Apple’s iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C – Innovation or Imitation?

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Yesterday’s unveiling of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C has as usual divided the tech world into two camps – those criticizing the new iPhones (usually labelled as Droid Army by the other camp) and those that agree with Apple’s launches (the other camp calls them Apple apologists, Apple fanboys, iBitches, among other things). But irrespective of which camp you might belong to, some of the biggest headlining features of the new iPhones are not something Apple can proudly claim to have invented. Let’s take a look at some of those features and where Apple got its inspiration from.

Colored polycarbonate plastic from Nokia

Well, the very first look at the all plasticky, not-so-cheap iPhone 5C will surely remind you of the Nokia Lumia smartphone portfolio which made its own niche with its colorful, chic polycarbonate exteriors. Also, if you notice, the rectangular shape of the iPhone 5C as well as the build and look of keys on the sides also look identical to the Nokia Asha 510. For those loyalists who cling on to the point that it is not for the first time that an Apple product is seen donning a plastic back, we must remind you that the company had discarded plastic back on iPhones long back. And while Apple has its own justifications, Nokia ensured to sarcastically ‘thank’ Apple for imitating its Lumia based unibody design and colorful, smoothly finished polycarbonate chassis. Nokia said “Imitation is the best form of Flattery.” Agreed!

Bigger pixels from HTC’s UltraPixel camera

The bigger pixel tech on iPhone 5S sounds familiar! Remember how HTC had introduced the UltraPixel tech with its flagship One smartphone. The basic premise being that instead of having a higher megapixel count, users could get better photos especially in low light conditions by having a bigger sensor that increases the pixel size. The iPhone 5S comes with the same old 8-megapixel resolution camera of the iPhone 5, but with a twist.

The sensor on the iPhone 5S’s camera has a 15 percent larger active sensor area, which Apple claims gives a larger 1.5 micron pixel size. Of course, the inspiration was not lost on HTC, which made it thoughts clear in a blog post.

M7 coprocessor from Motorola

Though we will be stretching things here a bit, but the M7 coprocessor Apple unveiled yesterday did remind us and many others about a similar coprocessor that was introduced with the Moto X a couple of months ago. The Moto X and DROID lineup were introduced with an 8 chip dual-core X8 computing system with coprocessor for that never-sleeping sensor support. The A7 chip in the iPhone 5S is coupled with M7 “motion coprocessor” which, as the company claims, will continuously measure accelerometer, compass and gyroscope for better performance of apps using these sensors.

Fingerprint recognition, yet again from Motorola

If you are done thinking about the similarities between the coprocessors, there is much more in common between Apple and Motorola. Jog back your memory to 2011, Motorola had announced the Atrix, which had a fingerprint sensor on its rear, which could be used to unlock the phone. Of course, Apple’s implementation looks much more refined and user friendly than what Motorola could ever deliver. And having a name like TouchID to market will ensure everyone remembers the iPhone 5S as the first smartphone with a fingerprint scanner.