Takeaways from this article:
- Insane rip-offs
- Who the hell has 23,004 unread emails?!
- Some rip-offs are actually visually more pleasing than the originals:
Both the screenshots, I still feel iOS screens work better. And here's why.
- In iOS, there's a comforting level of context clarity, I know where I am because of the folder rounded-rectangle visual cue, as the iOS folder icon simply expands itself to reveal the apps in it.
- Whereas MIUI's transition darkens the screen which just might be little jarring/noisy in the regular use. Also, how do I close the folder? My dad wouldn't know.
- In MIUI screen, the font-size for Tools is clearly under-sized. Loses points on easy-scannability.
- Button sizes. I don't have fat fingers but a lot of us do. When you use it, you'll see how annoying small buttons can be. Especially for something that's a calculator. The display height is a wasted real-estate, considering the regular use-case.
Likewise, I'm sure if you look at other MIUI screenshots as well, you'll be able to find some thoughtlessness here and there due to the burden of making screens pretty.
Could be wrong but I assumed the MIUI screenshots were scaled down - which would account for the text sizes.
Agree wih you that the folder isn't overly obvious in MIUI... But at least the app names are legible.
I'm referring to the contrast in text sizes. 'Tools' has to be relatively larger than the other pieces; for convenient scanability.
Yeah I scaled them down from 1080x1920 to closer to 640x1136 and then scaled the side-by-side down to be about 1000 pixels across (so about 500px per screenshot), but I kept the aspect ratio the same.
If I'd had access to 720x1080 assets, I would have happily used those instead.
They certainly are not brain dead copies, these designs try to improve the originals, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not.
‘Pixel-for-pixel copy’ was used a bit loosely in the article, which I found a tad annoying.
I stand by that, especially in the notification overlays and some of the animations. It ceases to be an inspired design pattern and goes into full-on mimicry.
And we can debate about the validity of that approach, but if this was done to a painting or to a typeface, plenty of people would be up in arms.
And I agree some of the designs are improvements. My question is, what if that very clear talent was applied in a way that isn't aping everything down the to window sizing for app switching and shape of the record action or color of the calendar.
What if the pattern was taken, but the application had its own look. Would that not be better for everyone?
You don't copy everything and close as the streaking number 6 in the announcement for the OS (look at the rainbow colored 6, compare to the rainbow 7 from last year) if you aren't trying to elicit a direct comparison or insinuate that you are comparable and equivalent to the existing product. And to me, that undermines the talent of the people actually working there.
A skin that replicates another system is one thing as a hobby. It's another entirely if you're a major company who is trying to sell your own brand.
I think his point is that it's still not "Pixel for pixel". It's clearly inspired by, to the point of knocking-off, but they didn't copy or reuse artwork directly.
I agree it's not a great strategy for making yourself into a global, trusted brand, but hey, it worked for Samsung.
It's another entirely if you're a major company who is trying to sell your own brand.
Let alone a company who's representatives have repeatedly denied copying Apple. And let's not forget about the Aperture icon or the photos used without permission.
Thanks for the long reply Christina. I definitely agree with you. I guess it’s interesting to see how iOS 7 could have been designed in an alternative universe.
Hopefully MIUI hear a lot of feedback and try to something a bit more thoughtful and bold next time. Hopefully... I think Apple has pushed the obviousness of their UI design a bit from several years ago possibly? I get confused by things like the iBooks navigation. I think it’s they are pushing the boundaries of obviousness and intuition, to attempt more with less with their designs. I think there’s some flaws in what they created, not so much in the push away from skuemorphism but in the move towards making things as minimal as possible. So it’d be great to see even more competitors explore these problems.
I am really interested to see how they solved screens and design issues unique to the Android system.
For example - File management - Custom Gallery - Energy management
Edit: Just found this in another comment from Jesse. http://youtu.be/He9YaWwUcPs
As designers, I don't understand how you can call it a Rip Off when it involves something that resembles Apple. If it was the other way around - it would have been an "inspired design" or a "design made better". Infact in this post, I feel MIUI bettered the design of ios7 in several cases. Articles these days come up with bashful titles for almost every new technology and it convinces people that it is a "Blatant copy of iphone" "cheap redesign of iphone", "Rip Off from iphone", "Steals off iphone", etc. Eg: "samsung alpha - new steel rimmed phone - shameless iphone copy. MIUI's new OS - Shameless iphone copy. Nexus speaker positioning - shameless iphone copy. Its frustrating to know that such articles are preventing people from having their own opinion, instead forcing them to have a biased one. . Its not like every designer out there is coming up with a new genuine design with brand new design philosophies. Admit it, everyone looks around for some "inspiration". . Remember to appreciate the technology rather than being a bitch of a criticizer.
"A bitch of a criticizer?" Really? Really? I sure hope you didn't just call me a bitch.
As I've said in other comments, design patterns and inspiration are one thing. Even blatant copies can be ok in the context of an amateur or fan. It IS more problematic when the ripoff is from a major company.
Stealing is good -- and even necessary. But the best stealing takes the best parts of what your are stealing and makes it into something that can still successfully stand on its own.
In any other art form, this type of non-acknowledged aping is judged and judged harshly. Painters who just paint knock-off Monet's were spurned and outcast, whereas those that adapted the technique but not every aspect of the style/work are considered part of a broader movement.
In fashion, taking cues from other designers and fashion houses and color palettes is what happens - but the closer the re-appropriation, the lower on the food change a label or designer becomes.
And if you think those communities aren't critical of the copiers as we are in technology, you've clearly never bothered to look at the much broader design community.
And that's the point. Xiaomi and Samsung are positioning themselves as being on the same level of Apple (or fuck Apple, look at Xiaomi's blatant HTC and Windows Phone ripoffs), yet they (Xiaomi especially) consistently act at the same level as the no-name knockoffs you find on a street corner. And that IS disappointing because the company is clearly filled with smart, talented and creative people.
Taking the copying down a notch and going after a UI pattern and not a color palette, UI pattern, and brand assets would likely yield something that would be just as attractive -- if not more so -- and so indicate that they are more than just a street vendor selling fake Birkin bags in Chinatown.
Remember to appreciate the technology rather than being a bitch of a criticizer.
I think you could have found a far, FAR better way to get your point across. There’s no need to resort to name calling. (Remember: Be nice, or else.)
And, the criticism is definitely valid — the iOS 7 influence is obvious, even if you like MIUI 6.
Point Taken Marc. I will refrain making such statements again. I'd like to apologize to everyone who got offended. However, just to clarify, I didn't name-call anyone or any company in specific. I just wanted to use a harsher phrase than "pain in the neck" to address the biased journalism by techblogs - Guess that didn't work out well. Sorry Christina!
Take a look at the titles of articles, you would understand how biased journalism is (adding to this one from mashable): http://time.com/2818206/ios-8-android/http://www.vox.com/2014/6/4/5779300/ios-8-rips-off-a-lot-of-ideas-from-google-good-for-applehttp://techcrunch.com/gallery/eight-ridiculous-examples-of-how-xiaomis-miui-6-copied-ios-7-and-8/http://www.cultofmac.com/188753/the-braun-products-that-inspired-apples-iconic-designs-gallery/
Its irrespective whether its a big company or small company, whether the designer innovated or not, that's not my issue. My issue is not letting the consumers decide which is best for them. The media shouldn't decide for them by branding them as rip-offs, cheap copies, etc. It is articles like these that instill conflicts between android fans and apple fans. I am a proud patron of apple and android. It disappoints me to see people argue "who copied whom? who's better?" and it just prevents people giving a chance to technology which a lot of people worked towards building it.
Xiaomi's MIUI plans maybe to give their phone a familiar interface to attract users who have only been using the iphone. So that they don't have the "Oh-this-is-too-complicated-for-me-feeling" when they try an Android phone. Now that I would love to see if it works out well for Xiaomi! It would be a good case study. If people really like the iphone, they wouldn't move to Miui, but people who are willing to give it try, it might work out well for them. That is way better than people not giving MIUI a try just because an article said it is a cheap ripoff.
Apologies once again. Peace!
Thank you for the reply.
Do you think people aren’t free to make up their own mind, even if articles like Christina’s exist?
I see your point about the value in mimicking and improving on iOSs’ UI. To do so still means they’re basing many decisions off Apple’s work. I don’t have a moral issue with that (to an extent), but for me, this crosses the line and is more than basing decisions on current best practice vs screen for screen remakes.
But… still looks good. :)
Now that's a very gray area. Let me ask you a similar question - Lets say there is a new restaurant that has come up in your place, you want to try it, but when you see reviews that say that the food in this restaurant is similar to other restaurants, you tend to avoid going to that place, but if you really want to go, you would ignore your skepticism and go. However, not all of them would decide like you did (which is why the review system is prevailing). Similarly, People do have the freedom to choose the phone they want no matter what the media says, but at the same time not all of them have a similar mindset. Some of them choose not to buy it because of peer pressure. They wouldn't want to be called "That person who got the iphone Rip Off". Thanks to biased articles as such there is technological racism.
Of course MIUI has mimicked (or bettered) apples UI, I have never said otherwise. All I am saying is good technology blogs as such should give unbiased opinions. There 'could' be an advantage to what these guys have done. Just Pure bashing makes it literally look like apple paid these blogs to write such stuff.
Ha, I thought it might be weird (as an "Apple guy") that I like the MiUI interface better than iOS7 (and 8), but looks like I'm not the only one.
God damn it! I am a Chinese UI/UX Designer, but I really hate this company!
More than Smartisan?
ya, Smartisan is better than XiaoMi.
I think valid points about the article have already been raised left and right, so I won't go into that.
Rather, it's pretty interesting to see a tech article from a major site posted in DN by its author, whom also joins the community in a lively discussion — well done Christina! Hope it's the beginning of a trend.
In China, copying is often seen in a much better light. While I don't think that it is a great idea to make blatant ripoffs, I do think that great things can come from having a more open culture in sharing ideas. Iterating and improving on others ideas can often lead to better projects. Copyright often hinders innovation.
In the case of Xiaomi, they often don't innovate much on top of the products that they copy, but I do think they deserve some credit. MIUI has been around for quite a long time and back when stock android was very rough and ugly, MIUI created something with much more polish and consistency. There is also something interesting about taking an iOS mimicry and putting it on a more open operating system and other hardware. In a sense, they are giving consumers more freedom and choice. I can say that I would take MIUI over iOS any day. In the past I have installed ports of their android distributions on my phones and quite enjoyed them.
They have created a product that people enjoy. People are buying their products. If they want to be the Chinese Apple Ripoff brand, then why stop them? Could they do better by putting their talents to more original designs? They probably could, but it seems like they are doing fine churning out Apple-inspired work. Sure, ripoffs aren't going to get the admiration and respect that more innovative people do, but that doesn't mean that a company like Xiaomi can't exist. In some regards they have surpassed Apple's execution. If they are operating within Chinese law, then I don't see what the problem is. Things like this spur innovation, create good competition, and make the industry more dynamic. All of the useless court battles over absurd patents slow the industry and hurt the consumers.
If they want to be the Chinese Apple Ripoff brand, then why stop them? Could they do better by putting their talents to more original designs? They probably could, but it seems like they are doing fine churning out Apple-inspired work.
I think there’s a big danger in being a fast-follower, like Samsung and Xiaomi are — if you don’t develop the initial idea, you miss the deeper thinking, and don’t understand the long term strategy. That can be fine short-term, but if someone like Apple or Google is playing a 10+ year strategy that involves lining up many moving pieces, it can mean the fast-followers end up in really bad shape.
I think that’s what’s happening to Samsung now. The value is moving up the stack. Samsung and Xiaomi just don’t have what’s needed when it comes to building an OS, apps or services. They make great hardware, but I think phone hardware will be comoditized eventually, just like PCs were. When there’s many hardware makers that are “good enough”, what’s going to give Samsung and Xiaomi their edge?
And with that in mind, cloning the skin of your competitors OS doesn’t seem like it’ll change much.
I totally understand what you are saying and in many ways agree. They may not stay or get ahead in the long run. Keep in mind though, that they don't have to be the Lamborghini of electronics to be a successful business. If they are able to release a comparable product for a competitive price, then they have a good chance of doing well.
It seems that Xiaomi has a talent for pushing products to the market quickly and cheaply. If they are able to design, build and produce something on par (even if it is a mimicry), they have an edge. They made their own clone of Pressy and beat it to the market with very competitive prices (something like $0.38 vs $27). Their app that they released for the device is beautiful as well. It isn't a huge accomplishment for a company like that to beat a small start-up, but I think it sheds light on their business model and strategies.
You are correct that Samsung shines more in their hardware than their Android distro/UI design. The have more history in building hardware throughout the audio/video spectrum of products. On Android, they take cues from Apple but never really hit the mark. I think that Samsung i starting to move over to the Tizen operating system which might give them more freedom and power over their own devices. The have created niche markets like their large Note phablets. I guess we will have to see where they go in the future.
I actually confused the calendar screens. I thought iOS 7 was the one on the left in the article.
This is just making me wish that iOS 7 looked more like MIUI 6...some of these shots are actually gorgeous.
This all seems like mere Dribbblization of iOS7.
C'mon guys, it's easier to take something good and make it prettier. It's not worth the appreciation.
Definitely liking MIUI 6 visuals more than iOS 7 as well. Looks pretty good in motion too.
Check that "delete app" animation at 1:45
At least the buttons look like buttons.
MIUI has always ripped off everyone pretty hard. it's Chinese tech. that's what they do.
check out the HTC Sense rip.
and it's WP8 rip "lite mode".
But they are well-designed rip offs.
cant disagree. miui is also incredibly customizable. great os.
So here's my question, since many of is obviously think that some of the work is actually an improvement of iOS 7/8 (for some apps I think it IS better - others not as much), is that totally diluted from the fact that this is such a shameless rip-off?
For me, a "rip-off" is reusing someone's work wholesale and passing it off as your own.
That's not what Xiaomi has done here. They've obviously taken inspiration from iOS, but then made something better (at least, judging from the screenshots). For me, that falls squarely in the Everything is a Remix category.
As these videos point out, everybody copies, remixes, and reuses. So why is it that when the Beastie Boys do it we say it's genius, but when Xiaomi does it it's a rip-off?
I suspect the difference here is how we perceive the intent: we see Paul Boutique as an acknowledged homage to the music it samples, while we suspect Xiaomi of trying to pull one over on us.
And the fact that they're a Chinese company doesn't help, since that immediately triggers thoughts of knock-offs and low-quality goods…
It's funny, I called-out Everything is a Remix in my text. And I think you nailed the difference. There isn't a lot of acknowledged homage, it's just shameless aping buried between excuses from the one English-speaking exec who argues that they aren't even remixing. And I think there is also the argument that this is less a remix than a facsimile. It's true the facsimile might be better in some cases, but I'm less sure they've created a new work that can stand on its own, whereas the Beastie Boys clearly have used samples to make something they is greater than the sum of their parts.
But it's a good thought.
I do think tho they we have to distinguish between design patterns and wholesale mimicry. The former has a very important place, the latter is more problematic, even if it still has validity in a certain context.
I think your argument would be much stronger if Apple didn't rip off previous Android operating systems. The thing that bugged me most about the article - and with some of the almost blind Apple fanaticism in this thread - is that iOS took SO many ideas from Android it isn't even funny. For example, the entire way iOS7 handles notifications is no different than my old HTC Incredible from 2010.
These discussions would be much more productive if we could all get past Apple being the innovation point or basis for all ideas and design... and truly address the issue without bias. If you're gonna flame MIUI, you should also be flaming iOS itself.
@Andreas - agreed on all points! As for the email...yeah. I'm really bad at email. Really bad.
This article is just hating for the sake of hating. The tone of writing is just whinny, sure MIUI is clearly heavily inspired by iOS7 but they providing their users with an iOS alternative on their device and I don't really see too much wrong with that. Sure they could have tweak their branding to be a bit more unique, but easy money is easy money.
Some things that you have noted here such as the "drawer" on iOS have actually been around on MIUI for years, also their home screen has always been a copy of iOS, but I think in the whole they have done a "better" job than Apple in many respects, for instance they have thought about colour contrast and font width. However I will agree that MIUI have been ripping off Apple for quite sometime but then again, who's going to argue with good design shouldn't we be appreciating the good points? Not criticising the whole team for something that potentially one person could have had the driving influence behind?
To be fair, MIUI v6 is just a flat version of MIUI v5 which was released 5 months before iOS 7.
I am shocked that the author did not mention anything about MIUI v5