The Latest Tech Trend Is… Imitation?

Ben Winters, Staff Writer

In 2007, we were introduced to the first iPhone, one of the most revolutionary pieces of technology that can be held in our hand. Since then, many huge trends in smartphone technology have been new and exhilarating. They were never-before-seen advancements with exciting differences, leaving the consumer to a number of huge decisions: smaller screen or bigger? Android or iPhone? Customizable or seamless and easy?

There were clearly defined demographics with a few of the major brands: devices that ran on the Android platform were more for gamers, coders and people who wanted to run exactly how their device performed. Blackberry was for the businessmen and women of the world, where it pretty much revolved around e-mail. Then Apple created a whirlwind in the market, telling consumers that with their product users are liberated, new, young, hip and creative. They did all this through advertising. Even before the iPhone came out, Apple had their famous ‘Mac vs. PC’ ads, and although that was advertising their computers, it continued to establish its strong brand with a new generation of consumers. When the actual phone came out, they had a number of simple, elegant ads that were playful and allowed the user to feel as if they actually needed something like that to make their life easier.

Over the years, Apple has continued to make strides while keeping a similar aesthetic. Meanwhile, companies like Samsung, Nokia, Google, Amazon and many more have been striving to meet the mark in the level of quality of the iPhone while making something a little different. There was and continues to be different shapes, sizes and operating systems, but in recent history, the most popular competitor to the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy, began to look more and more like an iPhone. So much so, that Apple and Samsung have been in a heated lawsuit over patent infringements over the last few years.

However, the tables have been turned with the iPhone 6, the supposed best iPhone yet, looking and feeling frighteningly similar to the Samsung Galaxy S5. Unfortunately for Apple, they’re not fooling anyone. Samsung’s first advertisement following the announcement fired shots at the new Apple device – as it cites negative tweets and articles from when the supersized galaxy came out, it cleverly shows the new iPhone with the same size and tweets from real people noticing that the iPhone looks like an older Samsung Galaxy. Nokia’s newest ad campaign for their virtual assistant, “Cortana,” is clever as well, with the two having a conversation leading to an obvious superior. However, they look suspiciously similar to one of the most successful ad campaigns in history, ‘Mac vs. PC’, where hip Justin Long was the Mac and casually pointed out the PC (dressed in the classic IBM-type outfit) to be outdated, stuffy and old.

Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it seems as if the air of innovation is beginning to thin out. Whether it is in product development or product marketing, we need more people like Steve Jobs in the world that know how to recreate the wheel sometimes. In the most technologically and trend-driven market, is that “new” feeling about the hottest devices on the market beginning to cool down? So far, sales statistics say no. But, it is an interesting consideration moving forward.

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