Yesterday, an editorial article on the Huwaei P9, penned by Kyle Wiens, showed up on WIRED claiming it copied the iPhone down to the last screw. Since then other publications have jumped on the bandwagon calling the Huawei P9 a carbon copy or a clone of the iPhone. Wiens is not a full time writer for WIRED but works for the DIY company iFixit which performs teardowns of most all the mainstream mobile devices out there. iFixit has certainly been a great help to many people including DIY and professional repairpersons. However, this has little to do with iFixit and a lot to do with the fact that the Huawei P9 might look slightly like the iPhone. But who cares?
I’ll excuse your double-take, because Huawei is shamelessly copying Apple here. Yes, it migrated the fingerprint sensor like a flounder’s eye and eliminated the mechanical home button, but the two phones share similar antenna bands, styling, and finish. They even sport the same proprietary star-shaped security screw, in exactly the same spots. After all, if you want your phone to resemble an iPhone, you’ve got to nail the details.
You can head over to WIRED to read Wiens full article and get all of the context, though most of it is in the quote above. Before I continue on, I will point you to this amazing TED talk giving by Kirby Ferguson explaining why everything is a remix. The good stuff starts at time signature 5:07. If the video doesn’t start at 5:07 feel free to zip to that spot.
Listen, I have no argument that the Huawei P9 doesn’t look a bit like the iPhone, it undoubtedly has some cues lifted from Apple’s device. Wiens opines on extensively about the use of the pentalobe “security” screw found at the bottom of the Huawei P9, the same screw found on Apples device. The last time the pentalobe screw got this much attention was when Apple used it on their iPhone 4. For clarity sake, the pentalobe screw was not invented by Apple nor was it used first by Apple. Sony had used this screw in the past. It was, and still is, a bit rare to find in most consumer electronics because it’s very easy to strip the head. This is what makes it “secure” or able to keep the end user out of a device.
Isn’t it time we stop comparing every smartphone to the iPhone though? Isn’t it time to move on past Apple “creating” a whole new category? Yes, we get it. Apple played a significant role in marketing a technology that billions of people use today. But they’re not the only players out there, and many of those players have also contributed to smartphone technology. Apple certainly wouldn’t be where it’s at had it not been for hundreds of other companies who either invented or refined a technology being used in today’s smartphones, including Apples.
The Huawei P9 didn’t copy the iPhone down to the last screw, the Huawei P9 remixed the iPhone, HTC One and added their own flair to make something they hope end users will want to use. It’s time to get over the Apple fetish and acknowledge there’s nothing new under the sun.