Barra's comments came in response to a question about the persistent criticism that 4-year-old Xiaomi's rise has been fueled by blatant copying of designs from Apple and others, an issue that Jony Ive raised again at an event earlier this month. "Our designers, our engineers are inspired by great products — and frankly, in today's world, who isn't? Point me to a product in our industry that has completely unique design language. You're not going to be able to find one."
Barra also noted that Apple borrows liberally from others saying that the iPhone 6 "carries design that's very HTC-like. Of course, with an astonishing twist ... but it is somewhat familiar design language." Another example he used was of iOS' Control Center. "Quick settings on iOS is much better on Android, but it was on Android (long before)," Barra said.
Finally, when commenting on Xiaomi, a company he is now a VP at, he said that their products often resemble existing ones because the company is young and its designers lack confidence.
"It's a fight, but I think we're learning and we're progressing," he said. "when you look at the stuff that's coming next from us, you're going to see some unique new twists."