The Macalope Daily: Copy cat spat

[Editor’s Note: The Macalope Daily is an exclusive benefit for our Macworld Insider members, but is being made available to all Macworld readers for a limited time. To learn more about this and other features, visit our Macworld Insider information page.]

It was a banner day for innovation on Monday as HP announced the Spectre all-in-one desktop, which totally doesn’t look like an iMac, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP.

Oh, PC OEMs. Will you never learn?

No? Didn’t think so.

Here’s the thing: Apple doesn’t have a lot of different computer hardware designs at any given time. Right now it has the Mini, the iMac, the moribund Mac Pro, and the MacBook line, which has several variations on the same theme. So when you copy an Apple design, it’s pretty noticeable. You only have a few to choose from.

Now, the Spectre isn’t an exact copy of the iMac, which, of course, leads to people bemoaning us dumb Apple fanbois who think everything is a copy of an Apple product, including toasters because they’re made of aluminum LOL stupid fanbois.

The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino called it like he saw it, though:

“HP Introduces New Apple iMac”

And, oh, the hissy fits that were thrown in the comments! Is there some sort of finishing school these commenters go to in order to learn how to maximize the hissy of their fits? Is there some kind of rigorous training program? Because that’s a lot of hissy for one fit.

From the top angle picture, it’s hard to argue that the Spectre doesn’t look almost exactly like an iMac. The side angle, however, does show that the Spectre looks slightly crappier and therefore less like an iMac.

The touchpad mouse, though … give the Macalope a break.

Look, it’s not like HP doesn’t have a history of this. One need look no further than the cutting edge design of the hi-lariously named HP Envy.

Apologists for ripoffs like this contend that it’s just the “natural evolution” of computer product lines, but if that’s the case it seems that the designers of the other lines HP announced—the Envy 20 and 23 and the Pavillion 20—are playing in the wrong gene pool. Because while it’s an all-in-one desktop, it doesn’t look at all like an iMac. Personally, the Macalope thinks its design cues came more from exercise equipment, but it does put the lie to the idea that Apple’s designs are somehow the only conceivable option.

Face facts, people. Companies are copying Apple designs. In a sub-argument about whether sites that report on these product announcements should be pointing out the “design influence,” Joshua Topolsky says the reason The Verge didn’t in this instance is because it’s obvious “people rip off Apple. It is not news.”

Well, it’s apparently news to the people who commented on Panzarino’s post.

It might not even be a dumb thing to copy Apple. Samsung’s done OK doing it. (Well, up until the whole court case thing, anyway.) It’s obviously lazier than coming up with a nice design of your own, but at least when you copy an Apple design you know you’re starting from something people like.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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