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Google’s Pixel 4 strategy just made Apple the copycat

For the past several days, the Google Pixel 4 seemed to leak one tiny detail every few hours. The earliest major leak seemed to be a set of 3D renders of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, in part of their glory (not all their glory, as the design details didn’t seem complete). That leak looked really, really familiar – especially when compared to the also-leaked hardware designs of what’s assumed to be the iPhone 11. With neither phone acknowledged as existing, who was the copycat?

This afternoon, Google made a bold move: They revealed the backside design of their phone. They added a hashtag #Pixel4 and they suggested the following: “Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do.” They tweeted the following – with an image of their new (previously unseen officially) Pixel 4.

Now, look at that, and compare it to the leaked imagery for the next set of iPhone devices from Apple. Remember that these images are not directly from Apple, but rendered using CAD drawings. CAD stands for computer-aided design, and it’s generally used as a sort of modern blueprint for technical hardware.

Most of the time when we speak about a CAD drawing, it’s when a CAD drawing has leaked from a manufacturer somewhere in Asia (likely in China) where it’s been sent to accessory-makers and leakers for profit. This drawing is only supposed to be made for the manufacturer of the device and POSSIBLY official accessory brand partners (partners of the group who designed the device in the first place).

So the images of the iPhones you see here first appeared in late April, 2019. The leak of the Google Pixel 4 came on June 10th, 2019. Both leaks are shown below.

Now on June 12th, 2019, Google revealed the entire back side of the Pixel 4 (in the Tweet above). Imagine the cost/benefits calculations Google must have had to make for this to happen. Imagine how bold some PR individual had to have been to suggest that, since someone else already leaked the phone, Google may as well attempt to control the narrative with their own imagery.

Also imagine how Apple must be reacting now, assuming their iPhone collection for 2019 really does look at least somewhat like what’s shown above. They’re probably feeling a little something like this:

They’re likely feeling this way because, due to the order in which these devices are being shown (by their makers), it’ll likely look like the iPhone’s hardware design copied what Google had already shown. In reality its just as likely (if not a whole lot MORE likely) that Apple designed their hardware at the same time, or before Google’s Pixel was in its final stages of concept work.

Who will get credit for the design – and will it matter? Given the comparative sales numbers of the Google Pixel and the iPhone, I can’t imagine Apple is too worried. I DO wonder how Google is playing this situation, and if their PR moves with the Pixel 4 have anything to do with the international leak nightmare that was the Pixel 3 – who can be sure?

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