The Design Bankruptcy Of iPad Mini Clones

There are a slew of iPad Mini clones coming out of China.

Aside from small sales through sometimes-dodgy international sellers, they are doomed to remain in China.

This is because they all appropriate what’s been established as the “trade dress” of the iPad Mini. “Trade dress” is an issue that Apple hauled Samsung into court over. Apple claimed Samsung’s tablets looked too much like the iPad and caused confusion.

The same argument can be made against all of these iPad Mini clones.

They all more or less look like this:

Miniv1

That’s nothing but lawyer-bait.

And it shouldn’t be that way.

Why was it up to Apple to create a thin and light tablet with asymmetric bezels?

Why couldn’t someone else have done that?

And now that Apple has shown it can be done, why stay stuck in the Apple pattern?

Where is the imagination that would have re-created the Mini form factor into this:

Miniv2

That has a reduced portrait-oriented top bezel.

Or this:

Miniv3

That has reduced portrait-oriented top and bottom bezels.

Making a Mini smaller than a Mini is clearly possible. So why not do it? Why must everyone wait for Apple to further decrease its size and lead the way?

The iPad Mini is selling and the thinner bezels are just fine. So why not make all of the bezels thinner? Why not make them thin and symmetric (not illustrated)?

While Chinese iPad Mini clone makers find as weak selling points being “thinner” (less thick) than an iPad Mini or, and this is no joke, having thinner portrait-oriented side bezels, they are missing the opportunity to be original and to pioneer a mini iPad Mini.

Must Apple do it first? Again?

5 Comments

Filed under iPad Mini Clones

5 responses to “The Design Bankruptcy Of iPad Mini Clones

  1. engineer

    The answer is straightforward, if not obvious. It’s much easier to just copy what Apple does than to design your own system. Design requires designers (which the chinese cloners don’t have on staff) and an understanding of design at a corporate level (Which the google doesn’t have) . This is why they have been shipping such crap for decades.

    Google has the money to build whatever they want, but they didn’t come up with a touch interface– they were cloning the blackberry when the iPhone came out. They don’t understand design well enough to have been innovative, so they ended up just copying the iPhone instead of the blackberry.

    The situation is worse in china, where there is less interest or funding for innovation….

    Sadly, the only way these companies (google and china no-names) will ever be innovative is if the courts force them to be.

  2. Menachem Began

    They’re all mostly just the WWW behind glass.

    This household has an iPad Mini, a Nexus 7, and a PlayBook. They’re more the same than different, each with their well known pros and cons. Bezel width never really made into this consumer’s list of criteria.

  3. Jack

    This is ludicrous.
    It’s like saying all LCD monitors look the sane, you know, mostly glass, with a surrounding bezel.
    How can the relative proportions of screen and bezel constitute a “look-and-feel”.
    Next, we’ll be hearing that apple has a patent on rectangles with round borders.
    Oh wait.
    What a crazy world.

    • mikecane

      I agree completely. There are only so many ways a round rectangle shape can be expressed. I was against Apple’s claim of “trade dress.”

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