Smartphone maker HTC unveiled its new One A9 flagship smartphone yesterday, and while the device is touted as an upgrade to the One M9, the press photos of the device left me with a strange sense of déjà vu.
The smooth, rounded corners and edges. The circular camera housing and flash. The sleek metallic casing. Sound familiar?
Though Apple may have copied HTC first with its introduction of aluminum unibody, HTC certainly appears to be returning the favor with a design that shamelessly mimics the iPhone 6 and 6s. While the A9’s 5-inch screen put its size just in between the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone models, the HTC device looks as though it could fit right into the Apple family. The similarities are undeniable.
Differences between the devices clearly exist, of course, the most obvious stemming from the operating systems used by each device. The new iPhone 6s runs on iOS 9 on Apple’s new 64-bit A9 chip and comes with a 12 megapixel main camera and 5 mp Facetime camera, whereas the new HTC device runs the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system on a Snapdragon 617 processor and comes with a 13 mp main camera.
But it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts, at least not according to Apple’s past behavior anyway.
Back in 2011, Apple took rival device-maker Samsung to court on claims that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of the iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy line of cellphones and tablets. In that case’s first trial verdict, a jury sided with Apple in declaring Samsung had infringed on patents covering, among other things, a home button, rounded corners and tapered edges. Though the court battles between Samsung and Apple have raged on on this front and others, the precedent is there.
Only time will tell if Apple will take the same tack with HTC’s design, but it’s already made one thing clear: appearances do matter.