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Xiaomi needs to try much better not to look like a blatant Apple copycat

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Xiaomi needs to try much better not to look like a blatant Apple copycat
When Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 4 today at a massive event in Beijing, I referred to it as a company that’s often said to be ‘the Apple of China’. It seemed self-evident - while Xiaomi’s business strategy to sell devices at nearly zero profits reminds much more of Amazon, Xiaomi itself blasts out Apple look-alikes product after product. Not just this, its events are very reminiscent of those of the Steve Jobs-led Apple, and Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun dresses in a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and pulls out a ‘one more thing’. Literally.

Yet, Xiaomi’s global vice president Hugo Barra, a former top-level Google exec that presented the world to devices like the Nexus 7, fiercely disagrees.

"We're not copying Apple's products. End of story," Hugo Barra exclaims. He does not stop there, though, also saying that comparing Xiaomi to Apple from the media equals to “sweeping sensationalist statements because they [the media] have nothing better to talk about.”

"We're not copying Apple's products," says Xiaomi. But is it really so?

So I thought that I may have fallen in the trap of herd-mentality and thrown an unfair allegation at one of China’s leadest phone makers. It was time for re-assessment.

I did not have to go far: Xiaomi’s previous product announcement was the MiPad, a 7.9-inch tablet with a 2048x1536-pixel display. Hm, where have I seen that before? Ah, wasn’t it the iPad mini with Retina display that features the absolute same form factor: not just the same size and resolution, but also the same - rather atypical for Android - 4:3 aspect ratio.

iPad on the left vs MiPad on the right

iPad on the left vs MiPad on the right


What’s more, the design similarities are striking even to the untrained eye: the same rounded edges, the same positioning of the camera. Heck, even the logo of the companies is at the exact same position! At this point, you’d think that any sane person would admit that we’re dealing with an obvious copy, or even clone.

Barra, however, argues that "if you have two similarly skilled designers, it makes sense that they would reach the same conclusion. It doesn't matter if somebody else has reached the same conclusion."

The problem in Mr. Barra’s statement is that design is not a mathematical equation where there is only one right solution. You can have many beautiful designs - the HTC One (M8), for instance, is beautifully designed, yet it does not copy Apple in any conceivable way. Xiaomi products, on the other hand, have a long history of doing just that (and they’re copying not only Apple for that matter).


That’s not all, though, Xiaomi is copying not merely the design of Apple products - its copying the way it presents products in its website, the structure of their presentation, and even the way Steve Jobs dresses. Can you guess where the image below comes from?

Xiaomi needs to try much better not to look like a blatant Apple copycat

Yes, it’s a real picture, from Xiaomi’s Mi 4 presentation where CEO Lei Jun (dressed in a Steve Jobs-copied uniform) brings a ‘one more thing’ (it was the Xiaomi MiBand, for the curious). Rather than admitting the obvious, however, Hugo Barra goes on a tirade about how "we are not the only ones who have adopted the Steve Jobs presentation style. The whole world has done that."

No, Mr. Barra, there is no other company in the world that has its CEO dressing like Steve Jobs and using the same words he used. Nada, zilch.

Finally, at the end of the day, I can go to sleep in peace: I have seen more than enough proof that the only thing sensationalist thing about Xiaomi copying Apple (and other companies) is the way its executives are hypocritically denying it. What do you think?

reference: TheVerge

84 Comments
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posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:16 31

1. ArtSim98 (Posts: 2779; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Ok I agree on the other ones, but centrally positioned logo? SRSLY?

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:25 17

3. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 906; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


I was wondering the same thing, phones and tablets do look a like. But that TV doesn't remind me of an Apple screen. Besides all brands have a centrally positioned logo, Pioneer, Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, B&O, Loewe.

Look Loewe copied Apple as well
http://www.whathifi.com/sites/whathifi.com/files/images/loewe/Loewe_1600_Individual_40.jpg

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 18:48

69. joey_sfb (Posts: 2931; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


There are similarities between XiaoMi and Apple. I just don't buy in on one company having exclusive rights to a market with designs.

All TV are rectangle shape, all cars has four wheels and a steeling wheel.

Looking like Apple product there is plenty of Apple clone product with Android OS sometime with iOS itself but there should have a quality that does not exist in other brand that make people rush to purchase a XiaoMi product.

For the MiPad its the only tablet with Nvidia Tegra K1 processor.

For the RedMi series its price cheaply with good spec and establish MIUI interface, Duel SIM, removable battery and MicroSD slot.

Mi4 again high end spec at half the price of other high end brands.

I think Samsung better get their act together if they want to earn my money again. Remove those stupid bloat ware. XiaoMi can get by with none of them.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:26 2

4. Duketytz (Posts: 479; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)


Apple fans everywhere around us friend:)

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:33 4

9. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4079; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Is it me, I just don't see it...

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 14:27 6

55. Finalflash (Posts: 1764; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


You have to look harder and you will notice that the Xiaomi products actually look slightly better than the Apple products.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 15:35

62. Neo_Huang (Posts: 411; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)


Slimmer bezels, for one thing.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 16:09

65. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4079; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


hahahahahahahaha!!!!

I almost fell out of my chair.... Too funny!!!

+1

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 20:51

75. Furbal (Posts: 305; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)


The mi pad is the only one i see copying, but thats because it is..

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:25 1

28. Ashoaib (Posts: 2107; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


this is called competition... what apple is bringing, xiaomi is bringing to...
when TV was invented, other companies started manufacturing TVs too, thats called counter product not a copy

posted on 23 Jul 2014, 16:22

84. Ethos (Posts: 61; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


apple copied well old known SONY sony WAS main brand for innovation in the past ...

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:21 3

41. pwnarena (Posts: 905; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


you have to take the phrase as a whole (stripe + centrally located logo). it's not just about the logo.

seriously, we can't just disregard the similarities. xiaomi is obviously a copycat design-wise.

they can't improve if their cheap tricks are tolerated.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 15:07

60. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 369; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


The comparison between the TV and iMac is still a stretch. Apple's design influences may be subtly present in the Mi TV in the thicker grey bar but overall the two are drastically different in design... The iMac sports a FAR more rounded design, and the logo is much more in your face. The Xiaomi logo is hardly different in presentation than my Samsung TV across the room, my AOC monitor, and probably the majority of TVs on the market. It's just an obvious way to present a logo.

There is a fine line to be drawn between the near carbon-copies of the iPad mini's design and the iPhone advertisements, and a subtle design influence that gets lost in the other nuances of a product's only to be found by somebody looking to start an argument on the delicate subject of copying and Apple.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 21:47 1

76. pwnarena (Posts: 905; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


well based on the evidences shown above, you can't deny that xiaomi is a copycat and they have to change,

it's great that they're offering excellent prices but it's degrading to offer products that look like the products of another company. they already made some fame now. it's about time to establish their own identity.

posted on 23 Jul 2014, 08:00

82. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 369; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


I can definitely agree that Xiaomi needs to dramatically change much of their company's design language. My point was that it's absurd to hold the mild resemblance between the Mi TV and the iMac on the same level as their other products.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:21 5

2. apple4never (Posts: 948; Member since: 08 May 2013)


lol I'm dying this is hilarious

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:28 14

5. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid (Posts: 123; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Damn!!!! My Sony TV and my LG monitor have centrally positioned logo. I knew everybody's copying apple.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 13:22 2

50. StanleyG88 (Posts: 78; Member since: 15 Mar 2012)


Yeaa.. I had a SONY TV with a stripe on the bottom and the SONY name on it in the center, guess they copied APPLE? OOHH Wait, the TV was made in 1974, "three years" before APPLE even existed.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 13:35

51. LikeMyself (Posts: 274; Member since: 23 Sep 2013)


See no one can match the reliability of SONY TVs! I also have a 29" which is displaying near perfect colors(480p I think) like an HD TV for 20 years!!

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 13:57

54. xPnoyStar (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Jan 2014)


I have a 40" sony tv :) 5-6 years and it is still working.
Already has HD ^^

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:28 9

6. NexusX (Posts: 119; Member since: 16 May 2013)


if xiaomi ever releases a phone in the states, apple would most definitely sue them into oblivion

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:30 4

7. cezarepc (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


Doesn't feel like a Phonearena article.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:51 12

19. ihavenoname (Posts: 1400; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


For me it felt like The Verge article. So much worse than typical Phonearena (or any techsite) article.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:57 1

21. mixedfish (Posts: 117; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


Could not agree any more.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:11 1

26. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1318; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


The source is actually from The Verge.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:51 1

46. androiphone20 (Posts: 1451; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


The Verge is a thousand times better than Phonearena could ever be.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 13:36 5

52. aditya.g0110 (Posts: 39; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)


i VISIT PHONEARENA JUST FOR THE COMMENTS :D I BET YOU WILL NOT FIND SUCH HILARIOUS COMMENTS ON ANY OTHER WEBSITES

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 14:30

56. Finalflash (Posts: 1764; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Well of course, they actually try making some new articles while PA just rehashes them. Also, then there is Alan and his literal copying and pasting of the 9-5mac homepage.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:31 1

8. The-Sailor-Man (limited) (Posts: 885; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Wow. Somebody is still thinking that , there is something that can be copied from Apple(except of the rectangle).LOL

By the way, can somebody explain why is this Xiaomi-articles flood in all the tech media. sites??? Hundreds every day. Even more than Apple articles.
If you can't explain it, I could help you:)

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:35 3

10. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Explain please. :)

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:41 3

13. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4079; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


hahahahahahahaha

Yes please do!

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:45 1

16. The-Sailor-Man (limited) (Posts: 885; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Can you guess first???

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:50 1

18. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Okay, let me guess...Uh...Oh, I know!
It's very normal for posting these kind of articles, I'm Popeye The Sailor Man...doot doot!

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:41 1

11. afrohoxha (Posts: 6; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


Just google "Xiaomi gets the Steve Wozniak endorsement"

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:41

12. Ninetysix (Posts: 1612; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


LOL @ One more thing. Steve Jobs is that you?

http://www.appgefahren.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/WWDC-Steve-Jobs.jpg
http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2007/06/dsc_5291.jpg

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 16:03

64. AfterShock (Posts: 2806; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Reminds me of Columbo.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 19:04

72. joey_sfb (Posts: 2931; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Its a private joke and also imitation is the best form of flattery.

Chinese do not have a sense of self righteous when it comes to coping good design and presentation.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:42 3

14. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


There's not one single device that doesn't share at least a few similarities to other devices.

Victor H needs to get his eyes checked, once his head is extracted from his anus.

The buttons are in different places, and aren't the same. The internals are completely different, never mind the fact that one runs iOS and one runs Android.

The tablets share a screen because it's cheaper to do so. This is an extremely common practice. Only a handful of companies actually produce screens, and it's very common for manufacturers to produce screens (and other components, such as processors) for companies they're in direct competition with.

Stupid article by an idiot.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:39

32. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3078; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


This sort of response is uncalled for.

Xiaomi does seem to utilize the same design language as Apple in some key aspects of their products and marketing efforts.

I don't think this is a black mark on Xiaomi as Apple cobbles design elements from many sources themselves.

Maybe the real issue is that few companies are spending enough effort to come up with their own, more unique, design languages.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:50 2

36. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


This entire "article" is uncalled for. It's blatantly biased, uninformed, and just plain stupid. PA should be ashamed to publish this, and Victor H. is a poor excuse for a journalist.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 21:53

77. pwnarena (Posts: 905; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


you're blind. can't spot the similiarity? i guess nobody will ever hire you as their product designer. or maybe the likes of xiaomi will.

i really despise people who don't know how to respect other companies' ideas. copycats deserve to die!

i'm always for android but with companies like this who don't spend effort and smarts to do something original, android continues developing dark spots.

miPad ? what? can't still see their effort to copy?

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:43 9

15. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 5494; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


What's the point of this article actually? To prove that one of the successful Chinese manufacturer is copying Apple all the time? Last year, HTC One and Blackberry Z10 both look similar and you guys didn't post anything about it, Pantech phones look like Samsung phones as well and you guys didn't post anything about it, the Xiaomi Mipad looks like the iPad Mini and you guys are like "OMG, this Chinese manufacturer is copying Apple! OMG, we must post an article about this!" One thing I don't understand is the centrally positioned logo, how is that copying?

Look, it's 2014 already, "copying" is getting old now. I think we should say "Inspired" instead of "copying" or "copycat". Even if they are copying, what have they done to you? U mad or you're just too butthurt to see just a minor inspiration of Apple design from the manufacturer? Why not just get the damn phone and enjoy it?

PA, please...I'm not arguing with you guys, but sometimes you guys just don't know what you've done. Please post useful articles next time, this kind of article is totally unnecessary. I'm disappointed with you, Victor and PA.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:07 1

25. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 951; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


"Inspired" means "taking some cues," not slavishly copying, a la miPad-iPad Mini.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:16

39. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1446; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


It's very possible that they're using many of the same components, like screen or case. Should they put the screen in upside down so the camera is on the bottom right instead of the top left? During the first Apple/Samsung trial they were saying the original Galaxy S copied the iphone, and that was far less similar than these, and their argument was people would be confused. So how far away does the design have to be for them to be happy? And at a certain point, the design has to follow ergonomics, otherwise it'll be hard to use, lest we end up with triangle shaped tablets and phones.

Look at the latest Chevy Impala and Ford Taurus. From a distance they're hard to tell apart, but I haven't heard of any suits there. That's what happens in competition, one company offers something, and another offers something similar if not downright identical, to capture some of the potential customers.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:06

38. tedkord (Posts: 4802; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


For that matter, if the iPhone 6 looks anything like the leaks so far, it's borrowed heavily from the M8.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:26

42. nasznjoka (Posts: 339; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


Even though I don't prefer any ios device but this kind of foul play can not be tolerated. This is direct copying and should be descouraged thanks to theVerge pointing that out. This really show that iphones are on the league of their own while its not. St###id chinese copying everything

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 15:55 1

63. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1446; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Normally if it takes someone to point something out, it's not obvious.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:49 8

17. alexsupertramp (Posts: 21; Member since: 18 Oct 2013)


Victor H. needs to try much better not to look like a ducking s-hithead.
looks like this duck got no work on his hands.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:03

23. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


I agree with you, except for the fact that I really, really REALLY hate Supertramp. Good god they suck. Worst band to ever eff up a classic rock station's playlist. They suck more than KISS, and that's saying something.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:38

30. alexsupertramp (Posts: 21; Member since: 18 Oct 2013)


good god..! i agree with you but the alexsupertramp i am inspired from is Christopher Mc Candless.Google is your friend.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:44 1

35. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


We can be friends then. :)

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 10:52 8

20. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Hey, PA, you're hiring right? Because I can think of thousands of people more qualified than Victor H (including myself).

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:06 1

24. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 951; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Spot on, Victor. It's easy to make a cheap phone when you work in a country that doesn't care if you blatantly rip off patents and copyrights, not to mention, bypass millions, or even billions, of dollars in R&D because you can just reverse engineer.

For those who would argue, just look at the ridiculous number of products that come out of China that are blatant rip offs of Western products. I say rip offs, because China would have nothing, if not for the technological advancements they have stolen from Japan and Western nations. Cars, TVs, phones, computers, tablets, etc. roll off Chinese assembly lines every day, for use inside China, because they are blatant copies and those companies would get sued into the Stone Age if they ever darkened the doorstep of Europe or the United States.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:20 4

27. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


There are tons of clones out there. Xiaomi doesn't make them. Rounded corners? Camera in the top corner? This is copying? If that's the case, then my Oral B toothbrush is a blatant copy of a Reach, My can of Cambell's tomato soup is a copy of Dinty Moore, and my Sketchers shoes are a blatant copy of Nike, what with their laces and soles and all.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:43 5

34. 14545 (Posts: 1112; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Apple with millions or billions of "R&D".....LMAO.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/focus-7

Sure, they may spend money on R&D, but they haven't ever created anything ground-breaking. They just rode the trends until their marketing department made them the "trend". They are living on a legacy, not a very good one at that, and they will eventually be nothing more than a footnote of history.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:27

29. derivativex (Posts: 72; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)


lol theverge

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:38

31. Planterz (Posts: 826; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


I don't think the response to this "article" is what Victor H. was expecting.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:42 2

33. _Bone_ (Posts: 2129; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Actually it's the PERFECT strategy. The devives look damn fine with a bit of extra touch on the outside, and something FAR BETTER on the inside, which is MIUI. So anyone in China lookingin for a premium or God forbid an Applesque device without the insulting price tag, there are Xiaomi's GREAT alternatvies, cause these products are actually performing like few other.

And what if Apple notices, Xiaomi says SUE ME and make me famous. It's the perfect strategy.

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 11:57

37. avyfa (Posts: 12; Member since: 25 Feb 2014)


Lol, i can agree with tablet and phone, but TV? Really?

posted on 22 Jul 2014, 12:36

43. 14545 (Posts: 1112; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I can agree with the tablet. The phone as a whole, meh. Sure, if you are trying to relate the two. But the TV, no, not at all. Presentation, absolutely.

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