In trying to justify their smartphone design is rightfully theirs, Xiaomi's Barra fumbled around and told Bloomberg's Emily Chang that "You have to have curved corners, you have to have at least a home button in some way … That's how interaction design works. I just don't think that we can allow a company to take ownership of things that just are or how they are, right?" Well, no Mr. Barra.
Cell phones and the so-called "smartphones" of the day prior to the iPhone heavily used buttons to control most of the functionality of the device. There wasn't a classic home button that brought you to a touch screen of icons. Steve Jobs made that as one of his key sales points in his 2007 keynote introducing the revolutionary iPhone. Mr. Barra and most wannabes just think that it's just a given that they could steal a design. As you can see above, smartphones didn't have rounded corners or the shape of the modern iPhone design of 2007.
I'm not advocating that Apple sue Xiaomi, but to ignorantly take a position that copying a design is just a given right and that they can't allow a company to take ownership of a design shows the mentality of Xiaomi. They're now the Samsung of China and they'll copy Apple at will and what is Apple going to do about it?
Barra later told Emily Chang that "to be honest, I think that you're going to see a lot more happening in the opposite direction, people taking inspiration on what we do in making new products."
It's been recently rumored that Xiaomi is going to be releasing a smartphone with a dual camera. If that's the innovation that he's talking about, then it's not really their invention or innovation.
Intel's RealSense dual camera system for 3D photography debuted on tablets this year and will be coming to smartphones in Q4. Apple has been working on this as well and acquired Israeli based LiNX that is one of the leaders of dual camera systems. Xiaomi takes off-the-shelf solutions to market which requires little to no innovation. Whereas Apple custom designs their hardware features to mesh with their software intimately. It just so happens to be Apple's latest theme found in their new ads: If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone. So until Xiaomi comes out with something truly original, he and Xiaomi are living in a fantasy world to think that Apple would ever have to copy a smartphone feature of theirs.
Xiaomi's Barra hinted in another segment of the Bloomberg interview (not in the video above), that Xiaomi will be selling smartphones in the U.S. market within the next 18-24 months. When asked about the potential problems of fighting patents, Barra noted that they're licensing what they'll need to sell smartphones in the US but are also building a war chest of patents to defend against any potential lawsuits.