Sneaky snap of HTC Aero suggests it looks suspiciously like an iPhone 6

Taiwanese tech titan appears to have taken more than a few design cues from Apple

HTC’s new flagship might just be the worst-kept secret since the leaky ship Samsung heralded the arrival of the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

And now we have a further photo of the Aero (or A9, depending on your source), alleged successor to the under-performing M9 and supposedly due to launch come October - courtesy of prolific leaker @stagueve (also known as @onleaks).

Imitation game

Where the handset fits in with rumours of a high spec HTC model dubbed the O2 is not clear, but what we do know from the leaked photo (assuming it's real) is that the Aero might just be the closest thing you can get to an iPhone 6 without buying an Apple product.

Snapped in gleaming gold, the back of the HTC handset bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s range-topper (if a little larger), albeit with the camera's lens and flash being centred rather than offset.

Given that HTC’s fortunes have been very publicly mixed of late, the decision to market a follow-up to the M9 - a phone which by all accounts was fantastic yet massively under-sold - as a quasi-iPhone clone could go either way.

In the short term, if priced correctly, the Aero might do well to offer a cut-price carbon copy of the consumer favourite, but how likely and for how long those wanting a true iPhone will remain happy with a non-iOS device remains to be seen.

Release rumours rife

Still, it’s positive at least that HTC appears to have retained the now synonymous metal-shell styling of its flagship phones, which did much to make the M8 and M9 models design delights.

With the Aero rumoured to be arriving by the end of this year, we’re still no closer to knowing firm specs for the Taiwanese manufacturer’s latest unveiling. That said, given that Qualcomm's Snapdragons 820 is still in development, we’re unlikely to see its latest processing behemoth arrive with the Aero.

Do the coexistent rumours of the so-called O2 and the so-called Aero suggest HTC heading for a half-and-half split smartphone selling strategy? Only time will tell.

[Source: @stagueve]