Re: Those in glass houses, Sir Jony...
People see what they want to in this debate. I think there is some important principles that are rarely applied when talking about copying. It's easy and IMO deliberately disingenuous to refer to any single factors and label it as copying.
The very fact of a single factor implies no creative design effort is required. So for example, screen size is a single factor. Colour is a single factor. "Flat" is a single factor. These things are simply the building blocks of design and being "the same" on any single factor says nothing at all. Nor should it. If to re-use a material, colour or size constitutes copying and is bad, then everyone is a rip-off artist. Clearly that's nonsense.
But once multiple factors are the same we can start to take notice. Having said that, multiple factors being the same are not always a bad thing. Sometimes they are the same because we are dealing with a parody or a tribute, both of which have their clear role and their own special kind of creative merit.
But, multiple factors may also be the same in ways that are entirely conventional and required no creative input to get there. At this point in time, having a screen, a processor and RAM are an example of this. So multiple factors alone are not sufficient to declare copying.
A good creative product design sees multiple design factors combined to make a coherent entity where each of those factors is integral to and contributes to the improvement of practical feature, or create an aesthetic harmony, or most usually both. They may be combined with conventional factors as well (such as the aforementioned processor RAM and screen). That doesn't matter. It's the combination of new additive factors that are significant.
So no, Samdroids, single factor concepts like screen size are not a creative design. Nor is the concept of a "flat" user interface which has been around for a lot longer than smartphones.
THIS is an example of a multi-factor design similarity that amounts to a simple rip off where the rip-off merchant has done precious little thinking for themselves :
Rip-off second icon in the row
There are many many examples of multi-factor copying by Samsung when it comes to Apple iPhone and iOS it's hard to know where to begin. Here's just a few examples
Samsung multi-factor copying is rife
Now I know many techies don't have much in the way of creative capacity. So they tend to see a design and think, "yes, that's the solution and the obvious way to do it". But for each of the examples given in the link above, to understand the degree to which Samsung engage in multi-factor copying, just consider the Nokia equivalent. In each case it will be it's own distinct design, where a Nokia designer has spent time and honoured the customer relationship with effort and the statement to the effect I'm going to do this the Nokia way because I believe in my skill and the creative industrial production of this company.
When people say copying is the sincerest form of flattery they say it because they have little control over it and it's a positive spin to put on something that you have no real control over in life. When you have no control over such things, it's important to remain positive and look after what you can control more than what you can't. We don't say it because slavish copying is OK, or nor does it mean doing so other than for reasons of parody or tribute to the original creative, is OK either. It's little more OK than plagiarism. It's tacky, cheap and is like saying to your users, "we couldn't be bothered to present this to you on our own terms according to own design beliefs and values because frankly, we prefer theirs."