With the rumoured August 2013 launch date looming ever closer on the horizon, Apple executives will no doubt be anticipating that the release of the iPhone 5s will provide the firm with the bi-annual PR spectacle which seemingly greets the launch of its every product. Thousands of fanatics are likely to queue for hours, if not days, eager to get their hands on the company’s latest piece of kit. For Chinese tech-heads, however, an alternative to enduring this agonising wait is at hand – the Goophone i5s, in stores now.
While the Goophone – presumably intended as a portmanteau of Google and Apple’s device – doesn’t boast the same technical specs or processing power of the real deal, it is aesthetically at least identical in virtually every respect to Apple’s soon to be released smartphone. Indeed, the only deviation apparent in photographs is the presence of Goophone’s honeybee logo emblazoned on the reverse of the device in place of the expected fruit.
Even more audacious was the company’s decision to file a patent on the device’s design and subsequently launch legal proceedings against Apple for copyright infringement.
Imitations and knock offs are one thing, but Apple’s market position faces a far more serious threat in the shape of Korean firm Samsung. While the iPhone’s position at the high end of the smartphone market has until now remained essentially unchallenged, the imminent release of Samsung’s new Galaxy 4s is set to pose a serious threat to the US firm’s dominance. With the Apple brand undermined by high profile disputes with shareholders and growing consumer dissatisfaction over going’s on at partner factories in China, some forecasters are suggesting that Samsung’s new flagship device could be poised to outsell the new iPhone by a significant margin.
The producers of the Goophone, meanwhile seem intent on remaining a thorn in the side of the US tech giant. The release of the i5s model is actually the second time they have pipped Apple to the post in the Chinese market. Last year they also managed to release their version of the iPhone 5 before the real thing hit the shelves. Even more audacious was the company’s decision to file a patent on the device’s design and subsequently launch legal proceedings against Apple for copyright infringement. The result of the case is still forthcoming.
By Sam Jones