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Juno, the “stealth startup” that plans to take on Uber by being nicer to drivers, only opened its beta to the New York public in mid-May, but it’s already blending into the city’s ride-hailing scene. Juno is luring drivers by only taking commissions of 10% (Uber’s take ranges from 20-28%), and riders with 35% discounts. Also, with an app that looks just like Uber.
While it’s true that all ride-hailing apps look somewhat alike, the similarities between Uber and Juno are especially striking. Take Juno’s load screen, in which a thin white logo traces over a midnight-blue background with a pale geometrical pattern. It’s reminiscent of Uber’s old load screen (far left in the image below). But the abstract patterning also echoes Uber’s February redesign (center panel).
Juno’s home screen for riders is also incredibly similar to Uber’s. (To be fair, so is Lyft’s, but at least Lyft varied its color scheme a bit.)
“If you look at Juno, Lyft, Uber … it will all follow a similar design pattern,” Talmon Marco, Juno’s founder and CEO, told Quartz. “We chose a darker color scheme to reflect the better quality of our drivers and our cars and overall service. These are fairly standard design colors.”
Uber declined to comment.
Just as interesting are the subtle differences. Uber has only 15 patents according to the US Patent and Trade Office database, but six of those are for design. Uber has patented aspects of the display for trip requests, trip confirmations, and ride receipts. It’s also patented what’s known as the “slider”—the tool at the bottom of the app that customers use to toggle between ride options, such as UberPool and UberX. (The drawings below are from design patents granted to Uber by the USPTO; features relevant to the patent are indicated with solid lines.)
Juno notably places its version of the “slider” at the top of the app. It also presents ride requests and trip receipts differently. Otherwise, though, the user interface is remarkably similar to Uber’s. Even the tiny black cars crawling Juno’s map look nearly identical to the ones traversing Uber’s—fitting, since their drivers almost certainly are.