[dropcap1]W[/dropcap1]hen someone is asked to use one adjective to describe Apple, he or she will likely respond with “innovative.” Through the years, Apple has been one of the leaders at developing new platforms and new paradigms used in technology. Despite its reputation, however, Apple has been known to implement ideas created by others. With the recent success of the Samsung Galaxy S3, some are questioning if Apple is going to begin copying features first seen on Samsung devices. Some, in fact, are claiming that Apple has already started to copy Samsung and other manufacturers of Android devices.

Is Apple really innovative?

First, it is important to question the premise that Apple is a leader in innovation. When most people first saw the iPhone, their first reaction was one of awe; none had seen a comparable device in the past, and many of the technological aspects of the iPhone seemed unprecedented. When breaking down the iPhone, however, it becomes clear that none of the components were truly original. Touchscreens have been in use for decades, and devices with screens that cover most of the device’s face had been developed in the past. What made the iPhone revolutionary was the way Apple tied all of these components together.[/col][col type="1_2" class=""]

Are Android devices innovative?

If one accepts that Apple is an innovative company, Google and those who manufacture Android devices deserve some credit too. Early Android devices were the first break away from the 3.5-inch screen paradigm employed by Apple, and Android devices were the first to implement front-facing cameras. In addition, Android devices often implemented higher screen resolutions than those on the iPhone, which many believe encouraged Apple to increase the screen resolution on the iPhone. Among Android manufacturers, Samsung is often credited with being the most forward-thinking and innovative.

What has Apple copied?

There is little doubt that Apple felt pressure from Android devices with large screens, and Samsung was a leader in pushing the limits of what users will use on smart phones. While the iPhone’s screen is smaller than those on many Android devices, Steve Jobs clearly believed that the 3.5-inch screen was ideal. Without pressure from Samsung, Apple may never have made the change. In addition, Samsung made copying files between phones a top priority, and Apple has developed technologies to replicate this functionality. Further, Samsung was an early adopter of NFC, which future iPhones will likely support.

Competition

[quote_right]As a result, consumers benefit greatly as major technological companies influence each other.[/quote_right]While some view copying features as an immoral act, capitalism depends on open competition. While there are a number of patent lawsuits working through court systems around the world, technological experts acknowledge that consumers benefit when manufacturers implement great ideas invented by others. While certain ideas should be protected by patents, the incremental developments seen on smart phones are generally not covered. As a result, consumers benefit greatly as major technological companies influence each other. While it is easy to deride a company for using features first implemented on a competitor’s product, it should be noted that consumers have access to better products thanks to this exchange of ideas.

Editor’s Note: Andy G is a tech guru and geek from Austria. At the moment he manages http://www.helpjet.net/ website, what’s dedicated to free utilities and firmware downloads.