As Ultrabooks start hitting the market this year, you can look forward to Olympic-level verbal gymnastics as PC OEM executives attempt to explain away the many similarities between their laptops and the reference platform for their laptops, the MacBook Air.
First up on floor exercise, HP’s Vice President of Industrial Design, Stacy Wolff. The excitement is palpable, as word has it that Wolff will be performing a roundoff back handspring into a triple Lutz!
And here he goes!
Apple may like to think that they own silver, but they don’t. In no way did HP try to mimic Apple. In life there are a lot of similarities.
“In life there are a lot of similarities.” You are deep, Stacy. Or just really stoned.
There are particularly a lot of similarities if you’re, you know, copying someone else. In that instance, there a tons of similarities. Life sure is funny with its startling and completely natural similarities (tip o’ the antlers to Marco Arment)!
Wolff claims that the design of the possibly-named-by-a-12-year-old boy HP Envy Spectre XT was inspired more by the Compaq TC1000—in that it was silver with black keys and will probably suck. See, the TC1000 was inspired by the Titanium PowerBook, so you Apple nerds are totally off-base with this idea that HP’s new Ultrabook was inspired by the MacBook Air! Ha! As if!
The thing is that you have to design what’s right…
Which just happens to be exactly the design Apple’s already selling.
…and that is that sometimes the wedge is the right solution, silver is the right solution.
Sometimes black keys are the right solution. And ports on the sides instead of the back. And taking out the optical drive. And…
Oh, screw it! We copied Apple, OK?!
So there are a lot of things I can list off that are differences; but if you want to look at a macro level, there are a lot of similarities to everything in the market that’s an Ultrabook today.
That’s a nice sleight of hand there. Lots of similarities to everything in the market … today. Like, say, the MacBook Air.
It is not because those guys did it first; it’s just that’s where the form factor is leading it.
Whatever you need to get to sleep at night, Stacy.
Again, like I said, with our TC1000, I didn’t come over to the Cupertino office and say “Hey, this looks like our old tablet. Why did you guys do this?”
Right. Look at your ridiculous tablet. Look at a MacBook Air. Now look at your Ultrabook. Now look at the Macalope. He’s on a horse.
You can talk about how Apple didn’t invent silver and it didn’t invent black keys and how a wedge is just the natural shape, but the fact is that you weren’t even making this class of laptop until Apple did. Ultrabooks weren’t even a thing until the MacBook Air came along. You guys were pushing cheap pieces of plastic with low margins. Then you saw Apple selling something better and being successful with it, and you wanted in.
That’s not a bad business decision, and the Macalope knows you can’t just admit you’re copying Apple, but let’s just be clear that that’s what you’re doing—no matter how you phrase it.
[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.]