The HTC One's design was actually leaked by evleaks exactly one year ago today. The image seemed so different that immediately the leak was denounced as being a fake by those supposedly close to the project. Instead, these insiders claimed that another series of leaked photos represented the look of the HTC One (then still called the M7). Now that the picture of the prototype has been released, we can see that both sides were right. The plastic cased, soft touch HTC One prototype was the last version of the HTC One that some insiders had seen, while others knew that HTC had decided to go with the unique looking model made of a single slab of aluminum.
If you ask us, HTC made the right decision with the design it picked for the HTC One. It should be very interesting to see what changes, if any, HTC is making to the HTC One's successor, believed to be the HTC One+.