updated 01:40 pm EST, Wed November 16, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N shows clear design change
(Update: Samsung confirms) Samsung has started selling a modified Galaxy Tab 10.1 to skirt Apple's German preliminary ban. The Galaxy Tab 10.1N is fundamentally similar on the inside but has a clear metal frame that wraps around the front. The look is designed in a way that closely replicates a design that Apple was told was covered under prior art and couldn't be blocked.
The design might not necessarily be completely exempt from claims but show Samsung testing the waters to see whether it can can sell a device without getting further claims of infringement. Earlier Galaxy Tab 10.1 models have a nearly flat black surface that, at one point, were known to have temporarily stymied a Samsung attorney in Australia who was asked to identify the Galaxy Tab versus the iPad at a distance.
If cleared in Germany, the 10.1N could also go on sale in other countries where design rights are an issue, such as in the US. The American case is more specific, however, and Samsung's changes if confined to hardware wouldn't necessarily overcome disputes like those in Australia. Apple has also been asserting software patents in that country and elsewhere.
The design that led to the ban itself was a last-minute change for Samsung. Its original design was more unique but considerably thicker and heavier. The company, which had apparently never anticipated Apple upgrading the iPad, vowed a redesign solely to rival the iPad 2 and suddenly had a much thinner model in just over a month. [via Florian Mueller]
Update: Samsung confirmed to Yonhap that there are two changes in the Tab 10.1N, which ships to Germany next week.
Originally shipping Galaxy Tab 10.1