Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra talks about the iPhone copycat ‘melodrama’ in interview

Xiaomi Hugo Barra

Xiaomi brought on Hugo Barra, who previously worked with Google, as the company’s Vice President of International in 2013. Now, Barra has sat down with Bloomberg to talk about varying topics, including allegations of copying Apple.

The new interview was recently published by Bloomberg, and goes into different levels of detail when it comes to some topics, including the allegations in the past that Xiaomi has copied Apple’s smartphone design. Barra brings up the Mi 4 and says that people said it looked like Apple’s iPhone 5, all due to the chamfered edge. Barra says that a lot of phones have the chamfered edge, but before that he actually admits in the same breath that the Mi 4 looks like the iPhone 5.

He calls the whole situation “melodrama,” and also says that it has more to do with the fact that Xiaomi is a Chinese company, and many discounted the idea that a company like Barra’s could ever create something as high-profile as the Mi 4, or that a Chinese company could be a “world innovator.” Moreover, Barra said that he believes people simply couldn’t believe Xiaomi could build high-end devices and sell them at half the price of some Apple products.

The interview has been sectioned off into different topics, and all of them can be viewed below. Barra says that Android was one of the best decisions Google has ever made, and that it doesn’t make sense for phone manufacturers to build their own mobile OS at this point. And for those that want to see Xiaomi launch in the U.S., Barra says that is still the plan, but that it won’t happen for a year at least.

It’s worth noting that the allegations that Xiaomi has copied Apple in the past were echoed by Jony Ive, who said that he does not believe that Xiaomi’s designs are flattering in the slightest, but sees it as outright theft:

There is a danger…I don’t see it as flattery. I see it as theft. (Talking about copying desings in general). When you’re doing something for the first time and you don’t know it’s going to work. I have to be honest the last thing I think is “Oh, that is flattering. All those weekends I could’ve been home with my family…I think it’s theft and lazy. I don’t think it’s OK at all.

Xiaomi Mi Pad

And, as many have pointed out in the past, Xiaomi’s design decisions that seem similar to Apple’s extend beyond just smartphones.