Apple’s iPhone X has been out for over a month, and this week a few companies based in China have unveiled new smartphones that are clearly taking design inspiration from Apple’s tenth-anniversary device. The first was created by LEAGOO, which is based in Shenzhen, and in an email the company called it the “LEAGOO S9.”
The company sent MacRumors images of the LEAGOO S9 today, showcasing the front of the smartphone and a piece of hardware that dips into the screen at the top, providing the same visual design of the iPhone X’s “notch.” The device also has very trim bezels, rounded edges, and a vertically orientated rear camera system that slightly protrudes from the back.
Key differences between the LEAGOO S9 and the iPhone X include the S9’s physical buttons, which all appear to be located on the right of the device, and a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. The iPhone X was long rumored to potentially include such a sensor, but after the launch of the new smartphone Apple’s hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio said the reports were never true. The bottom bezel on the front of the S9 appears to be larger, but it’s unclear if this is software-related or not.
The internal specs and other aspects of the software — besides the lock screen — are not currently known. It appears that the LEAGOO S9 will also copy some of Apple’s “ear” software bar layout, although the Shenzhen company has slightly reordered the Wi-Fi, cellular, and battery indicators.
The second iPhone X clone was made by Boway, based in Hangzhou, China, and marks the company’s first foray into consumer electronics after building printers and cutting machines for over 20 years. Boway’s smartphone series is actually called “The Notch,” and like the LEAGOO S9 it looks very similar to the iPhone X, as seen in images surfacing on Chinese social network Weibo (via Forbes).
The Notch includes trim bezels on the left and right sides of the smartphone, although in some images it appears to pack in thicker bezels on the top and bottom than both the S9 and real iPhone X, which could again be software related. Otherwise, The Notch has a rear-facing fingerprint sensor, vertically orientated camera system, and also comes in other colors like red.
It’s unclear which type of components are included in the cloned smartphones’ notches, but since both of the devices clearly use a form of biometric security that recognizes fingerprints and are believed to lack facial recognition, their copying of the iPhone X’s notch is most likely for aesthetic reasons. Apple’s notch packs in an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, front camera, and dot projector — all of these components work to provide users with features like Face ID and Animoji.
Specific prices of the smartphones have not been confirmed, but these types of devices are traditionally sold at fairly low price ranges to compete with the many other low-cost smartphones on the Chinese market. Hardware imitators have long been around copying Apple’s design styles, and sometimes even include laptops that are visually similar to MacBook, like Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Pro. Earlier in December, Apple won a trademark case based in Europe against Xiaomi, preventing the latter company from registering its “Mi Pad” tablet device as an EU trademark because the name was deemed too similar to Apple’s iPad.