position is that this was a natural evolution of smartphones with big, capacitive displays, and that the industry would have moved towards an iOS type UI with or without Apple and their mobile OS. In some way, I agree. The stock Android user experience was already leap frogging iOS in terms of functionality, and that Google did a great job of making sure nobody would mistake the two for each other. Personally, I think in the end, it will be Android that saves Samsung, thanks to the notification shade and widgets. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what Samsung is able to pull out of their hat.

[Scribd | Via AllThingsD | PeanutButterEggDirt]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I never liked TouchWiz’s square icons. The non square icons made android very unique compared to iOS. It’s the reason why I always avoided touchwiz. To me it felt too much like they were trying to create the iphone.. guess this just shows that they were :-/

    1. That’s what you get for bastardizing the stock Android experience.

    2. They’re also just bad usability. Humans recognize shapes faster than symbols a lot of the time. It’s one of the reasons full caps text is harder to read–all the words are shaped like rectangles rather than having the contours of a lowercase word. You can recognize icons faster if they have unique shapes.

    3. I think the irregular icon shapes of stock Android are actually usefull and I’ve always hated the standardized IOS icons.

      When looking for an app, whether in an App drawer, or on a home screen the distinct shapes of the icons actually helps me find the app I want faster.

  2. even the s2 is ugly to me in it’s stock form. Very ‘blocky’, very iphone-ish. The day my friend got one, I rooted and put ics on it right away.

  3. I just don’t get it. You have to be a real idiot or just technology ignorant, to get a Samsung confused with an apple. Also, your complaining about rectangles ans squares with common symbols for icons . Let it go and create something that is more inspiring if Apple is truly gifted on creating innovative products than its going to burn the competition regardless of what anybody creates. So bring it apple, and show us what you can do instead of whining like little children saying this company did this or that and it’s not fair because it seems like earnings were pretty high and still are high.

    1. My grandma can’t tell the difference between an Volkswagen and a BMW. She’s not dumb, she’s just clueless about cars. I’ve talked to a few “tech-illiterates” before and was flabbergasted on how little they knew about things nerds like us are so passionate about.

      1. Isn’t that the point, cars look very similar for the reason TV’s, phones, microwaves, beds etc look so similar, there are certain aspects products MUST share to make them work.

      2. i see ppeople on a daily basis who ask “is that the new iPad? I want one so badly” when im using my old HP TC1100, Motion LE1700 and even my tiny LS800…. /sigh

        1. You can simply say “YES, that’s an iPad” :P

        2. Just answer: No but I am an iPad and I am capable of multitouch….

    2. There are certain to be people like that. They have to do nothing other than walk into the store, point to a phone, and say, “I want that one.” And the sales rep can simply oblige, with little interaction with the customer. A good rep will ask questions to be sure the customer is getting what they want, but how many good sales reps does any store have compared to those who are simply there for a paycheck? The customer may think they’re getting an iPhone, but they’ll walk out of the door with any number of other phones.

      Some may never find out, but use the phone because it works for them, proudly, confidently, and incorrectly proclaiming that they have the iPhone. Some may figure it out and stay with what they’ve got because they like it. Others will exchange it and complain that they were sold the wrong phone, never acknowledging that it was their ill-informed choice to begin with.

      Just one possibility…

  4. inspired=/=copied

    1. I agree. While I knock points off Samsung for even being (heavily) inspired by iOS, I don’t think Apple should win this one.

      1. How are they getting away with paying witnesses to testify? Everything about that screams wrong.

        1. “Expert” witnesses are always paid. In fact, some even make a living out of it.

        2. The witnesses have to be paid. Are you going to spend weeks analyzing something for a company to testify and not get paid? The point is the witness is an expert and has a reputation. The company is counting on that expertise and reputation to help them in court.

          1. Doesn’t that influence the jury in some way to be more biased in Apple favor?

          2. Samsung will have their expert witnesses that they will pay, as well. It is up to the jury to decide which expert is more credible. Also, the opposing lawyers will cross-examine the expert witnesses. Often, they will look at past testimony these witnesses have given to see if their current testimony is consistent. Also, I am sure the jury is made aware that these witnesses are paid (probably not how much).

            I was once involved in tearing apart evidence that a so called expert provided in a lawsuit my employer was involved with. I have to say the document was pathetic and lacked any credibility. I was able to invalidate the document and the witnesses credibility.

  5. Ummm….yeah, from the two images up on the screen, it really looks like Apple is trying to say that Samsung didn’t copy. They mention everything that Touchwiz doesn’t do. Wouldn’t that be an indication that they didn’t copy? Maybe that’s just how I see it.

    1. It’s actually Samsung pointing out the differences between certain features/aesthetic and basically telling there engineers that they need to be more like iOS in that regard.

      1. *their

      2. Yet, there’s a statement on one of the comparisons with instructions to make things different from iOS.

  6. I’m android all the way, I despise Apple for the way the are doing business but it is obvious Samsung had intentions of looking just like the iPhone, but…
    “so what” is all I can think, just how exactly is this hurting apple?
    It sure as hell is not Touchwiz selling the phones, it’s android and hardware are superior.
    If a person wants an iPhone I’m fairly sure they won’t but any Samsung phone, it’s the way apple users are, if they are so dumb as to mistake the 2 at purchase time and leave with a Samsung phone? I feel sorry for them.

    1. Even if they do buy a Samsung phone, they still have 15-30 days to return it, if they still haven’t figured out its not a iPhone by then I think we have bigger problems then touchwiz icons looking too similar to the ones on iOS

    2. Simple defense for Samsung: print a large picture of 16 phone – some Apple, some Samsung. Ask the jury to pick out the “x” number of iPhones. Next to the Samsung phones, the iPhones still stand out for it’s various design styles – 4:3 screen, larger all square icons, lack of Back, Home, and Menu buttons, etc. . .

  7. Keeping examples directly relevant:
    Apple saw Androids notification draw and used it to improve their device.
    Apple saw the use of multitasking and tried to make use.

    That’s how this crappy world works as ATM.
    Role on Venus project.

    1. Android is an open system, so apple can pretty much take all our features and nothing can be done about it, in iOS 6 they took voice turn by turn navigation, they incorporated social network sharing directly into their apps, traffic updates, bookmark syncs and resume web browsing between different devices, quick responses, they also took a lot of features from Google maps that they added to their new mapping app and theirs even talk that the new iPhone will have NFC and a bigger screen. Yup Apple is being influenced by Android alright

      1. Thats not true. The notification drawer for example is currently patent pending.

        1. Yep. Using open source code and features still requires licensing and the license for patents related to Android is revoked if you file a lawsuit about anything else in AOSP.

  8. Well they’re talking about icons looking similar. The Samsung TouchWiz app icons do resemble the iPhone’s icons. I had the Samsung Captivate (Galaxy S) and I didn’t like that about my phone. The physical appearance, they don’t resemble one another in any way. But if Apple is going to be petty about inventing “rows of icons set in a grid pattern,” Google search the Nokia N95, which I owned. The N95 has all of it’s app icons aligned in rows and in a grid – and the Nokia N95 came out November 25, 2006 and the iPhone didn’t come out until June 29th, 2007. I remember when they introduced the iPhone and they showed the iPhone’s rows of icons and the first thing that came to my head was: “The iPhone’s screen looks a lot like the screen of my Nokia N95.” Why doesn’t Nokia sue apple for copying the “rows of icons set in a grid pattern” like they’re bugging Samsung about it. None of this lawsuit crap Apple is claiming makes any sense.

    1. Some of the apps UIs on the iPhone are ripped from Samurize/Konfabulator. That is missed by so many writers when slating Samsung for “copying.”

    2. First off, I will say that I am no way an Apple fanboy. My wife and I both use Android phones and have since the OG Droid was introduced.

      It doesn’t matter when the iPhone came out. What matters most is when Apple filed the application for their patent. It is always been my understanding that a companies IP protection starts when the patent application is filed, not when it is granted. Therefore, if Apple filed a patent on “rows of icons in a grid pattern” before any other company either filed or publicly showed a device with this same feature, then Apple is considered the inventor. Again, what really matters in IP is when the application for the patent was filed, not when the iPhone first went on sale.

      1. I have a couple of old Moto Q smartphones circa 2006 and an HTC Ozone. On all of the phones, the icons line up in a rows/grid pattern. This is pre-existing art. Apple’s patent on icons in a grid pattern is laughable and will likely be invalidated(prior art). They should determine who signed off on this patent and immediately fire them because they had to have been living under a rock to have missed this. Are there any sort of knowlege requirements for theses clowns in the patent office??
        One interesting thing about this trial is that it will bring to light more of these bogus patents and we’ll likely see a slew of invalidations begin now that there’s grewing awareness of how off-the-tracks this patent issue has gone. Apple may be painting a huge bulls-eye on their own backs as a result of the information coming out of this suit.

        1. Agreed. Even if they win the trial, Apple will still lose a lot.

        2. Again, it does not matter if other phones already on the market in 2006 had “rows of icons in a grid pattern” before the original iPhone came to market. If Apple had already filed a patent application for this before these other phones went to market, then Apple would hold the IP rights and could sue Nokia if they so desired.

          1. Doesn’t matter if Apple patented it or not. Patents get invalidated all the time on the basis of pre-existing art. Only new ideas can be patented. Proof of existing art trumps patents.

  9. Samsung should be talking to Apple asking them why they “innovated” their notification bar, or even multi-tasking.
    Apple is a hypocrite.

    1. The only thing they share is the slide down action. Did Android invent the window shade? It doesnt look the same and comes down as one sheet instead off separate sections. Apple even innovated by making it available even when the status bar is not visible. What Samasung did here is just wholesale ripoff the look of iOS and not add anything themselves.

  10. I don’t care who you are
    Where you’re from
    What you did
    As long as you love m… money

  11. Just another gallon into the bucket of why manufacturer UIs should have never been used and should go away. If Samsung had stuck to stock Android they could get off of this scot free but they will likely pay damages on the software side. I don’t think they should have to, even considering this, but I have a feeling that my person belief that apples very general UI patents are crap won’t change anything.

  12. I was not impressed with the galaxy s because of the fact that the UI looked like a dang iphone. That is why I was team HTC all the way back then. But still, most consumers will know that they are buying a samsung phone vs an iphone. Sure at first might be a little tough, but I doubt someone will be confused. Hell, I think it actually would hurt samsung more since people will always refer to it as “like an iphone” or “iphone copycat”

  13. One thing that I would like to ask, how come Apple get this kind of document? And all other internal documents. For Samsung as well, they own some Apple internal documents and emails.

    In this kind of lawsuits, can the lawyer ask “Ok, I want access to your company email server/document repository and take all emails/documents that related to this case” … Is that so?

    Can they just ask that?

    If those are leaked docs/emails … Why? They can’t make it secure?

    Or are there any “spies” inside company?

    I don’t quite get it.

    1. It’s called a court issued subpoena. They can get pretty much any corporate documentation they want. It’s just how the legal system works.

      It’s funny because Samsung got in trouble a little before the trial started for deleting/shredding evidence. Guess they missed a few :p

      1. That’s the problem, if this is the stuff that wasn’t first priority to be shredded, what did they shred? I think Samsung did go out of their way to create a phone that was similar to the iPhone, even if they failed. But I don’t think that’s a crime, it’s just poor judgement lol.

  14. Oh no, Samsung was surveying the competition. WHO CARES!

    Every company does this. If you think Benz doesn’t purchase and teardown new model BMWs, and visa versa, then you are crazy. Toyota does the same with Honda, Honda the same with Toyota. Sony does it with Panasonic, and Panasonic does it with Sony. Maytag does it with Whirlpool, and Whirlpool does it with Maytag. Canon does it with Nikon, and Nikon does it with Canon. Crest does it with Colgate, and Colgate does it with Crest. My point is, this is what companies do. They look at the competition, see what the competition is doing well and try to emulate that and improve their own products.

    Why does Apple think they are above everyone. They want to control everything and anything and prevent anyone else from doing something they never even did first to begin with. If Apple could patent or trademark breathing, they would, and we would all have to hold our breaths.

    Did Samsung look at iPhone in detail? Yes
    Did Samsung copy certain parts of the iPhone, such as the rectangular shape with rounded corners? Probably Yes
    Should the above two be illegal or worthy of a trial? NO!

    Improving a product by examining the competition is normal practice that happens in every single industry, in every product we use on a daily basis.

    Instead of this going to court, the patent office should be investigated for granting a company a patent on a rectangular shaped phone with round corners.

    1. If you’re correct, there’s another problem, in that Samsung would have lied in denying it.

    2. All of this just smells like Steve never recovered from losing the early PC war with Microsoft. When he saw a parallel in what was happening with iPhone vs. Android, he saw an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. Now Apple is slavishly following the ‘thermonuclear’ will of their deceased iCon/Demigod/Creator.

      Steve never understood the true power of a diverse product line, he considered it ‘fragmentation’. (Third party Macs from the 90s anyone?) He never understood true innovation through competition and the inspiration that can come from it. Can you imagine if we all had to have iPhones? Everyone has to use the same device (all because they were “first”)? BOOOOORING (not to mention completely unrealistic). Plus the product would not advance/evolve anywhere near as fast as it has been out of a need to keep up with the Joneses in Mountain View.

      Even if Apple wins this battle, they will lose the war. Their approach carries the same flaws from their previous tech wars: you cannot maintain a majority marketshare with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality. Diversity is strength, competition is inspiration. Why do you think Samsung is currently number 1?

  15. Certainly looks similar but have a look at old windows phone and symbian icon and you will see that Apple was also inspired.
    They never compare the home screen of the galaxy device but the app menu.

  16. Like I said before though, resembling is not copying. If it is not an exact duplicate you don’t have a case.

  17. Samsung pwned again, this isn’t gonna end well for them

  18. I’m Team Android since I bought my G1 but this document is the smoking gun. We lost guys :/

  19. I don’t get Apple’s argument that they’ve lost money because people have confused the iPhone with the Galaxy S. Back when the Galaxy S came out the only store where a customer could possibly have bought one or the other in the same place is an AT&T store, and AT&T’s Galaxy S version was the Captivate which had a completely different looking body from the other GSs and the iPhone. Also, in mobile stores you can’t just grab a phone off the shelf and buy it, you have to tell an employee “I’d like an iPhone”, or “I’d like a Samsung Captivate”.

    1. Not necessarily. A customer only needs to point to a display and say, “I want that one.” As I said before, a good sales rep will make sure the customer walks out the door with the phone they want, but they don’t really have to; they only need to walk to the back and pull out the Android phone the customer pointed to thinking it was an iPhone. They would be stupid for not looking around or reading the signs with the display, but stupid is as stupid does.

      1. Even if something like that could happen, which I don’t believe it could, AT&T customers have a month to return a phone they’ve purchased. That’s plenty of time for the customer to figure out that the phone they bought isn’t the iPhone they were expecting. Hell, If a customer couldn’t tell the difference between an iPhone and a Samsung Captivate, did they really even know what they wanted?

  20. Seems to me like at one point in the doc they look back and say wait it looks like we copied the iphones icons. Fix it.

  21. I’ve never seen Touchwiz in action, but if these recommendations were not implemented exactly then the slides prove nothing. I never liked Samsung phones anyways, I’m an HTC/Sony/Moto kinda guy.

  22. Everyone hates touchwiz that I know anyway. Please revamp that wackness.

  23. Here’s a link to my comments on another Phandroid article on how Apple blatantly ripping off others without any credit or recompense.

  24. Actually if anything these documents disprove the notion that the Galaxy S was inspired by the 3gs and I think it will be quite easy for a decent lawyer to argue as such. Comparing your products against competitors is standard practice and all these documents show is not only did Samsung do this but they actually built up a catalogue of differences. The language Samsung used is vague for example use a sound effect to stimulate nostalgia and it will be easy for this to be shot down by a decent lawyer.

  25. Remind anyone of anything? Yeah, this was part of an application called “Konfabulator.” Apple ripped the entire look after this app was on the market for a couple of years. The weather app could show multiple days, slide to uncover more details and the entire interface was unheard of on OSX before this came out. Apple still uses it the exact type of UI on the iPhone. Only difference today, are the patents. That’s how crappy this case is.

  26. “Remove a feeling that iPhone’s menu icons are copied by differentiating design.”
    I wonder how that will be interpreted.

  27. Chris you’ve done an excellent job being unbiased and honest in your coverage of this case.

    As much as I despise Apple though Samsung deserve whatever they get for this. It’s just another reason why manufacturers should stick to the stock UI.

  28. TouchWiz is such a joke, looking at the iOS comparatively.

    The best thing all these companies can do instead of trying to rip-off Apple is go pure AOSP like the Nexus.

    1. These days I fully agree, ICS and Jellybean in their pure AOSP form are beautiful and much better than IOS in so many ways, I just got my GSM galaxy nexus and Jellybean is a beauty.
      Problem was in the earlier days of Android, AOSP needed some serious help from a usability and general customer appeal standpoint, which brought about the horrible skins.

      The problem now is that these manufacturers won’t drop their old unnecessary skins because they feel that it differentiates their product, if we had more AOSP models to choose from, especially Jellybean, I think manufacturers would start to see that their skins are really holding them back.

      1. I definitely agree that pre-ICS Android needed a lot of help in areas like usability, design and responsiveness categories. As of Jelly Bean, it’s just an amazing OS, and finally has security such as ASLR.

  29. It still doesn’t matter. Apple never trademarked the “look and feel” of glossy icons. A LOT of companies were using that prior to iOS, including selling (or free) icon packs on the web.

  30. Copyrights on things like “rectangular phones” and icon designs are crazy. How can you copyright a shape. Everything a company come out with a product it is normal to do research on other products. You compare what you bring something different. Apple add notification bar and voice command. They did it because of android. This is real world apple stop acting you create everything and you can copyright shape.

  31. Maybe someday we’ll see the headline: “Courts force Samsung to remove TouchWiz from all devices.” Wouldn’t be such a bad day.

  32. Maybe this will be the death of touchwiz! That would be amazing!

  33. This memo is OBVIOUSLY Samsung looking at what they could do to BETTER the industry leader at the time. I mean if the Galaxy S is an iPhone copy then why in these memos are they, in painstaking detail, ripping apart their own product, then stating how they can improve theirs? This is nothing more than Samsung trying to learn from what Apple was doing right. This is NOT anything remotely close to proving patent infringement.
    For example: Me and an accomplished artist both draw a picture of the same flower. Needless to say his rendering will be superior to mines. Are we saying that I can’t look at his picture and see where I could improve mines, and that if I did so I am somehow “copying” his picture?

  34. I must admit I find it laughable that everybody is missing the obvious:
    Samsung should use this same document to prove that they didn’t copy the iOS software since the memos go into specific detail about how much the Galaxy S is NOT like the iPhone…LMFAO!!!

  35. iOS is a closed operating system

    Android is a open operating system

    iOS users are lame duck turtle heads

    Android users are sophisticated hackers

    Android > Apple

  36. Please remember, even our idea of God was INSPIRED BY earlier ideas about various gods.

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