Enrique Dans
Published in

Enrique Dans

Apple: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The seven cellphones in the accompanying image were launched or unveiled at last week’s Mobile World Congress 2018, just a few months after the release of the iPhone X: all of them with an infinity screen, all of them with a camera notch: in other words similar to the iPhone X. Some of them might have features that set them apart: the price, battery life, whatever… but with few exceptions, the idea at the moment is to look like the iPhone X.

This is not something that happens often, and is worth flagging up, both for companies and analysts. I discussed this in November, when the iPhone X was launched, noting the many reasons why I had decided to buy one, even though my previous smartphone was, and still is, working perfectly:

“In a few months, all other smartphones will be trying to look like the iPhone X, but none will succeed. With the iPhone X, Apple has once again shown how important a company it is.”

There is only one Apple, and when it brings out a new model, the rest of the world watches, observes, learns… and then tries to copy it. Copying what Apple says and does will become a trend. It doesn’t matter if that makes sense or is simply a way to copy a design that in has established itself as an icon in short order: what matters is to look as much as possible like the iPhone X, even if that means copying the screen wallpaper. Anything goes. The important thing is to show that your brand is in the game, although of course, the rules of that game are decided by Apple. When you see an iPhone with unique elements, be it the infinity screen, the absence of an on/off button or audio jack, rounded corners, facial recognition or the camera notch, just remember that you’ll soon be seeing all these features on other phones pretty soon. And here’s the really important thing: it doesn’t even matter whether Apple invented those features; what matters is that it turns them into trends, and few brands can resist following trends.

As a teacher of innovation, for me it is essential to understand and analyze this phenomenon: it has nothing to do with being a fanboy or not. This is how we answer the question as to why Apple is the most valuable company in the world and why it earns more than $1,400 every second of every day. Quite simply, every time it launches a new model, Apple defines what smartphones must look like and what features they must have: it’s the brand that forces its competitors to copy it. And when it comes down to it, that’s the only thing that really matters.

(En español, aquí)

--

--

--

On the effects of technology and innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at enriquedans.com since 2003)

Recommended from Medium

Cheap Lanyards UK in London #Cost #Effective #Lanyards # #London https://t.co/lxkZ848D2J

GM to restart Colorado, Canyon output; CAMI crossover plant and more remain idle

Distributed vs. Centralized

How about a redesign? How first principles design worked for Apple, Space X, and Uber.

A new age for payments is coming via Open Banking… enter billx

Are we going to take advantage of this small window of opportunity for change?

YouTube Has Only One Rule

10 Twitch Trends Coming In 2022

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Enrique Dans

Enrique Dans

Professor of Innovation at IE Business School and blogger at enriquedans.com

More from Medium

Unleashing the Power of Apple Preview Markups

Face ID Now Works With a Mask

Apple’s Pro Lineup is Expanding: Just like the Minds of Creators