We love new ideas. And old ideas done in new ways. And, on occasion, we can even appreciate an old idea that has been redone in a familiar but really good way. But what about when one idea is done the exact same way three times?
Last November, we reviewed the SeeJacket Crystal, a brand new case with a hard plastic touch-through faceplate. Released by Germany’s Artwizz, it was in fact the first iPhone case with a fully protective, single-piece plastic faceplate of this sort: Capdase’s comparatively goofy Crystal Case, by contrast, required you to pop open its protective plastic pane, while other cases included thin film or just left the touchscreen entirely exposed. So Artwizz had a new and convenient iPhone case design on its hands, and SeeJacket Crystal rightfully received our high recommendation.
Flash forward five months. Our editors noticed that a company called Ivyskin was trumpeting a “breakthrough” new case called Xylo T2. “We are proud,” said Ivyskin in its press release, “to be an all American company with intensive requirements to make every product that we manufacturer superior, to the standard of what a US-designed product should be.” After reading over the announcement, we opted not to include it in our news section. Why? The brand new Xylo T2, with its “Surface Xylo Wave (SXW) technology” and special materials that “only ivyskin xylo T2” possesses, is the same case as the five-month-old Artwizz SeeJacket Crystal. And, thanks to the miracles of OEM/ODM distribution, a third company has the exact same case ready for U.S. release as well.
This week, Case-Mate introduced “the world’s first touch through case for the iPhone,” which it named the “Naked Case,” obviously trying to steal a little attention from Xylo. With a name like “Naked Case,” people would surely be interested in learning more about this revolutionary product, right? Well, it worked. Some people thought these were different cases, just because different companies are selling them under different names.
Because readers are getting confused over these three products—we’ve already had requests to review the “new” cases—we’re updating the Artwizz review today with an advisory, briefly explaining the details above. At the same time, these events offered a good opportunity for us to let new readers hear some points originally made in iLounge articles years ago. In this not-so-brave new world where original designs are hugely outnumbered by rebadgers and clones, you should expect to see multiple companies selling the exact same thing under different names, and in some cases, highly similar knock-offs of one company’s innovation by others. Our advice, having sifted through way too many clones in the past: buy only from companies you trust, and support innovation. You’ll be glad you did.