Samsung Mobile’s chief designer has stuck back at Apple claims that the Korean firm is nothing but an iPhone and iPad copycat, arguing that the company is on track to match Jonathan Ive’s iconic products. “As a designer, there’s an issue of dignity. [The Galaxy] is original from the beginning, and I’m the one who made it” Lee Minhyouk, Samsung Mobile VP for design insisted to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s a totally different product with a different design language and different technology infused.”
Minhyouk’s comments are the latest retort in the long-standing design battle between Samsung and Apple, with the iPhone maker accusing its rival – and key supplier – of being an “arch copyist” with its phone and tablet aesthetic. “I’ve made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products [for the Galaxy]. Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?” the Samsung VP argues. “As a designer, there’s an issue of dignity.’
Yet critics continue to describe Samsung as a “fast executioner”, capable of quickly mimicking new entrants to the mobile market with its own alternative, but not yet striking out on its own. “Samsung needs to learn to lead more” Christian Lindholm, chief innovation officer of service design consultancy Fjord argues. “They analyze all creativity to death, they lack self confidence.”
That shortage of self confidence may be gradually addressed with the continued success of the Galaxy series, with pre-announcement excitement and speculation over the Galaxy S III already reaching Apple-style levels of enthusiasm. Numerous renders – most if not all believed to be speculative on the part of fans – have emerged over the past weeks, as would-be buyers attempt to predict what Samsung might have in store for the third-gen flagship, particularly in terms of its superlative technology.
Minhyouk says the company is on track to challenge Apple with truly memorable design, too, however. “I might not be at [Ive’s] level yet, but I believe Samsung will produce such iconic products one day” he said. “It’s not just effort that makes it possible for a new product to be a massive hit. It also has to be timely, and technology should be ready to make a certain design a reality.”