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: http://musicstore.connect.com/index.html
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.]

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