The iPhone 5 has not even been officially announced yet.
But that hasn’t stopped the Chinese knock-off shops coming up with their own cheap version of Apple’s premium device.
For decades, an underground industry has been creating clones of popular mainstream devices, and the iPhone 5 is just the longest in a long line of products to get perhaps the sincerest form of flattery.
Whether Apple will take as much notice of this infringement as it did when Samsung used Apple’s patents without paying royalties is unlikely.
But the clone iPhone certainly looks the part, with the rounded corners, eponymous single button, and the lock-screen that is so familiar to the world.
However, unlock the screen and you won’t find Apple’s iOS operating system powering this device – instead, and this should bring a tear to any Apple fan’s eye – it runs Android.
A couple of clues this is not an iPhone 5 come from the casing.
First of all this follows the design of the iPhone 4S, with a 3.5inch screen, whereas multiple leaks from Apple suggest the iPhone 5, which is expected to be announced on September 12, will have a 4inch screen.
Also – in another affront to Apple – the back-case appears to have Android’s ‘Honeycomb’ logo, implying the device runs the previous version of Android’s operating system.
The phone sports a five-megapixel camera and is believed to have a resolution of 940 x 640 – not terrible by phone standards, but no match to Apple’s high-definition Retina displays.
The phone has not been released yet, so there are no reviews about how the device runs.
And surprising, some previous ‘knock-offs’ have been surprisingly good quality, meriting decent reviews from curious Western technology sites who manage to pick up a model on eBay.
But with a multitude of different manufacturers creating a variety of different clones of varying quality, the best advice is that, if you really want an iPhone, get the genuine article.
And if your budget does not stretch that far, look for a reasonably-priced smartphone which comes with from an established manufacturer and which comes with a full warranty.