North Korea's New Smartphone Looks an Awful Lot Like an iPhone

Image: DPRK Today / Gizmodo
Image: DPRK Today / Gizmodo

Behold: the Jindallae 3. Designed and manufactured locally by North Korea’s Mangyongdae Information Technology Corporation, the new smartphone is “versatile and multifunctional” and comes in white or black, according to state-sponsored news agency DPRK Today. It also looks just like an iPhone.

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With a name that roughly translates to “azalea,” the Jindallae 3 does indeed bear some serious similarities to more familiar devices designed in California. Aside from the slim shape and minimalist hardware design, the phone’s software looks like a bastardized version of iOS. Some of the app icons, for instance, are practically identical to those used on Apple’s mobile devices. (The icons for the phone, music, and photos apps are dead giveaways.)

North Korea’s Jandallae 3 (left) compared to an Apple iPhone 6 (right)
North Korea’s Jandallae 3 (left) compared to an Apple iPhone 6 (right)
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Then again, the resemblance has its limits. The upper half of the Jindallae’s home screen is very Android-like, and that oval home button looks suspiciously like the fingerprint reader on a Samsung Galaxy. It’s almost as if North Korea’s designers stole the best ideas from Apple and Samsung’s flagship phones and presented it as a whole new thing.

North Korea’s Jandallae 3 (left) compared to a Samsung Galaxy S7 (right)
North Korea’s Jandallae 3 (left) compared to a Samsung Galaxy S7 (right)

None of this, of course, is especially surprising. North Korean technology manufacturers have been copying Apple’s designs and ideas for years. Most recently, North Korea announced a new tablet computer called—wait for it—the IPad. We’ve also seen glimpses of desktop computers that look practically identical to the latest version of the iMac. Those machines undoubtedly run North Korea’s very own operating system, Red Star 3.0, which looks pretty much exactly like Apple’s OS X. It’s hard to tell, though, since photos the iMac clones are pretty rare. Below is a photo of one recently uploaded by DPRK Today.

Photo: DPRK Today / Facebook
Photo: DPRK Today / Facebook
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It’s unlikely that anyone outside of North Korea will get the privilege to try out this tech. (You can download the OS X knockoff, although you probably shouldn’t.) It’s also unclear how well the new Jandallae 3 works, since DPRK Today didn’t publish the specs in its fawning coverage of the supposedly original design. The news agency did say that the phone sports “a higher level of convenience and safety compared to various kinds of smartphones which were developed in the past.” One has to wonder how high that bar is in a country that struggles to feed its own people.

[NK Today]

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Senior editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

sergioar
Unspiek Baron Bodissey

Looks like the love child of a Samsung and an iPhone. Regardless, I’m astounded the Hermit Kingdom with a GDP like 1/3 of that of Minnesota makes missiles, nuclear weapons and cellphones. Never mind the stolen design but the chip foundries they seem to have must be quite sophisticated so as to manufacture multiple core CPUs in really small process sizes (the latest iPhone’s chip process size is 16 nm... the latest Intel processors are made with a 14-nm process). If indeed they are making them instead of smuggling them from China and slapping their tags on them.