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Innovation & Copycats

Dmitry Fadeyev on innovation, brand dilution and copycats…

Take Apple’s iPhone for example. The original design is revolutionary, and the company has received all their due success for being the first to introduce it to market. Competition followed with their own implementations of the touch screen phone, which has now led to a healthy competitive marketplace with plenty of great products for the consumer to pick from. Apple were the first to come up with the iPhone style design, but we’re no worse for having others follow it. Indeed, we’d be worse off if the rest kept their old, clunky designs.

Dmitry’s thoughtful pieces explores the inspiration versus copying. Apple products, for example, are openly inspired by much of Dieter Ram’s work with Braun. But they’re not copies. Apple isn’t making electric razors.

Dmitry argues that copying dilutes brands and makes it hard for consumers to tell the difference. I can see that, but I also feel like the copycat products are copies are the superficial level only.

Rounded corners, a chicklet keyboard and a solid aluminum body aren’t what makes a Macbook a Macbook (well not entirely, anyways). It’s the way to software and hardware work together. The 6 hours of battery life. The backlit keys. The attention to every little detail.

Creativity is about copying ideas, transforming them, and combining into something new. Apple is great at that. Where I think most critics get hung up on how Samsung and others do it is that they nail the first part - the copying - but maybe aren’t so good at putting their own spin on things.