Sony’s new Walkman players ships with the new Windows-only “Connect Player” that, according to Sony, “offers advanced music library management as well as providing seamless access to the Connect catalog of more than one million tracks and albums available for download.”

Looks familiar. Apple iTunes, anyone?

“Connect Player” incorporates an Apple iTunes-like user interface that features a ‘drag and drop’ function for transfer from library to player.

Mac users who attempt to visit the Sony Connect website receive this lovely “disconnect” message:

We appreciate your interest in the Connect music store, but our store currently only works with computers running Windows 98 Second Edition or higher. You don’t seem to be using that particular operating system at the moment, so, unfortunately, we’ll have to part ways until we support the operating system you’re currently using, or you make the switch to an OS that is compatible with the Connect music store.

Downgrade to Windows so we can use Sony’s iTunes rip-off Connect Player? Fat chance.

System requirements:
• Microsoft Windows 98 SE, ME, 2000 or XP
• Minimum of 500 Mhz processor
• Minimum of 400 MB available hard disk space
• Minimum of 128 MB RAM
• Internet Explorer 5.5 or later

More info via Sony Connect:
Sony is obviously bereft of original ideas. They’ve been reduced to combing Apple’s website for marketing slogans (small as a pack of gum) and downloading Apple applications for ideas.

Apple’s iTunes user interface United States Patent 6,731,312 can be viewed here. Images relating to the patent can be viewed here.

[UPDATE 9/9, 3:52pm ET: fixed links to Apple patent information that were correct and tested at time of original posting, but seem to have mysteriously changed. Links to Apple’s patents now work again.]

Related articles:
Apple wins iTunes interface patent – May 11, 2004

Too little, too late? Sony getting killed by Apple in digital audio – September 09, 2005
Also-ran MP3 player makers miffed by Apple’s impossibly low price for iPod nano – September 09, 2005
Sony and Warner holding out on Apple iTunes Music Store Australia – September 08, 2005
Sony Connect President in wake of iPod nano: ‘we will accelerate our challenge’ to Apple iPod – September 08, 2005
Apple close to deal with Sony for ‘online music download service for Japanese iPod users’ – September 05, 2005
Bad news for Sony: millions worldwide choosing Apple iPods – August 22, 2005
Sony to combat music market ‘maestro’ Apple Computer with ‘Walkman Beans’ – August 18, 2005
Musicians stage mutiny against Sony, defiantly offer music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 10, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store debut more bad news for Sony – August 04, 2005
Sony debuts US$199 1GB iPod shuffle killer, bills it ‘small as a pack of gum’ – July 06, 2005
Sony BMG and EMI try to force Apple to ‘open’ iPod with iPod-incompatible CDs – June 20, 2005