Not having visited the Far East recently, and not moving in certain circles, I had avoided a counterfeit iPhone until I arrived in Athens this week. A stranger in a café happened to mention that his new iPhone was running Android: Instant interest from me together with a smidgeon of incredulity. We never got round to discussing the particular flavour of Android, sandwich or eclair, but the whole thing did sound a bit fishy to me. Furthermore, this amazingly versatile device had cost only 150 euros. Like the Kindle, you could buy three of them for the cost of an iPhone. What’s not to like?
The paragon of value and usability was produced for inspection and I have to say it looked very much like an iPhone. It switched on like an iPhone. It even smelled like an iPhone. On the back was the Apple logo and all the “designed in California, made in China” stuff. Closer inspection was not so encouraging. The “aluminium” surround had the appearance of badly sprayed plastic, and the front and rear glass panels were a tad bulkier than we are used to. Built to a price, in other words. At a distance it definitely looked like an iPhone. In fact, if I were not so familiar with the look and feel of the genuine iPhone I expect I could have been fooled in some dimly-lit souk.
I am not sure what pleasure there is in owning such a device when you know full well it is a fake. I would never wear a fake Rolex, for instance, and would always prefer a genuine Swatch or Casio. The curious thing is that the owner of this knock-off could probably well have afforded a genuine iPhone. He claimed that he prefers the Android OS to iOS, but it is surely going too far to want your Android phone to look like an Apple product.
What’s not to like? A lot, it seems.