Every device maker is plagued by lookalikes mass-produced in the far east, and Apple is no exception. The fakes themselves, while always pretty terrible, often have looked mighty close to the real thing as far as hardware design. It only takes a single rogue iPhone to spawn a thousand exact replicas as far as dimensions, shape, and materials. Well, Apple’s taking steps to prevent this, though I somehow doubt they’ll prove too effective. They’ve been granted a patent covering the “ornamental design” of the iPhone and its pals — it better be a very specific design they’ve patented, since most phones are lozenge-shaped with big screens now.
The patents were filed in 2007 (for the iPod Touch) and 2009 (likely after the 3GS design was finalized and on the market). That’s not such a long wait, really. I’ve been waiting on a patent for my iPhone heart-replacement chest-dock for like five years now. I know, since before the iPhone came out! What can I say, I just think ahead!
What does this mean for you? Well, the chances of having your phone switched out for a fake by some sleight of hand at a bar is greatly reduced. Also, you’ll need to shut down that Apple knock-off sweatshop you’ve been running in the sub-basement of your office building. Yeah, you’ll just have to find some way to make do without it, I’m afraid.