Two days ago, HTC unveiled a new flagship phone, the $399 One A9, with most of the headlines calling the device an iPhone lookalike due to its two-tone design,
the antenna bands and a protruding camera lens on the back. The device indeed bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s smartphone series.
In an effort to set the record straight and maybe get a little more free press, the Taiwanese handset maker said that “it’s Apple that copied” its antenna design and unibody construction as HTC first released a smartphone with these features about three years ago.
Speaking yesterday at a press briefing in Taiwan, company executive Jack Tong was adamant that his company pioneered metal-clad smartphone design and the antenna bands seen on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s series.
HTC indeed unveiled the original One M7 in March 2013 as its first smartphone with an aluminum unibody construction and unsightly antenna bands along the top and bottom of the device to improve wireless reception.
“We’re not copying. We made a uni-body metal-clad phone in 2013. It’s Apple that copies us in terms of the antenna design on the back,” said Jack Tong, president of HTC North Asia. “The A9 is made thinner and more lightweight than our previous metal-clad phones. This is a change and evolution, and we’re not copying,” he insisted.
iPhone 6 at left, HTC One A9 in the middle and iPhone 6 Plus at right.
Tong did not comment on other design features of the One A9 that HTC seemingly copied from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. That being said, his nervous reaction is most likely a defensive PR move prompted by The Verge’s damning description of the One A9 as “the most blatant and highest-profile iPhone ripoff since Samsung’s original Galaxy S.”
“The Taiwanese phone maker decided to copy the most popular smartphone out there, and it prioritized the United States with its most appealing pricing and perks,” added the publication.
The One A9 is the first non-Nexus smartphone powered by Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. It has a fingerprint scanner that works with Android Pay, a four-megapixel camera out the front, a thirteen-megapixel shooter out the back (with no 4K video capture), a speedy Qualcomm processor and more.
Available in Carbon Gray, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold and Deep Garnet color, the new HTC phone is available for pre-order and will be shipping later this year. The One A9 is priced at $399, sold unlocked and will be available on all major US carriers beginning in November 2015.