Samsung has a long history of mocking Apple before copying it

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Stop us if you've heard this one. Apple makes some change to its iPhones, Samsung's PR company mocks the very idea -- and finally Samsung copies it. Sometimes the company keeps a low profile, sometimes it shouts about Apple's missteps, but always, always Samsung then goes the same way.

Samsung logo with an Apple-style bite taken out of it
Samsung logo with an Apple-style bite taken out of it


We're not going to critcize Samsung phones here. Let's not even get into the argument that Android copied iOS -- partly because yes, of course it did, but mostly because we want to specifically examine Samsung.

The company usually makes a case that its technology is ahead of Apple's and while you can regularly dispute that, it is often quite true. Samsung's phones were waterproof before the iPhone was, for instance, and later in 2019 it's highly likely that they will release 5G-capable phones and Apple won't.

What we can't get over is how Samsung's PR department keeps hammering on this same nail. As part of all this, it regularly lampoons people who buy iPhones as being deaf to Samsung's alleged technology superiority -- but it treats its own users as being blind. Where Apple users sometimes get called sheep, Samsung is always hoping that its own users have goldfish memories.

The latest case is of course to do with the notch in the iPhone X range which naturally features far more prominently in Samsung's advertising than it does in Apple's own.

Yet this all goes back a long way. If it's usually in such a specific sequence that you could predict when Samsung will mock and how many months later it will copy, there are occasions when its PR company is just wilfully ignoring the facts in order to take a shot at Apple.

Such as with Apple Stores. This one took a long time as Apple Stores opened in 2001 and it was late 2018 when Samsung ran a series of ads spoofing them.






That was part of Samsung's series of ads called Ingenius which are all set in a mockup of Apple Stores and use, well, mockups of Apple Genius staff.

To be fair, Samsung could've done much the same thing with Microsoft Stores and would there have saved some money by not having to hire so many extras as customers.

Yet they could also have used their own stores. There are Samsung Experience Stores and there have been since they were introduced in 2013. It's easier to find the website for them than it is an actual store, though. And that's in part because of the last line on the page. "Finding a Samsung Store inside Best Buy near you is easy. Just enter your zip code."

We added the emphasis but we didn't enter our zip code --because there's nowhere to type it. We do hope that this is a fluke, some temporary hiccup, because each time we try, we see only this the page.

Surely this usually works
Surely this usually works


It's a gorgeously-designed page in the sense of how it looks but it doesn't actually work.

Lightning fast

So Samsung is mocking the Apple Store experience when you didn't even know that there was a Samsung Experience Store. Shortly before it opened these shelves inside Best Buy, Samsung also ripped Apple apart for how the company changed from a 30-pin dock to a Lightning cable.






This was 2012 and when we're reminded that Apple made this change at all, it is startling to realise it was so long ago now. Samsung was right that it was happening and Samsung had a point about how big a change it was. To this day, you will find 30-pin connectors on devices in hotels, for instance.

However, there was also this: when Samsung released that ad, several websites pointed out this third-party product which you can still buy today.

What was that about changing from 30-pin to Lightning?
What was that about changing from 30-pin to Lightning?


That's apparently the fistful of different cables that you needed to charge all the variations of Samsung phones. In 2012, it was being sold as a 17-in-1 set and today it's an 18-in-1 set so either the makers missed one or Samsung's done it again -- without Apple mocking them.

Blatant

Call us idealistic, but we do credit customers with noticing things like this. We're idealistic but also practical, though, so we wouldn't assume that absolutely everybody would recognize a copy six years after the original. We do expect industry people too, however.

This one is Apple's version in 2007. Call it Before.





And in 2013, Samsung's After.



Innovation

In that case, Samsung used Apple's advertising skill. In the cause of speed and efficiency, it skipped the bit where it first mocked Apple, it just went straight to using the ideas. This isn't the only time it's done that -- see if you can spot any Apple-esque elements in this ad -- but from around 2013, it kept quiet. For a while.

It's as if it believes both industry experts and its own customers are so siloed that they won't recognize a copy. They might well have a point there as usually Android advertising passes us by but we did pick up on Samsung's great online payment innovation.

Samsung Pay innovation
Samsung Pay innovation


Apple Pay launched in 2014 and Samsung Pay was announced about a year later in 2015.

And Samsung couldn't stop itself. While its advertising claimed that Samsung Pay was more widely accepted than any other system at all, it only showed an Apple Pay transaction failing. That claim about wide acceptance is qualified, by the way, with a little footnote saying "Refers to service coverage".





We're sure they're right and the fact that it initially only worked with then then new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5 is just a detail. And actually, Samsung Pay does have an advantage over its rivals in that can work with old-style payment machines where you had to swipe your card.

Maybe that gag about failed Apple Pay transaction emboldened Samsung's PR department, because it's since then that they've gone all out to ridicule their Cupertino rival.

You don't know jack

Civilization ended in 2016. That was when Apple dropped the headphone jack with the introduction of the iPhone 7. It was such a cataclysmic event that it may have taken you until 2018 to get over it -- only to have another of Samsung's Ingenius ads revive the trauma.





Take a guess what's happening now. It appears that Samsung's Galaxy A8S hasn't got a headphone jack either. We'll see what happens with the S10.

One notch

Someone at Samsung's PR department is clearly spotting genuine issues with Apple's iPhones, or at least things that could be genuine issues to some people. That dropping of the headphone jack was mildly inconvenient and it did mean we all have headphones lying around that we can't use any more. It was definitely a valid point.

We're just amused that nobody in Samsung's PR department talked to Samsung itself. Fortunately, though, they would never make that mistake twice.

Or at least not twice in the same ad campaign.

Throttling

In 2018, both Apple and Samsung were fined for allegedly throttling the speed of their older phones, intentionally slowing them down in order to make you buy new ones.

Italy's anti-trust body fined Apple the equivalent of $11.4 million and Samsung only $5.7 million so maybe Samsung could claim a little higher moral ground. Except it didn't, it carried right on mocking how Apple iPhones slow down.



That's enough now

Then riddled throughout the whole series of Ingenious ads, there are also decreasingly subtle digs at Apple and at Apple fans for that notch introduced in the iPhone X.

There's no disputing that it detracts from the otherwise edge to edge display on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR. You might not mind it, but you know that it would be nicer if it weren't there. That said, you also know that it's necessary. The notch is where Apple puts its TrueDepth technology which powers the Face ID system.

Samsung can't let Apple be the only one with working Face ID so its new phones are set to have the same idea, at least to an extent. And in the case of the Samsung A8S, that same idea is going to feature what looks like a hole punch in the display.

It's not a notch, you've got to give them that
It's not a notch, you've got to give them that


It's up to you, it's up to each of us, whether we find that more distracting than a notch but the same thing applies. The display would be better without it.

And there's one other thing that you know applies. Apple is not going to mock Samsung's hole punch in its advertising.

Classy

We're going to say that, yes, Apple is too classy to hammer on Samsung in its major advertising campaigns. However, it's also smarter. Possibly it's also more arrogant, but it's definitely smarter.

All phone manufacturers copy from -- are inspired by -- each other and, again, Samsung has legitimately beaten Apple to certain features.

Yet, the way that Samsung keeps on going through same loop of derision and copying leaves us feeling that it's an also-ran. That's wrong, Samsung makes some great phones yet this pummelling away at Apple is dangerous.

And having your ad agency insult the buyers of your rival's products doesn't feel like a winner, either. Maybe it is, maybe this is why Samsung is doing so well compared to all other Android makers.

Except of course that it's now copying Apple's China woes.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Samsung PR...Ewe guys are so funny!
    jbdragonmagman1979StrangeDaysmacseekerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Love this article. Samsung ads always felt like it had hatred for other folks.
    jbdragonmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    muthuk_vanalingamols
  • Reply 4 of 21
    It's funny, and Samsung is completely shameless. 

    However, it doesn't have anything to do with "class" that Apple doesn't mock Samsung in its ads. It's just classic marketing, when you're ahead of the competition, you never mention the competition. Samsung is behind Apple (on certain metrics, not all) and the advertising paints a picture of Samsung as the scrappy underdog taking on the Apple Goliath. When Apple was the underdog of the PC world, they had absolutely no issue, it certainly wasn't inhibited by their class, running comparison ads against PCs and Windows.

    If Samsung weren't running these dumb comparison ads to Apple, we'd wonder what was wrong with their marketing department. 

    The logical inconsistencies don't matter that much from the advertising perspective. It's just a gimmick, most people aren't paying attention to whether Samsung sells dongles on their website.
    muthuk_vanalingammagman1979badmonk
  • Reply 5 of 21
    lwiolwio Posts: 83member
    One thing I have to admit Samsung make good microwave ovens. 
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Most of the ads are petty and not particularly funny but the notch haircut is worth a chuckle. We all know that the notch is just a stepping stone - when Apple figures out how to get around it, they will - so there's no need to defend it to the death. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 633unconfirmed, member
    Samsung removes headphone jack.

    "Well that was where the industry was going anyway."
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    croprcropr Posts: 914member
    As a general rule one can say that if Samsung did not try to copy it, the feature was not that great after all.  And naughty as I am  the butterfly keyboard comes to my mind.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 21
    canucker said:
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    Those Mac ads were honest & straight forward & did not make fun of Windows users. It just said for certain things Macs were better.
    magman1979StrangeDaysbaconstangredgeminipa
  • Reply 10 of 21
    canucker said:
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    Those Mac ads were honest & straight forward & did not make fun of Windows users. It just said for certain things Macs were better.
    Might want to consider re-watching those ads.  They were straight forward and funny.  I would not suggest they were honest or dishonest.  Not even a road I’d ever go down. It’s advertising.

    I would acknowledge those ads targeted “PC” as a platform and less so users (read: however -> users by extension).  Whereas the Samsung ads blatantly target not just the platform, but Apple staff as well as the “user base” which is probably where people might find them distasteful.  I imagine it is to bolster brand loyalty, but I doubt it is intended to convert Apple users to Samsung - if so, that is an interesting approach 🤔.  Cannot imagine it is that effective...
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,221member
    I still say removing the headphone jack was stupid. I got an iPhone XS a few weeks ago and readily admit I considered getting an Android phone because of the headphone jack but decided against it. I took a trip and got on the plane. Started to listen to some music and the battery on my bluetooth headphones died. Went to plug in my wired headphones but I can't charge my phone and listen at the same time. Damn it! Ok, I'll just just the music from the plane.. nope. The plane uses one of those 3.5mm jacks that is so obsolete that every device in the country save Apple's iPhones has one. More problems with the rental car - it doesn't have bluetooth but does have a ... 3.5mm jack!

    Tell me again how this is progress?

    saltyzipmuthuk_vanalingambaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Samsung didn't slow their phones down as in throttling like apple. The issue was a note 4 OS update which obviously hadn't been tested properly and broke some functionality causing people to gripe.

    The Samsung a8s has dropped the headphone jack, hardly a copycat. Apple forced it on customers to save apple money on BOM and also make them even more money on new wireless accessories a customer now needed to buy.

    No usb c headphones around yet, so assume market forces are now saying to go wireless, no harm in samsung waiting a few years before doing away with headphone jack.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 21
    canucker said:
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    Those Mac ads were honest & straight forward & did not make fun of Windows users. It just said for certain things Macs were better.
    Indeed, a subtle but truthful distinction -- it was Mac & *PC*, not Microsoft per se, and the characters were personifications of the devices, not the users of those devices. Even when it was an underdog itself, Apple did it better and with taste.
    baconstangredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21

    MplsP said:
    I still say removing the headphone jack was stupid. I got an iPhone XS a few weeks ago and readily admit I considered getting an Android phone because of the headphone jack but decided against it. I took a trip and got on the plane. Started to listen to some music and the battery on my bluetooth headphones died. Went to plug in my wired headphones but I can't charge my phone and listen at the same time. Damn it! Ok, I'll just just the music from the plane.. nope. The plane uses one of those 3.5mm jacks that is so obsolete that every device in the country save Apple's iPhones has one. More problems with the rental car - it doesn't have bluetooth but does have a ... 3.5mm jack!

    Tell me again how this is progress?

    Wait, you didn't charge either your BT headphones *or* your iPhone, so you needed to charge your iPhone on the plane? Poor planning on your part. Too bad you didn't have a pair of BT headphones that shipped with a quick-charge case.

    It's definitely progress -- for the loss of the legacy analog audio port, we got OIS in the non-Plus sized phones, plus a bigger battery, plus water gaskets. That's far more useful to me....I can count on one hand the number of times I needed to use wired headphones, and when I did I used what was in the box.

    So hardly "stupid". I'm glad you're not in charge of things.
    edited January 14 pscooter63redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21

    saltyzip said:
    Samsung didn't slow their phones down as in throttling like apple. 
    Christ you're still ignorant on this issue? Throttling takes place in all of our devices. On iPhone, they added a throttling use case when you had an exhausted battery that needed service and was prone to current dips which cause shutdown, a potential data-losing event. Thus, the action extended the useful lifespan of older iPhones. (Tho it would have been wiser for it to notify users of such evasive maneuvers, so they could go get their battery serviced).

    Yep, Samsung didn't do that. They just made phones that grounded airplanes and did this:



    ...hmm, yeah I think I'll take the longer-lasting iPhone, thanks. 

    Troll on!
    edited January 14 kevin keepscooter63redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    "Samsung has a long history of mocking Apple before copying it"

    As does Microsoft. Remember Steve Ballmer?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    Amusing. I have one issue with it, and I keep seeing it, or some variation, popping up in both pro- and anti-Apple punditry re: the removal of the headphone jack:

                  "it did mean we all have headphones lying around that we can't use any more."

    C'mon. This is just a pure, flat-out lie. All wired headphones with 3.5mm jacks can still be used with the jack-less iPhone by using a lightning adapter, available from Apple or 3PV's for $9 or $10.

    With the adapter, you can't use your headphones and charge the phone at the same time. But that is not what the statement above says. And there are adapters available that enable simultaneous charging/listening.

    So cut it out. Please.
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,664member
    canucker said:
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    Sammy isn't the underdog. everyone keeps telling us Android and Sammy are winning unit sales. And the Mac vs PC ads didn't mock the users. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,664member
    MplsP said:
    I still say removing the headphone jack was stupid. I got an iPhone XS a few weeks ago and readily admit I considered getting an Android phone because of the headphone jack but decided against it. I took a trip and got on the plane. Started to listen to some music and the battery on my bluetooth headphones died. Went to plug in my wired headphones but I can't charge my phone and listen at the same time. Damn it! Ok, I'll just just the music from the plane.. nope. The plane uses one of those 3.5mm jacks that is so obsolete that every device in the country save Apple's iPhones has one. More problems with the rental car - it doesn't have bluetooth but does have a ... 3.5mm jack!

    Tell me again how this is progress?

    You sound like someone who bought a tesla and complain you can't charge it at gas stations. How is that progress ? 
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    jungmark said:
    canucker said:
    Interesting article, but you do realize for years Apple took several digs at Microsoft through their “I’m a Mac” ad campaigns right?  Not exactly a morale high ground. 

    Samsung is an underdog to Apple, and their campaigns reflect that.  Funny though, I’ve never seen one of these commercials outside of this post!  I imagine it’s ad targeting realizing I have no interest in Samsung phones. 😂😂😂
    Sammy isn't the underdog. everyone keeps telling us Android and Sammy are winning unit sales. And the Mac vs PC ads didn't mock the users. 
    Not sure about you, but my measure of a company’s success is not unit sales, it is profitability.  I mean if you want to invest in a company because they are ubiquitous by all means and take that home, while I enjoy my big fat dividends.  
    Apple Captures 51% of Global Smartphone Revenues: 3X Samsung, And 7X Huawei

    And, read my follow up post to Homer - you’ll find we agree on the fact Samsung mocked users, Apple staff and the company itself.  
    watto_cobra
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