In the future your iPhone will be a fake, and that's a good thing. Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase took these photos to go with a fascinating story about "superfakes" - the best mobiles of the future.
All the phones you see below are fakes - mostly fake iPhones and Nokias, for sale in China. Chipchase writes that there are three basic types of fake phone:
1. Any old phone with a Nokia/Motorola/Apple logo or two printed on the side. In India these are referred to as ‘China Mobile' (no relation to this China Mobile) - phones that may or may not last out the month. These sometimes fool first time consumers in markets with low mobile phone penetration. Top photo on this page shows a fake 'Nokia'.
2. Where the industrial design is copied, the device includes Nokia/Motorola/Apple logo but the device itself tends to be poorly manufactured. Some of the designs are based on products already on the market, but all the industrial designer needs is a leaked photo or official press release from another country to be able to manufacture the hardware - sometimes offering it for sale in a local market before the official device is launched.
3. Recently the quality of fakes/copies have reached the point where many consumers will assume they are holding the real thing in their hands - phones that look, feel and behave like the real thing – right down to start up sequences, graphical assets, user interface modalities for the the top-level user interface elements - the so-called Super Fakes.
Chipchase explains that type #2 also includes fakes that are released before the official models they knock off. He even rates the design of the popular superfake Nokia 5800:
Exceptional attention to detail: industrial design; line art; battery design and placement; right down to the detailing on the inside back cover; boot up sequence; top level information architecture; use of graphical assets and fully working Media Bar button. Room for improvement? Integration with online services; graphic designer needs to go on a typography course.
What does it mean that so many people are buying mobiles based on pirated designs? Companies will turn more and more to services (shopping, location awareness, e-mail, etc.) that can't be faked to up the value of their (real) products. Also, Chipchase suspects - as do I - that as companies like Apple move into China, they will push for applications that phone home to Apple servers and verify their authenticity with some kind of code or indentifier. The result? Real phones will track your every move. Fake phones will have less functionality, but will make you less trackable in the end.