This isn't a flea flicker, a puntarooski, or the Immaculate Reception. But Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is stealing one of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) bread-and-butter tricks -- one that Cupertino uses all the time. It's kind of like letting CEO Stephen Elop call unlimited audibles in the style of improvisation master Peyton Manning.

Nokia's new Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones were introduced yesterday, featuring the brand-new Windows Phone 8 software from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), and a clean design right in line with the previous Lumia 900 flagship. And that's where the Finnish company snuck a peek at Apple's favorite plays.

You see, Apple's smartphone success was built on a bulletproof brand image. It starts and ends with the iPhone's clean design, and everything else is just gravy on top.

Elop is taking a similar approach to the Lumia line. The family resemblance between the new phones and the older model is very strong, and Nokia refused to clutter up the stark design with unnecessary new features.

The Lumia 920 doesn't feature an external memory card slot; instead, it relies on 32 gigabytes of internal memory, with an expansion slot behind the battery cover. Nokia EVP Kevin Shields explains why: "We started with the premise that we wanted an uncompromised physical form," Shields told U.K. Magazine, PC Pro. "To put an SD card slot in it would have defiled it."

The 920 features just two external ports for charging and audio headsets. But the charging plug was nearly left on the cutting room floor in favor of the brand-new wireless charging feature.

The phone comes with a plethora of technical features as well, including a powerful dual-core Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon processor, and a 41-megapixel (no, that's not a typo) camera. But the device will live or die by its design and marketing. Nokia couldn't have picked a better role model in that department.

Apple’s design and branding is one of the hundreds of reasons it's grown into the world largest company.  However, even at its present size, Apple still should have plenty of upside remaining.  The Fool breaks down the exact details of the Apple investment thesis in its new premium research report on Apple, which also includes a detailed report on the iPhone 5. To get the full perspective on what should be one of the most important storylines of the year, just click here to get started.

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