• iPhone: Attack of The Clones

    A new report on CNNmoney.com highlights what sounds like an epic battle straight out of Star Wars. But when you think about it, writer David Goldman has a point in his postulation that Apple shouldn't think it has already vanquished its 2010 competition. Next year, after all, could introduce an impressive array of mobile gadgets potentially more futuristic than anything from Star Wars itself.

    Okay, get the image of Steve Jobs with a lightsaber out of your head and consider the following:

    Just when it seemed like none of the iPhone copycats that have been hitting the market stood a chance against Apple's iconic smartphone, some new evidence is emerging that shows iPhone clones are getting a second wind.
    In just over a year, a veritable smorgasbord of iPhone clones have been rolled out. From HTC's G1 and the BlackBerry Storm, to the Palm Pre and all the way to the rumored forthcoming Google smartphone, the iPhone has withstood some hefty knock-off competition. The article from Goldman, however, speculates that round two may not leave the iPhone quite as unscathed.

    Earlier this week, data tracker comScore revealed research indicating that "interest in the iPhone" is plateauing, all the while iPhone clones are gaining ground in the smartphone market.

    According to the report, 17% of consumers who are shopping for a smartphone intend to buy a phone that runs Google's Android operating system, compared with 20% who plan to buy an iPhone. That gap is much narrower than the last study, which showed only 7% were going to buy an Android-powered phone, with 21% planning to buy an iPhone.
    Ultimately, no one is close to knocking Apple off its present perch. But iPhone copycats are getting better at their craft. What does this mean for Apple? While the rest of the market is busy emulating the iPhone, its time to put the creative wheels in motion on what's next. But some fear that Apple considers the iPhone too invincible to make any drastic or futuristic changes within the next few years. And by then, it could be too late.

    Analysts say the iPhone copycats are getting better, and many are even adding their own unique features like multitasking, physical keyboards and open-source operating systems.
    In the big picture, the iPhone is surrounded by an encroaching army of clones. And sooner rather than later, Steve Jobs will have to "use the force" to once again vanquish an army perhaps more powerful than Cupertino realizes.

    Image via ABC News
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