Samsung allegedly copied iPhone app icons too, Apple says and it may be right

August 6, 2012
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The U.S. Apple vs Samsung trial continues today with new testimonies and evidence submitted by each party to make it case. We’re going to share with you an interesting slideshow, as posted by CNET, that shows us a variety of images in which we can compare various app icons as found on the iPhone and/or iPad and on Samsung Android devices.

Apple says that Samsung has allegedly copied app icons design including the app icon for the Phone app, Music app, Contacts app, Phpto app, Notes app and Settings app.

And it will surely be interesting to see how Samusng will explain to the jury why its icons are so similar to Apple’s app icons. From where I’m looking I will say that they are awfully similar, and makes you wonder what Samsung designers must have had in mind when coming up with these app icons in the first place.

Let’s take the Phone app: it has to be green, because we’re used to having green drawings on phones representing the button we have to push when initiating a call. We’ve associated green with making phone calls form before smartphones were launched. But does the phone image on that green background has to be tilted in the exact same position? What if the background was white and the phone was green in Samsung’s designs?

The Contacts app is a bit different, although it does remind one of the iPhone Contacts app icon. Here, Samsung was able to use a different color, although the general idea is pretty much the same, we have a profile of a person posted over what seems to be an agenda or a notebook

Samsung almost got it right when it comes to the Settings app too. We’re looking at a blue app icon, which is nothing like the gray app found on the iPhone. Too bad though that there’s the same wheel on both icon sets.

Moving on to the Notes app, we have Samsung using almost the same color option as Apple does in its iPhone Notes app. While it’s clear why the phone icon has to be green, why does the notes app have to be yellow on Samsung devices too? Can’t it be white, or any other color?

I left the most disturbing icons for last, as Samsung will really have to explain why its Photo app on some devices has to contain elements of a flower, which is what is found on the iPhone’ Photo app. Are people only taking pictures of flowers?

The weirdest choice Samsung made for an icon is represented by the Music app icon that looks too much like the kind of icon Apple has been using for a few years for its iTunes music service. The same kind of concept was then brought to iOS devices, and Samsung seems to have been really interested not only to use a variation of purple, or thereabouts colors, for its various Music app icons, but so many of them show a CD design and a note on top of it, which is too similar to Apple’s Music app found on iOS devices.

So while it’ll certainly be a lot more easier for Samusng to argue that touchscreen-based smartphones and tablets have to be rather square with rounded corners, it’ll be a lot more difficult to explain why UI elements from various Galaxy handsets look so much like elements from the iPhone. And there are plenty of Samsung devices that use the icons above including:

Captivate; Continuum; Droid Charge; Epic 4G; Exhibit 4G; Fascinate; Galaxy Ace; Galaxy S (i9000); Galaxy S 4G; Galaxy S II (AT&T Edition, 4G); Galaxy S II (T-Mobile Edition); Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch; Galaxy S II Skyrocket (4G LTE); Galaxy S Showcase; Gem; Gravity Smart; Indulge; Infuse 4G; Mesmerize; and Vibrant.

Of course, this is not the first time we see these icons, they were there all along, although they make quite an impression when merged together like that. And they may not be found to be infringing on Apple tech – a jury will still have to tell us if that’s the case – they surely paint a pretty clear picture, that Samsung was, in fact, inspired in its smartphone design, by Apple elements. Maybe too much so when it comes to some of the apps described above.

We’ll be back with more news from the trial, but in the mean time, tell us how you’d defend Samsung when presented with such compelling evidence?

Comments

  • wtf

    Oh, come on Apple! Really? Even icons? I might respect the iTunes logo since it has (at least, from here) a patent, but seriously? -._____________-.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thinhtvu Thinh Vu

    Go anywhere today and you will find many icons like Apple’s. Their people icon, from Facebook’s default profile picture when you sign up. Notes? Makes sense for an app called “Notes” to have an icon denoting what is… a note. Samsung even used sticky notes, not a notepad like Apple. This is just ridiculous. Compelling evidence? That’s just bullshit. Sure the icons have some sense of similarity, but if you think about what the icons are being used for, then it makes sense. They’re not exact duplicates, so how could this be compelling evidence? Another example, long before apple had a “Pictures” icon with flowers in it, Microsoft gave you a default “My Pictures” thumbnail photo of what was already populated into it’s defaults… flowers.

  • mrzzz83

    http://bizanywhere.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/lg-env-touch-live-3.jpg

    Im too lazy atm, but you can google phones that pre-date the iphone, and they will share similar icons. They are the universal icons for such things, especially the settings icon and Phone icon (Hi, phone booths would like a word with you)

  • S2556

    None of these should count. Apple did not innovate a flower for gallery I have seen that in programs before the iphone existed. As far as the note pad it just looks like a note pad. How can apple claim ownership on the basic design of a note pad? yellow is the stereotypical colour of note pads for many people so it makes sense to make it recognizable. The audio player is very similar to the generic MP3 logo on many programs so how does apple own it?
    I am not even going to comment on the others because they are not even worth my time. Apple is trying to sue over these? why? I dont think these influinced any single person buying their phone to go a certain way. I know I dont make sure my favourite icons are on the phone the way I like them before buying. So what damages are they seeking compensation for? software patents need to be completely revised. Most of the patents that are in question are so simple. Imagine if someone patented a cushioned foot covering with rubber pads on the bottom that are mounted to ones feet by a lace system. Or a metal latch system that was slid to lock/unlock ones door securely. That is the simplicity of these patents. All it does is hinder innovation and competition. It is a broken system that needs to be fixed.

    • Erick Vecchiato

      Preach it man, agreed.

  • pfft

    Super super super lame.. They have become general recognisable icons for specific apps. But they they are not the same!! get over it apple.

  • columbia

    LOOOOOOOOL oh come on apple! it’s a universal sign, understandable without even needing to read the title below it. you’re just being ridiculous.

  • Mark Patrick Klyne

    Better take the phone icon off of all pay phones then too. Not to mention 99% of all phones. Gees this article is ridiculous as is this trial.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592707047 Simon Craddock

      One of my old NEC phones had a similar icon on its call button and that must have been late in the 90s. Apple need to stop claiming they invented things they were clearly inspired by!

  • HeavyD

    So apple should stop to be a crybaby!
    Physically itś not the same, teoraticaly it is in apples head!
    So apple sould stop to cry and inovate!

  • PAUL DESCHAMPS

    Every other comment has said it all & its just completely pathetic on CRapples part to try to sue over. The whole trail is bull & it would be like the first company that came out with a flat panel TV to sue everyone else that made one & nobody else to be able to make flat panel TVs because they all look very damn similar. I really think this is doing nothing but hurting apple in the end. Its just great evidence to support that they have no plans to change the iPhone or innovate, especially the comment about they have made a design that everyone thinks is beautiful. Beautiful lol its an ugly freakin block. Everyone should just boycott their products due to the fact that its evident that they dont want mobile devices to advance in their technology to give the customers the best possible product & at a much better price. If you support Apple you obviously dont support technical advancement so any respectable techy person that buys an iPhone or iPad is a disgrace. -KID ANDROID

  • Ian Huntly

    Perhaps Apple copied from Windows, look really familiar to me.

    How about it is time for the icons for common function to mandated in law as a standard to simplify use of devices across platforms and manufacturers, the same way an automobile today has accelerator pedal on the right, brake in the center and clutch on the left. It wasn’t always so, but has made a huge difference to have a standard.

    If a company wants to innovate, then do so and contribute to the pool with everyone else following iso hiring lawyer thugs. It is a honour to be followed. This is the difference between a glass half full and glass half empty mind set.

  • Marvin Nakajima

    Since each side is given only a limited total time to present their case, it seems silly that Apple would spend that precious time claiming trademark infringement on the icons shown. It is not as if any market share is being lost by having a similar icon on a totally different device and OS. Now if they were available on the SAME OS that could be a problem.. Either Apple is not taking this case seriously by wasting time or they really ARE desperate for any straw. Of the 5 images shown the strongest case may be the phone icon and that’s assuming it is not already used elsewhere previously. Everything else is different enough to be ok IMO.

  • http://twitter.com/mooglestiltzkin Moogle Stiltzkin

    unless they are suing regarding usage of a tech code or hardware they developed they should stfu. small doddle stuff like this hardly constitutes a billion dollar + fine. They are just worried Samsung is doing so well and eating into their market share, that they got to resort to this cheap attack to get in on the action $_$:

  • hoggleboggle

    apple seem to misunderstand the fact that icons need to be similar in appearance to allow people to easily use different phones without having to relearn a new set of iconography. That way if a samsung user picks up an iphone they know how to use it and visa-versa. I personally remember the problems i had when switching to a sony handset which didn’t use the standard green and red iconography. trying to figure out how to end a call or answer one was a nightmare at first, trying to figure out which button to push before the caller hung up :)

  • Nir.C

    All the icons were originally in windows… do you think Microsoft should start saying that someone ripped them off?

    • Michael Devaney

      yup, how about microsoft saying that if you click an icon on a screen and it does something its stealing from them.

  • http://twitter.com/AppzVentureInc AppzVenture Inc

    @iPhoneism #Samsung is a baby born cheater i hate samsung :@x

  • AndroidBrian

    At least someone is suing Samsung for there ugly ass touchwiz icons.

  • intrimazz
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592707047 Simon Craddock

    Have Apple really stopped so low as to say using colours in icons is a copyright infringement!! Get real.

  • TommyNYC

    People, you are looking at this wrong (pun not intended), think about this:
    The more Apple keep coming up with childish and pathetic claims the better chances this trial will end in favor of Samsung, since most of the jurors aren’t even smartphone users to begin with there is a pretty good chance most of them are already seeing this trial as a childish joke.

    The more Apple act like a fool the better.
    Next headline: “Apple claim Samsung stole the color black”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emil-Johansson/1428147693 Emil Johansson

    I though this site was an android site.. but it would seem more and more that the writers here are crApple fanboys.

  • bob1245

    Please make sure to re read what you right..you have a few typos, but other than that..Great article!

    • Anonymous

      write*

  • Marvin Nakajima

    Hmm.. Strange.. I just noticed my Ting.com (Sprint MVNO) Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch has icons similar to the first 3, but I don’t have anything that even remotely looks like the latter 3. My phone didn’t come with a notes app, my photo app (not sure if it’s the camera, gallery, or photo editor that is indicated) icon looks totally different and Sprint provides its own music app so I think may have replaced the Samsung one.

  • Fantasticat

    I love how there’s a troll thumbing down every pro comment.

  • Carl

    It’s not a “wheel”, it’s a gear, which is a pretty common icon theme.

    The notepad is yellow because both legal pads and post-its are yellow. Also, Apple’s notepad icon is… A PICTURE OF A NOTEPAD. If they wanted to be original and un-copyable, they should have used something unique.

  • Carl

    The green phone icon used by both Apple and Samsung is almost identical to the image on the Windows Mobile call button. Not an original Apple design. Not really a Microsoft invention either. Green phone icons are as generic as it gets in the world of phones.

  • prosamsung

    If Apple wins they will not stop here. They will start suing every other
    company with ridiculous demands. The mobile phone industry must unite
    to stand up against Apple, and Google must help too.

  • Pissed off at Mastercard

    All of those icons look like my old n95’s icons…which came just before the iPhone.
    Apple, give up