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HTC announces One A9 iPhone clone but with some ‘interesting’ differences

HTC One A9 Apple iPhone 6 PlusPrior to today’s launch event, the HTC One A9 has leaked several times, and each time we’ve noted how similar the phone looks to the iPhone 6. Even now that it’s official, we still feel the same. As does almost anyone who has eyes, and has seen them both. HTC’s new phone has a flat metal back plus rounded edges and corners. The front is completely covered in glass, which is slightly curved at the edges. Seem familiar?

HTC argues that that Apple stole its metal-with-antenna-bands design first, and it’s just reclaiming it. That won’t matter too much among general consumers though, they’ll just see it as an iPhone clone…

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 19.03.49

Still, it’s not a direct replica, there are some notable differences. Apple as we know is more than a little fastidious with its design. Everything has to be perfect. For instance, Steve Jobs would never let this happen Apple would never arrange its ports like this:


The One A9 images published by Paul O’Brien over at MoDaCo, and shows what is almost certainly the worst nightmare of anyone with even the slightest OCD towards symmetry and design. The speaker grille is pushed in about a thumb’s width from the edge, sort of sitting in the middle of nowhere, leaving a big gap. That in turn has pushed the Micro USB port across so that it’s not centered. What you’re left with is a port arrangement without even the slightest hint of symmetry. The fact you can see the home button/fingerprint sensor is perfectly in the middle just makes it worse.

Compared to an iPhone 6/6s:


The left and right edges are completely different too, in terms of what you can expect to find on either side. HTC has the volume rocker and heavily textured power button on the right edge. Apple, of course, just has the power button on the right, with the volume buttons and mute switch on the left. The One A9’s left side has removable SIM and SD card trays.

Below are images of the two phones’ camera designs. HTC’s is different, in that it’s placed directly in the center. But — like the iPhone — the lens sits in a protruding ring, with a circle dual-tone flash alongside it. You could argue that the design is massively different, maybe, because the microphone is underneath the HTC camera, and not to the right. It’d be a weak argument, but you could make it.

Two key other differences: HTC’s home button is pill-shaped, not round, and it the phone comes in a dark red hue. So there is that. Otherwise, it’s gray, silver and gold, just like the iPhone. What’s quite interesting is that — with its 5-inch screen — the A9 sits somewhere in between the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in terms of size. I would argue that’s the perfect size for a smartphone, if I was convinced such a thing could possibly exist. Personally though, I’d love an iPhone this size.

Check out our own hands-on comparison shots below and at the top:


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  1. joshdoremus - 7 years ago


  2. ag80911 - 7 years ago

    Nasty antenna bands – that would the last ‘feature’ they should be copying. I am hoping that for iPhone 7 this is tone down a bit.

  3. I feel embarrassed for HTC. This only proves iPhone is the best!

    • The can’t even put the data/charging at the correct spot (in the middle). It looks awful.

      • Gregory Wright - 7 years ago

        You do realize the phones are not exactly the same – meaning the internals of each phone are probably different which may contribute to the HTC phone data/charging slot being slightly misaligned. Besides, the average purchaser will not inspect the phone for imperfections especially the bottom of the phone. ‘if’ the HTC phone is infringing on Apple’s design I suspect HTC is probably paying Apple a licensing fee. So what’s the harm. If Apple isn’t complaining why are you.

      • They definitely don’t pay anything to Apple. Those Chinese and Korean companies can’t do anything other than stealing. Apple can not complain for other reason you wouldn’t understand given the way you commented on the post.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      Google HTC One (M7) 2013 edition and then lets talk.

  4. smartysanky - 7 years ago

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You should tweet this to HTC. Then we’ll retweet it and troll’em.

  5. fromNY2LA (@onestopnyc) - 7 years ago

    oh god, nothing is aligned/centered (well beside the camera).

  6. Sivasarma Nallaikumaran - 7 years ago

    Live Photos, 3D Touch & Universal Apps: Apple hijacks Microsoft’s lingo –

  7. twelve01 - 7 years ago

    Even the antenna bands seem asymmetrical relative to the top and bottom edges of the home.

    These companies seem to think these simple design principles do not matter.

  8. That port alignment is awful!! That just looks so ugly, the ports should be aligned in the center and have symmetry!

    • incredibilistic - 7 years ago

      Also shows just how ugly microUSB ports are.

  9. incredibilistic - 7 years ago

    So by HTC’s logic since Apple “stole” their antenna band design the only logical thing to do is a retort that apes the entirety of Apple’s design language.

    What’s really surprising is that most reviews I read about the iPhone 6’s aesthetics usually paints the device as ugly when compared to its predecessors. And yet here we are with both Samsung and HTC doing their best to emulate the design from top to bottom.

    At the very least this should end the debate that the iPhone is the gold standard of the industry.

  10. Ahmed El Zoughby - 7 years ago

    even the antenna bands also not equally broken on the back -_-

  11. tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

    Even the name of the device coincides with apple’s latest chip lmfao.

  12. Interactive Arts - 7 years ago

    Its not even April Fools day! RIP HTC this is insanity.

  13. rogifan - 7 years ago

    So are all the Apple haters going to complain about the bezels and camera bump? Or does that not matter if it’s not Apple.

  14. chrisl84 - 7 years ago

    Oh man those ports turn my OCD up to 11

  15. Charles Burns - 7 years ago

    Of course one could argue that HTC have shown an almost Apple-like sense of design by centring the camera, whereas Apple have created a nightmare for symmetry-OCD-ers by putting it to one side. But then HTC would have had to put the flash and microphone either side of the camera and – sadly – they didn’t do that! #missed_opportunity

  16. Gregory Wright - 7 years ago

    I wonder why auto makers don’t have fan clubs like Apple. Auto makers use each other designs all the time and you never hear anyone complaining about it.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      Because people who usually troll about such stuff are people who can’t afford a premium car, so they instead turn to something cheap as smartphones to fulfill their lack of being able to troll around.

      • tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

        This is the absolute dumbest comment I’ve had the misfortune to see. Obviously, copying is far more rampant in cheap cars than in “premium” cars. You don’t see BMW copying Mercedes in design languages and not vice versa. And what’s wrong about not being able to buy premium cars? Does that rip off the rights to talk about smartphone designs so that poor people have no right to mock transparently asinine designs? How rich are you dude? Even if you drive around in your Mercedes-Maybach S600 that doesn’t give you the right to say stupid crap like this. Let alone I’m certain you don’t drive that car.

    • iali87 - 7 years ago

      I also mean, cmon people, who copied the note and htc one screen size last year. Who copied the surface pro this year. its all companies and each one has its own pros and cons.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Copying screen size isn’t a thing. Unless you are a complete and utter moron, you understand that copying screen size means nothing. Screen size isn’t intellectual. It’s as simple as oh we decided to make the screen size bigger because we were able to do it without a bunch of compromises and because our customers wanted bigger screens. Anyone who says copying screen size is a thing, is a complete idiot, sorry to say.

        As for copying the surface pro? Also didn’t happen. Seriously, what about the iPad pro is like the surface pro, aside from them being bigger sizes? You do know the keyboard case the surface has is an apple patent which Microsoft is licensing right? Of course Apple’s keyboard destroys what they did with the licensed patent. Is the surface pro 4:3? Isn’t it 16:9?

      • triankar - 7 years ago

        Ummm, no. Apple didn’t copy the Surface this year. I wish they had (and I’d have bought the damn thing on the spot). Instead, they went out of their way to produce exactly the opposite: the MacBook and the iPad Pro. Two half-baked products, neither of which convinced us that it is the right alternative (to the Surface).

      • iali87 - 7 years ago

        “Apple didn’t copy the surface”
        You guys are funny and blind. How about the screen size, keyboard, and an active stylus? You guys need to read articles on other websites too(like the verge who were always an apple fans and they still admitted it). Please don’t be like those on who are an android blind fans!
        So copying a screen size it not copying buy a similar design is copying! Hmmmm how about copying the notification center and widgets!? how about hmmm the add-on keyboards?! hmmm how about the lower power mode?!!
        You make iOS users look fools when you try on every stage to deny any sort of criticism.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      No one gives a sh$t about that though. Well, they will once everyone is copying Apple’s car design.

      • jmholmes83 - 7 years ago

        That’s the problem though. The Apple car will have some unique design signature that makes it different. By then Samsung will have a partnership with Kia or something that blatantly steals that unique feature. It doesn’t happen so spot-on now, but by then it most certainly will.

      • Gregory Wright - 7 years ago

        You mean the design inspired by BMW.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        You think Apple is really going to be inspired by that BMW design? I’m guessing it had precisely nothing to do with the design of the body,maybe other things about that car they were interested in though. That car was hideous.

      • @o0smoothies0o Agreed.

  17. John Smith - 7 years ago

    Apple would never put their ports in an odd or useless place? Have you seen where you charge the new magic mouse!?!?!?!? Steve Jobs would be rolling in his grave.

    • jmholmes83 - 7 years ago

      I don’t charge my mouse nearly as often.

      • John Smith - 7 years ago

        Yeah, but every time I do, I’d like to keep using it. You can’t do that now.

      • Smigit - 7 years ago

        @John Smith: you get a days battery from 2 or 3 minutes worth of charging which will see you through whatever task you’re on, and then you plug it back in when done. It’s not going to hold people up that much.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      It lasts 9hrs after a 2min charge. If you can’t wait 1-2min then you need help. Sorry but I’d rather wait 1-2min than ever use a wired mouse again. Period. Apple made the right decision, although I also thought it was stupid until I learned that it lasted 9hrs after a 2min charge.

  18. Peter Nguyen - 7 years ago

    HTC One A9. I wonder what the A9 is for like the A9 chip in the iPhone? lol

  19. Bryan Hough - 7 years ago

    This is ridiculous. I’m an Apple user, I have a Macbook, iPad, iPhone 6, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, but calling this HTC phone a “clone” repeatedly is just petty. If anything, the iPhone 6 design is a “clone” of the HTC One m7 that was released in 2013. These are cell phones, people. There’s only so much that you can do with the design. Do you expect a company a to release one that’s circular, or shaped like a star, just because it’s different than the “boring old rectangular slab”??? Some of you Apple journalists and Apple fans make me embarrassed to be an Apple user. It’s as if you fail to realize that some people CHOOSE Android devices for one reason or another. Just stop being so damn petty. Let’s not forget that many times, things that we get excited over as Apple fans have sometimes been available on Android devices for YEARS. Google Wallet was allowing Android users to “Tap To Pay” using NFC in 2011. All of these companies borrow from one another, that’s the nature of the industry, and it’s OK. Buy what you like, but don’t get butthurt overtime an Android OEM releases a new phone.

    • mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

      Sorry but actually “This is ridiculous”. As does almost anyone who has eyes can tell.

    • Smigit - 7 years ago

      “There’s only so much that you can do with the design. ”

      An iPhone 3GS looks very different to an iPhone 4 which looks different to a 5 which looks very different to a 6. Also Nokia made a very distinguishable design with their Lumia handsets as have a few other manufacturers.

      The “there’s only so much you can do” excuse is a poor one. There’s heaps you can do from choice of materials to colours and textures.

      Hell, the M7 you mentioned looks drastically different to these handsets despite the antenna bands being there. Some of their past handsets have really stood out, especially with design queues like front speaker grills etc. I’d say they’ve generally done a good job at delivering something different, it just so happens this phone is not one of those moment.

  20. patthecarnut - 7 years ago

    Oh geez

  21. charismatron - 7 years ago

    Honestly, the crew at Apple must hit the bar after work and laugh their collective asses off about this kind of crap.

  22. bhayes444 - 7 years ago

    HTC has had a bad habit of having their charging point askew on their last few phones. Always did seem odd

  23. Will Van Gelderen - 7 years ago

    I guess you all are forgetting the the HTC One M7 which came out long before the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 looks more like an inspired design off of HTC

    • Smigit - 7 years ago

      The antenna bands are about the one element the M7 and iPhone 6 have in common. Especially if you turn the handsets around and compare the face.

  24. realgurahamu - 7 years ago

    The funny thing is that they called it the A9 – a nod towards apple’s A9 chip in the newest iphones – i am surprised nobody else picked up on thos yet

  25. Paul Douglas - 7 years ago

    “Years of advancement have produced the perfect smartphone”

    “…Turns out it was an iPhone”

    “Go figure.”

  26. Hell with the symmetry. The Micro-USD, Headphone jack and Speaker placement on the A9 is actually better I feel. The speakers are not at towards either of the edges which means you are not going to block the speaker with your fingers while holding your phone and watching a video for example.

  27. triankar - 7 years ago

    Two things with regard to the HTC:
    – I very much prefer HTC’s decision to place the volume rocker and the power button on the same side. I constantly bump the volume-down button when I try to lock the phone, so I keep checking that either my (left) thumb is below the volume-down button, or I’m applying pressure evenly on it.
    – I can argue HTC did the antenna thing better. The colours match a lot better than on the iPhone, where they sort-of stand out (especially in the lighter models).

    The mute switch is also very easy to toggle by accident, especially in the direction that activates it. The solution used on the iPads so far is MUCH better and I hope Apple engineers realise that.

    While at it, one other thing I’d love to see is the option to move the camera button to the left side of the lock screen. I’m left-handed, and it’s far from convenient for my left thumb to swipe-up on the right side of the screen to use the camera. In fact, it’s a total nightmare, so I often end up using two hands.

  28. Jason Brown - 7 years ago

    Sad to see this coming from HTC. In terms of design elements they were the only phone manufactures who were right up there with Apple. Whats amusing is the HTC’s marketing team messaging – ” A design worth imitating “made my day and i still could not stop laughing.

    Seriously HTC

  29. John Smith - 7 years ago

    No one’s gonna point out the awful color correction on their stock footage montage?

  30. thecodee - 7 years ago

    Wow. I still sort of remember the days when HTC was actually a big contributor to the world’s vision for mobile devices. Oh well.

  31. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    HTC, Samesung, Hwawuei, and their copy sisters! I am wondering how can they copy whole or most of apple designs and like nothing is wrong. What is the point of PATENTS then ?????!!

  32. kjl3000 - 7 years ago

    HTC even copied that stupid too-large-to-fit-the-rest-of-the-even-thinner-iPhone6(s) camera… They could have made a point here, at last.

  33. djcolley - 7 years ago

    Yeah does the HTC A9 bend?