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

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
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.”

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.

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?

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

Related phones

Mi 4
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3080 mAh



1. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

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

3. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

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 wellhttp://www.whathifi.com/sites/whathifi.com/files/images/loewe/Loewe_1600_Individual_40.jpg

69. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

4. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

Apple fans everywhere around us friend:)

9. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

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

55. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

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

62. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Slimmer bezels, for one thing.

65. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

hahahahahahahaha!!!! I almost fell out of my chair.... Too funny!!! +1

75. Furbal unregistered

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

28. Ashoaib

Posts: 3271; Member since: Nov 15, 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

84. Ethos unregistered

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

41. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 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.

60. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 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.

76. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 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.

82. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 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.

2. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

lol I'm dying this is hilarious

5. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid

Posts: 127; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

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

50. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 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.

51. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 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!!

54. xPnoyStar

Posts: 7; Member since: Jan 25, 2014

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

6. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

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

7. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Doesn't feel like a Phonearena article.

19. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

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

21. mixedfish

Posts: 1550; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Could not agree any more.

26. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

The source is actually from The Verge.

46. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

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

52. aditya.g0110

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 15, 2013


56. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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.

8. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 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:)

10. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Explain please. :)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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