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Right in the middle of its design patent lawsuit fight with Apple, Samsung has released a new tablet that looks different from an iPad, but not different enough—at least by Apple's standards. Unlike the Galaxy Tab 10.7 (comparison to the right via Reuters) that got banned in the U.S. because of its design too closely resembled the iPad's, the new Galaxy Note 10.1 (pictured above) doesn't look like an iPad clone. Most notably, it has a stylus pen for writing on the screen. It also has a fat, shiny, grey bezel bordering the screen. It doesn't feel much like the iPad either, notes New York Times tech reviewer (and Apple fan) David Pogue. According to Pogue: "The Note is a hair thinner (0.35 inches) and lighter (1.3 pounds) than the iPad. When you hold it, you realize why right away: it feels plasticky and insubstantial," he writes. "Clearly, Samsung had no Steve Jobs on hand to veto anything," he continues. Well, that should satisfy Apple, right? Not so, according to a list Apple sent Samsung last year with design alternatives for its gadgets. 

In this patent war, Apple has accused Samsung of copying its genius. Samsung has defended itself saying the similarities aren't design choices but utilitarian parts of a tablet. In order to prove Samsung wrong, however, Apple came up with a list of suggestions with different aesthetics Samsung could have gone with to avoid this infringement. Here were some of the things Apple came up with:

  • Overall shapes that are not rectangular with four flat sides 
  • Or that do not have four rounded corners
  • Front surfaces that are not completely flat or clear
  • And that have substantial adornment
  • Thick frames rather than a thin rim around the front surface
  • Profiles that are not thin
  • Or that have a cluttered appearance

Running down that list, the designers of the Galaxy Note 10.1 didn't take any of those notes. It has an overall shape that is rectangular, with sides just as flat as the iPad's. The corners are still rounded. It doesn't have much clutter. This side view photo via The Verge shows that it has a thing profile. The one thing, maybe, that fits Apple's metric is the "thick frame around the front surface" part. Perhaps the grey bezel fits that metric.

The Galaxy 10.7 did look a lot like the iPad, but, given Apple's list of demands, Samsung didn't have much of a chance, either. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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