“StarBrite is selling a pPod, a virtual iPod for Pocket PCs, that — given Apple’s past tolerance for knockoffs — may not be available for very long. On the market just two weeks, the product is a software iPod that runs on Pocket PCs, Microsoft’s Palm-like operating system for handhelds,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired News.
[MacDailyNews Note: a visit to StarBrite’s website shows the application with the name “pBop” and a disclaimer stating, “Please be aware that this Windows powered Pocket PC software application has NO connection with and is not supported by Apple Computer Inc. If you wish to purchase the Apple Computer Inc ‘iPod’ device please visit their website at [url=http://www.apple.com]http://www.apple.com[/url].” You can also see the app at the Handango website here. And more screenshots on the Handango site here.)
“The virtual iPod is, well, virtually identical to a real iPod. The application fills the Pocket PC’s entire screen with a faithful facsimile of the iPod, including the player’s distinctive scroll wheel and four buttons for playing, pausing and so on. Like the iPod, the pPod is controlled by its virtual scroll wheel. Most Pocket PCs have touch-sensitive screens, which allow users to navigate the pPod’s menus with their fingers — just like the iPod,” Kahney reports.
“Naturally, the pPod’s interface is also just like the iPod’s. Songs are arranged by a series of nested menus, which can be browsed by artist, album, genre, etc. ‘It works exactly the same way, except it’s software and it costs $20,” said a spokesman for the company, who wished to remain anonymous. The price is not the only difference between the real and virtual iPod,’ Kahney reports. “The pPod software plays only songs encoded as MP3 files. It does not support WMA, nor songs downloaded from Apple’s popular iTunes Music Store, which are encoded as copy-protected AAC files.”
“Brian Ferguson, an intellectual property lawyer with McDermott, Will & Emery in Washington, D.C., said he wasn’t familiar with Apple’s patent portfolio, but if the iPod is patent-protected — and it likely is — the software may well infringe on the patent,” Kahney reports. “‘I’m just speculating, but I’d be surprised if Apple didn’t patent-protect some of the ideas in the iPod,’ he said. ‘If it does infringe on the patents, end of story.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Hello, Apple Legal Department?