Next year's iPhone 4G has just been revealed—it's a familiar shape, with a twelve megapixel camera and it records 720p video. Fabulous! But it's not Apple's phone.
Confused? It must be an iPhone! Look at the shape! Look at the core features: All-touchscreen glass front: check. Graphical UI with 4-by-4 icon screen and four home icons at the bottom: check. Rounded speaker grille: check. Simple button control: check. GPS and accelerometer: check. It's so iPhoney that if you saw it from across a room you'd mistake it for a genuine Apple product. But that's just on the front side, because its rear-end is very very different. There's an interesting, if excessive-sounding 12-megapixel camera there, looking like a super-slim pocket digital cam. It's powerful too, with Schneider-Kreuznach optics, autofocus and a 3200 ISO rating. It's also got a proper xenon flash. And it records video in 720p HD.
Amazing. But it's not from Apple. LG outed the phone yesterday, with many thinking it was a real product. Today the company confirmed it's simply a prototype, with the internal codename of Louvre. It's a concept to illustrate how LG phones will be in the future, with advanced features aplenty. But LG's not really fooling anybody with this, since what it really is, underneath the glitz, is the iPhone 4G. The design cues are unmistakeable, and highly derivative—as you may expect, since the iPhone is busy redefining what smartphones are like and selling by the million. LG's simply extended the idea of the current iPhone into a next-gen smartphone with boosted features.
And it's probably right to do so, since its specifications are probably close to what LG's future smartphones will be competing against. After all, the iPhone 3G S is hardware-capable of recording 720p video already, and it stands to reason that Apple will preserve much of the design, thanks to its iconic status, in the next version. It's also likely to push up the megapixel count, and a proper flash would certainly be a logical next step in boosting the phone's camera capability. But I suspect Apple is sensitive to the insanity of the megapixel wars, and will have practical battery life to consider, so I'd guess the real iPhone 4G will just jump to 5 or 6 megapixels.
And that's why the LG Louvre would likely lose the battle with the real iPhone 4G—as it's demonstrated with the iPhone 3G S, Apple's carefully revolutionary designs don't have to be over the top to make it a success.