HTC executive is not amused: “It’s Apple that copies us.”

by: Matthew BensonOctober 22, 2015

htc one a9 first impressions aa (10 of 45)

When HTC announced the A9 this week, some felt a strange twinge of déjà-vu: how could this familiar metal clad phone actually be “brand new?” Indeed allegations of copy-cat craftsmanship had been circulating for weeks now. After the official unveiling however, a much more vocal claim has been made, HTC it seems, is not very amused by the coarse commentary and spoke out about such similarities.

Jack Tong, President of HTC North Asia, had the following to say at a press event held today for the Taiwanese launch of the new phone:

“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.”

The 2013 device in-question, for those wondering, was none other than the HTC One (M7), which truly turned heads at the time for making liberal use of metal in a time when everyone else was pushing plastic or gushing over glass.

Mr. Tong continued, stating that:

“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.”

First come, fast forgotten

The Verge Apple HTC A9 The Verge

The current accusations that HTC faces are hardly new in the mobile space. Apple – thanks to its high brand awareness and solid sales – occupies a pioneering place in the minds of the mainstream. For the vast majority of the world’s population, the iPhone was the first smartphone, and the iPad the first tablet. Seemingly everything these two products entail were all done by Apple first, a misconception that is only furthered by the company’s finely crafted marketing and liberal use of adjectives.

To all those who got there first however, their achievements are essentially forgotten. Numerous tablets were made running Windows XP, for example. Japan had NFC and even fingerprint readers over a decade ago. PDAs were basically prototype smartphones. Touch screens were first described in 1965. The whole situation is not unlike that which Nintendo enjoyed when it “invented” motion sensing (Wii), for example.

htc one m8 vs htc one m7 quick look aa handheld (5 of 6)

Line-up: Both the HTC One M7 (right) and One M8 (left) released before the iPhone 6 was ever announced.

While it’s quite easy to see the similarities between the HTC A9 and the Apple iPhone 6S, it’s also quite easy to see the similarities between the Apple iPhone 6 and the HTC One M7. Yet, because the public became aware of metal bodies and antenna lines through Apple’s design language, it makes sense that some individuals would have a gut reaction of a copy-cat crisis. The same has already been made about the Lenovo PHAB Plus, for example.

Privy to Preparedness

Aside from the strong words issued by Mr. Tong, a new leak provides some insight into the way the company is seeking to educate its staff about the claimed copying:


The slide is quite direct in what it states, and serves to reiterate the talking points mentioned earlier today in Taiwan.

A cross-licensing misconception

Around the time Apple and Samsung were waging war in a California courtroom, the Cupertino-based company entered into a cross-licensing agreement with HTC. Although the actual terms of deal are unknown, under the agreement, HTC is free to use the following technologies and UI elements on smartphones during the decade, among others:

  • Slide to unlock
  • Universal search
  • Bounce scrolling
  • Scroll locking

Nowhere was it specifically mentioned that HTC is given a green-light to copy Apple’s product designs however, and indeed this may be why the company has yet to sue the Taiwanese-based OEM on hardware design-related matters. It is thus erroneous to assume HTC is somehow “within its rights” to clone the iPhone and Apple would literally have to look the other way.

What’s to come


Lenovo has already been accused by some for “cloning” the iPhone.

Given that the HTC A9 was just announced, we won’t know how sales fare for some time. The device has certainly managed to pique the interest of those in the market for a mid-range product, and has definitely got people talking. Perhaps HTC could ask for nothing more, as this makes for an enormous amount of free press, the likes of which would otherwise cost exorbitant sums of money to generate.

It remains to be seen as to what Apple ultimately has to say about the device, if anything at all. If the company should take a critical opinion of the design, it would be an almost hypocritical statement given the iPhone 6’s similarities to the M7. In many ways, this new issue represents a very critical look at what Tim Cook’s Apple will do, as opposed to what Steve Job’s Apple already did.

Perhaps one thing that is a bit more certain, is that HTC will seek to focus on this new design language in the future, with Mr. Tong indicating it will be carried over to the M-series as well as the Desire line.

  • Javid Nazim Mammadov

    Some ideas are just too good not to be shared, so don’t be stingy

    • Renascienza

      Yeah, Apple think like that, when the idea belongs to another folks.

      When they have an idea and someone else use it, they call lawyers.

      • Scr-U-gle

        Google Sooner phone, Google G1?

        Pretend that androne is not a cheap knock off, why not?

  • TheBigPotato

    It is so funny to see people fighting on twitter.
    Now on topic.
    Yes, at first glance, I thought there are 3 iPhones.
    But HTC has its point ?.
    Remember when iPhone 6 was launched. People were yelling about their antenna design being copied from HTC.
    HTC paid back them by launching this phone.
    People will eventually buy this phone because of its looks.

    • TheDude

      They may have had the same antenna design, but the iphone 6 doesn’t look like an M7/8/9 (the iphone has a flat back, rounded corners, small camera, same looking bottom mounted speaker) while the A9 looks exactly like an iphone, except for the camera being in the middle and having a non round front button.

      If HTC wanted to get back on track, they shouldn’t have removed what makes their phones desirable (like front facing speakers) and improved their design in other areas like lock button placement, removing of useless bezels (like the useless black bar on the M8/9) rather than just copying apples design.

      I’m quite sad that this is the best they could come up with.

  • RRHansen

    I smell non-heated non-popcorn-requiring discussion in the brewin’.

  • EQ

    Apple “Innovations”.. Becouse it is easier to take others innovations and inventions, twist it 15 degrees and call it their own. Then tell this to the people until they believe it. Then patent it and sue all, including the first designer and developer.

    • Badouken

      Literally Apple’s business model.

      • Diego

        the m7 copied the iPhone 5

        • retrospooty

          mmmmm no

        • Renascienza

          Why? The iPhone 5 have a metal unibody chassi?

        • Matthew Spathes

          You are ignorant and stupid, just for that statement alone.

          • .my mate’s younger sister making $97 in one hour Online….……Last weekend I Bought A Brand new McLaren F1 after earning 18,512$,this was my last month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, $17k Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a day ..with bonus opportunities & weekly paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over $83, p/h..Learn More right Here….
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        • Flubber


        • Badouken


        • Roy

          I’M also think so, the antenna lines of the M7 it’s where the lines of the design of the iphone 5S,5,4S,4! EXACTLY the same spot!

        • jersonf


        • Gaurav Pandey

          In that case, iPhone copied Rest of the World before 2007 and after that too :P

        • Acer_Predator

          What ? Noo

    • retrospooty

      Apples greatest strength is the ability to blatantly copy other companies tech and designs and somehow convince millions of people that others copied it from Apple. /shrugs.

    • Thiru Vetti

      Now Apple will sue you because you copied Apple’s business model for a comment!

      • retrospooty

        I know right? That is why I am not posing with my real name ;)

  • Peter Mulders

    Yes, iPhone 6 looks like the M7, so HTC was first with this design.
    However, the A9 looks way more like the iPhone 6 than the iPhone 6 looks like the M7.
    Sorry HTC, I’m a fan of yours but this is kinda sad.

    • Roy


    • M42

      So you think the A9 with a rectangular home/fingerprint button looks like an iPhone with its round button? The A9 looks more like the Samsung S6 including the bottom speaker grill.

      • Пешо Пешев

        In fact A9 is mix of Samsung (front) and Apple (side & back)… Even I can “create” better design…

        • Renascienza

          But the “Apple part” is a “HTC part”.

          • Пешо Пешев

            Forget about fucking lines on the back- no one cares about that shit anymore…

        • Aadil

          Nope the sides were originally designed by Lumia 925. Apple copied htc and Lumia for iPhone 6.

    • freonoman

      You can see that with the Iphone 6 apple copied the overall shape of the HTC First (released in 2013):

  • Roy


    • Dom

      Why so angry Roy?

      Walking in to a room full of people screaming, just makes you look crazy, it doesn’t prove a point.

      • Roy

        Haha I’m not. I don’t have an English keyboard so it’s more convenient for me that way. But I fixed it for you:)

  • RenatoFontesTapia

    It’s weird because it DOES look like an iPhone. But at the same time it looks like an evolution of their old design.

    It’s like Apple evolved HTC’s design before HTC did.

    I want it anyway. 3gb ram + 32gb storage + sd card <3

    • Peter Mulders

      M9 has this too, and a way faster processor. I only miss a fingerprintscanner on mine. And OIS.

      • Diego

        snapshit 810 tho

        • Peter Mulders

          You can say all you want, but mine almost never gets hot.

  • Raj Sadagopan

    This is hilarious. There are people who are Apple loyalist who will refuse to accept facts. Like the Antenna position which Steve Jobs claimed that Apple design was perfect and users do not know how to hold the phone. Later they took the cue from HTC M1-M7 probably to put the antenna in the back. Htc design had been in existence long before iPhone 6/6s came.Why not accept facts. Notification followed from Android. I refrain from using the term copies as it is a very loose term used for every thing. Like for instance , all cars have steering wheel round, the tires are round and they look. The reall innovation term is mudslinged like this. Sorry for the state of affairs

    • tiger

      Well, the difference is one company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the other is the #1 company in the world.

  • Esprit

    Yup. HTC made it first.

    • jersonf

      Where are the antennas? because the iphone 6 looks nothing like ipod touch shown here, this is what happens when people edit out features to make them look similar.

      • Esprit

        Main difference between ipod5 and iphone6 is a stripes. Yup. It`s a htc stripes. But only stripes, not all design.

      • Marty

        I think HTC has always gone with production designs that they liked best rather than what the consumer would more appreciate and buy. Take the image of the One M8 above: To HTC, the gold parts on the face above and below the display probably looked really good to some decision-maker at HTC. So HTC went with it. The thing is, “simple” is always best in anything. I think, as a consumer, that the M8 would have been more appealing with glass all the way from top to bottom.

        I know I’m being an “armchair quarterback, so to speak, but HTC engineers could have made the phone shorter and moved the elements of the front face towards the ends. Maybe it would have more costly to create the speaker holes in glass, I don’t know. But it certainly would have looked better. And more importantly, it would have been simpler.

      • STT

        You can look on the side of an iPhone 5 (and frankly, the iPhone 4) and see the same antenna lines. Apple just previously used Glass to hide this on the 5-series, which in my opinion, looked better. They simply went all metal with the 6. I would argue Apple did not really copy HTC but clearly HTC did here. But we know why, how else could you get some much buzz and free advertisement than to put HTC in with the name Apple. Excellent marketing push. HTC will continue to stir the pot as long as possible to stay in the spotlight.

    • freonoman

      Agreed. Don’t forget the facebook phone HTC FIRST, which had the rounded edges and raised glass design of iphone 6 in 2013!

  • Abhi

    The front is pretty much like the not as well known HTC Butterfly with a little iPhone 6 and M8 added into the mix overall.

  • Degus Jacoby Pradana

    Why it is a problem? If htc copy iphone or reversed, so be it, if iphone good for u just buy it and if htc good for u just enjoy it, God i hate this war, it just never ending

    • MarcoXHD

      Thank you.

    • Flubber

      Guess something has to replace religion :-)

      • jersonf


        • Ryan Cavitt

          At least people dont kill one another over this, yet..

          • StormShadow

            Remember the article where two people ended up stabbing each other over a Samsung vs Apple argument?? Don’t count on that =P

          • Ryan Cavitt

            Yeah but no one died.

          • gotham_girl


    • jersonf

      I agree, it’s obvious Apple took cues from HTC and HTC has now made the backing flat, if one copies the other can copy,when the iphone 6 came out everyone knew it looked like an HTC phone.

    • Arman

      Greed is the source is all problems, Suddenly he feels he has lost money because Apple stole his ideas.

  • To the general consumer, they are not going to care if the M7 was the first to the design they Apple now uses. They are going to see a phone from HTC that is too similar to an iPhone. They are going to think “If its a copy, then I might as well buy the iPhone”. Oh HTC, you really dropped the ball on this one. Good luck.

    • John Doe

      Really? ..

    • Guest123

      Not really, unless A9 is more expensive but it’s not, it’s way cheaper so they will think “If it’s a copy and it’s so cheap, why should i be paying so much more for the same thing” and buy HTC. People who wants iPhone won’t think of anything else, they will want iPhone cos of the perceived status symbol.

  • Jimmy Hauser

    There is no reason for anyone but HTC and Apple to care about this. You guys want to waste time in pointless debates that don’t solve anything, go right ahead. Meanwhile, I will buy and use whichever phone makes the most sense to me.

  • Daniel Moraru

    Both devices look boring. But Apple, as always, has copy something, added a little twist, and then call it their own. That’s their business model and for me is incredible, how this company is trusted by so many people. I’m like “Gizas, people, wake up, they are a fraud” but then i see the queues in front of Apple Store, and i realize that moment of “awakening” is far-far away. Apple, by using despicable methods, has gained so much critical mass, that now, they can pull every shit they want, and the people are looking at them like hypnotize. They can even re-write recent history just like 1984 by Orwell. We are assisting at a born of a new religion and like every every religion, has it’s grotesque and untold parts.

  • shansonhorvath
    • Roy


    • neo905

      Might want to rub out the antenna lines at the very top and bottom of the A9 since it doesn’t have it. HTC always had a curve and a relatively huge camera sensor on the back. Taking those two things away does make them look more like an iPhone.

    • dlx

      Rub out the antenna lines too! don’t cheat!!
      What about iphone 3g and iphone 4??? where is the metal unibody on those? it was htc who had on every generation a metal body since m7. Apple = Brainwash.

    • Thiru Vetti
    • EeZeEpEe

      Exactly! Yeah Apple did unibody too. I get it. But the actual looks of the phones were different. No one was going to confuse the back of the iPhone 6 with the HTC M7. But this, at quick glance looks like the iPhone 6 or 6S with the camera moved to the center. As this GIF depicts. LOL.

    • James Theodore Retuya

      Dumb fuck

    • Marty

      I still don’t see it. Nothing similar between the two.

    • Svnjay

      HTC already had the antenna lines.

  • KeyserSoze

    I don’t give a sht if HTC execs aren’t amused, they’re just pretending to be indignant while blatantly plagiarizing anyway. I don’t buy their stupid-fuq argument that Apple copied their antenna lines. The antenna lines did not make the iPhone 6 look like the M7, M8, or M9. The iPhone 6 looks NOTHING like any of the HTC phones.

    On the other hand, the rounded edges and redesigned flat back of HTC’s A9 made it look almost exactly like an iPhone. HTC also removed its dual front speakers and replaced it with the front fingerprint scanner to make the A9’s face look more like iPhone as well. HTC is pathetic and can’t even lie very well.

    • Dani T.

      So basically you worship who ever lies better right?

      • KeyserSoze

        So basically you just make stupid random assumptions based on nothing right?

    • freonoman

      That’s not true the iPhone 6 definitely looked and felt like the HTC First

  • Chong Wen Hao

    It is not the antenna bands or the fact that it is unibody that makes it look life iPhone. It is the shape that people are complaining about.

  • charlie Jason

    iPhone 6 has much less in common with M7 than A9 has with iPhone 6.
    HTC could’ve done a much more inspiring design, but instead they took the easy way out.

  • Jonathon Rios

    You can spot a bad company by their constant moaning and groaning and blaming others for their poor performance and lack of sales. Cranky’s Advice: Git Gud.

  • Scr-U-gle

    So basically you are trying to say the M7 is the same as the iPhone 6? What a know nothing winkle bag.

    Now the M9 and Lenovo do look almost identicle to the iPhone, but remember this copying the iPhone thing that Adrone has the been doing has happened since the year after Apple launched the iPhone.

    I like the way this sudo writer thinks making vague references to smart phone prior to the iPhone is a bases for a debate, fact is iPhone set the standard that all have followed. Actual fact.

    Just ask Andy Rubin and Chris DeSalvo who they as the leaders of android, have both publicly admitted that they copied the iPhone,

    Just admit moroids, as the people who publicly admit and made android do, android was dead in the water until it copied the iPhone.

    Bing G1 sales. End of story

  • s2weden2000

    faPple users veins in the forehead pulsating again when the truth comes out..sad..just sad …

  • phantomsofthedesert

    and your only pointing this out now, copying a design language shows that the original design is a winner. What has Apple done since it created the Smartphone. Nothing it stuck with the original design and was extremely successful. Since then it has been a war between Android and Apple. Everyone knows that the Apple phones have electronic components made by Samsung. Because Apple knows that Samsung products are built first class.

  • Dani T.

    What HTC doesnt get is that iSheep will allways buy iphones no matter what(i have a few friends like that and wont be convinced otherwise),other people such as myself who want nothing to do with apple in the current format would shy away from any phone that other people might consider an iphone clone even if theyr wrong..everyone whos ever had an argument with an isheep know its pointless.

    • Sherpa

      You are a sheep too. Do you realize that?

  • urbanpitch

    Can’t we just be happy that Android phones are starting to take the initiative to design GOOD phones with GOOD camera specs and decent hardware? The fan boy “big huge fights” is a shit look to have splattered on a headline and in tweets.

  • .my mate’s younger sister making $97 in one hour Online….……Last weekend I Bought A Brand new McLaren F1 after earning 18,512$,this was my last month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, $17k Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a day ..with bonus opportunities & weekly paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over $83, p/h..Learn More right Here….
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  • Hussein Abdullah

    to be fair the IP6 took Inspiration from the M7 BUUUUT they didnt copy paste it, at least they are not twins in every way as example the front of the m7 looked completely different But the A9 is a straight copy/paste from the IP6, not saying any of those 2 companies are better or worse just stating the facts

  • Marty

    I don’t see the similarities. The A9 is gorgeous, though. And I know HTC phones are top notch. The A9 looks just like a flattened M8. Even the antenna lines are different from the iPhone.

    Well done, HTC. You have a beautiful phone. I hope it sells well.

    • waterfire

      You must be blind ! ?

  • Acer_Predator

    Omg tahat lenovo total iphone..
    Whats going on with these non apple companies.. they are all sad and desperate ..
    Apple only laughing on all of them..

  • cop con

    I agree. Because I keep saying that to people around me, even before the A9 appears !

  • StormShadow

    I hate Apple more than anything in my life, I am also aware that HTC did that design first and Apple copied it….
    Now, that being said, I think it is a very dumb and childish move from HTC to design the A9 like they did, then whine about how they are the ones who did it first.

    What I’m trying to say is that HTC has had a great history in design innovation and taking risks in order to design something unique and beautiful. They could have easily avoided all this by designing something different and original. But like the poll said, they “Took the easy way out”…

  • Dan Herrera

    Who cares? HTC should take the opportunity to make the red A9 (or it’s successor) the first “Pokedex Edition” phone for Pokemon Go in 2016

  • ddd

    Tim cook and steve woziniak and teams(D BAGS AND ASSHOLES) don’t have fucking INNOVATION at all because they can’t compete other companies like android phones like samsung and htc, lg, and sony.
    Apple copy exactly htc one design and two lines on back of phone like htc phone has. Apple’s software ios 8 and 9 copy from android os features. Google creates own ideas to create new ui.
    Apple’s products display made from LG ips lcd and processor made from other companies, and camera made from sony and battery made from other company.
    What else apple can do? NOTHING AT ALL
    Does apple fans know about this? HELL NO because they don’t know nothing at all. I know better than anybody else.



    • ddd