The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple’s marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users.
One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger displays years before the iPhone did. When asked about how much of a factor Samsung and other Android smartphone makers had on Apple at the time, Joswiak admitted they were “annoying” and accused them of poorly copying Apple’s technology.
“They were annoying,” said Joswiak. “And they were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology. They took the innovations that we had created and created a poor copy of it, and just put a bigger screen around it. So, yeah, we were none too pleased.”
Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 with a 5-inch display in early 2013, at a time when the iPhone 5 had a 4-inch display. Apple did eventually release its first larger smartphones with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, and the devices were met with strong demand and went on to be among the best-selling iPhone models ever.
Apple sued Samsung in 2011 for patent infringement, alleging that Samsung copied the iPhone’s design with its own Galaxy line of smartphones. Apple was initially awarded around $1 billion in damages, but the amount was lowered in a subsequent retrial. In 2018, Apple finally settled with Samsung and reiterated the following statement:
We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers. This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.
We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products.
The full documentary can be watched on The Wall Street Journal‘s website and provides an interesting look back at the iPhone over the years.