Well well well
Nothing succeeds like success.
For all the partisanship about consumer devices, the histrionics over my toy train is better than yours, the ill-informed opinions over who was first, last, legal, illegal, nice, nasty ...., Apple are successful. We all know about iphones and ipads, even if we do not have one. Most people have got no idea what models other manufacturers make or sell, nor even the names of the others except Nokia. Even you haters and denigrators seem to be experts on how they work and look. That is success.
Most invention is not in the context of a blank. Most, probably all, is the result of hard work and building on existing ideas and technology. That way, an invention has a better chance of being useful and working. It also tends to satisfy a real need or desire. There is nothing wrong with improvement or new combinations or interpretations, nor even with recognising and developing a new market.
Do you refuse to bake a loaf of bread because somebody else has done it before? Do you complain to your neighbour because she baked a loaf with wholemeal wheat, because it looks remarkably similar to the white one you baked yesterday?
If HTC or whoever are so brilliant, why did they not clean up in the market all those years ago when they "invented" your favourite feature?
Never mind the whys and wherefores. Apple are supremely good at what they do and provide a good device to their customers. If you want to use something else, wonderful. It could even be that your something else is better, at least for you.
Accept that all companies invest a lot in their research and development. Accept that the results are the main differentiator in a crowded market using a lot of common parts. Then consider just how, in a world where some makers are in areas that do not yet observe or enforce the concepts of intellectual property, patents and so on, a manufacturer can safeguard his investment.
Now go away and grow up. If you are jealous, become a patent lawyer or agent and enjoy it.
Meanwhile, let's start a war about whose device draw the prettiest alphabet or whose pasteurised milk is the best pasteurised.