Imitating Apple Computer is no match for innovation

“There were any number of iPod Nano clones on display at the [Consumer Electronics Show], each with the same price-point as Apple and with worse industrial and interface design,” Wil Harris writes for bit-tech.net. “Really, do you need the choice of a million sub-par Nano competitors? Why wouldn’t you just buy the Nano? It’s the utter stupidity of the ‘me-too’ ethic that drives much of the computer industry. A company sees the success of the Nano and thinks, ‘Right. I’ll create a small and light MP3 player, put a wierd interface on the front, and I’ll charge a premium for it to give it the impression that it’s a Nano competitor.’ But wait… Hasn’t the company just created a product that copies the Nano without bettering it in any way, but at the same price point and without the brand cachet? Where is the appeal?”

Harris writes, “One of the worst offenders has to be Creative Labs. It’s insistent that it can take down the iPod, but it doesn’t show any signs of coming close yet. I was surprised that its iPod Video clone won the Best of CES award. It’s got a worse interface, the same size screen, as well as being double the thickness of the iPod Video and without offering a 60GB model to compete with Apple. Sure, there’s a little more battery life in there – but that’s only down to the bulky size. Coming in at the same price as the iPod video, what’s the point?”

Harris writes, “I’d like to talk about Windows Vista here, as demonstrated by Bill Gates at this keynote at the show. I would like to go on about how similar Windows Vista is to Apple OSX, but if I do, I’ll get blasted by the rest of the guys for being such a blatant Apple fanboy, having already spent half this column talking about iPods. But let me put it this way, succinctly: Vista delivers the same functionality as Tiger. But 12 months later. And less sexily.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “DreamTheEndless” for the link.]
Yeah, we’ll see if Vista actually delivers the “same functionality” as Tiger. It’s impossible to compare a vaporous beta to a shipping OS with already on its fourth point release. Is Microsoft planning to deliver an iLife knock-off bundled on Windows PCs, too? No? Too bad for Windows users. Another not-so-minor problem for Microsoft’s copiers: by the time Vista debuts, Apple will most likely be shipping Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, not Tiger.

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Related articles:
Don’t call them podcasts! Derivative, er, Creative introduces ZenCast app for ‘audio & video blogs’ – January 04, 2006
Creative’s Zen Vision:M green with Apple iPod envy – December 09, 2005
Creative Technology’s official press relase for Zen Vision:M Apple iPod knockoff – December 08, 2005

Episode 2 of Microsoft Windows Vista, Bill Gates CES keynote video spoof now online – January 07, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista, Bill Gates keynote video spoof debuts online – January 06, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue on Gates’ CES demo: Most of Vista features unadulterated ripoffs from Apple Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Bill Gates’ CES presentation humdrum as tech world awaits Apple’s Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote – January 05, 2006
Analyst: Windows Vista may still impress many consumers because they have not seen Apple’s Mac OS X – January 05, 2006
Microsoft’s Gates shows Windows Vista photo, search features; plans to fight Apple’s iPod dominance – January 05, 2006
Gates: ‘People tend to get overfocused on one of our competitors’ – January 05, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista compared to Apple Mac OS X – December 05, 2005
Gartner: Ignore Microsoft Windows Vista until 2008 (why not just get Apple Mac OS X Tiger today?) – November 12, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Vista strives to deliver what Apple’s Mac OS X already offers – October 10, 2005
Thurrott: Microsoft’s Windows Vista Beta 1 vs. Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger – August 29, 2005
Apple to unleash Leopard on Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn; Mac OS X 10.5 due late 2006 – early 2007 – June 07, 2005
Thurrott: many of Windows Vista’s upcoming features appeared first in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 26, 2005
Microsoft’s Ballmer: It’s true, some of Windows Vista’s features are ‘kissing cousins’ to Mac OS X – September 19, 2005
Microsoft suffers from malaise, key defections, Windows Vista struggles, lack of towels – September 16, 2005
Microsoft’s Bill Gates’ prediction of Apple iPod market share decline fails to materialize – September 18, 2005
PC World: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron – September 15, 2005
Microsoft debuts Dashboard Widgets, er, ‘Microsoft Gadgets’ – September 13, 2005
Microsoft appropriates Apple’s ‘brushed metal’ look for Office 12 for Windows – September 13, 2005
Apple to unleash Leopard on Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn; Mac OS X 10.5 due late 2006 – early 2007 – June 07, 2005
Windows tech writer Thurrott: ‘In many ways, Mac OS X Tiger is simply better than Windows’ – May 07, 2005
Bill Gates jokes about Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ and calls Apple ‘the super-small market share guy’ – May 03, 2005
Thurrott: ‘Longhorn is in complete disarray and in danger of collapsing under its own weight’ – April 27, 2005
Windows czar Allchin says Apple copying Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn – April 27, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn ‘has the makings of a train wreck’ – April 26, 2005
Thurrott: Longhorn demos ‘unimpressive, fall short of graphical excellence found today in Mac OS X’ – April 26, 2005
Microsoft employees leaving due to (and blogging about) malaise smothering company – April 25, 2005
eWEEK Editor Coursey: Longhorn so far ‘looks shockingly like a Macintosh’ – April 25, 2005
Due in late 2006, many of Windows Longhorn’s features have been in Mac OS X since 2001 – April 25, 2005
Microsoft’s new mantra: ‘It Just Works’ ripped straight from Apple’s ‘Switch’ campaign – April 22, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Microsoft’s Longhorn: ‘They are shamelessly copying us’ – April 21, 2005
Microsoft’s Windows Longhorn will bear more than just a passing resemblance to Apple’s Mac OS X – April 15, 2005
The Age: ‘Apple’s Mac OS X at least a generation ahead of Windows XP, iMac G5 clearly the best’ – December 15, 2004
Silicon Valley: Apple CEO Steve Jobs previews ‘Longhorn’ – June 29, 2004
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Mac OS X Tiger ‘is going to drive the copycats crazy – June 28, 2004
Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs previews Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ to ship in the first half of 2005 – June 28, 2004
Apple takes dead aim at Microsoft, ‘Longhorn’ with WWDC Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ ads – June 28, 2004
PC Magazine: Microsoft ‘Longhorn’ preview shows ‘an Apple look’ – May 06, 2004
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Apple leads; Wintel follows as usual – November 11, 2002

32 Comments

  1. Geez, Vista can only wish to deliver the same functionality as Tiger. Somehow I think that it’ll be like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’ll look like Tiger, but it’s just a fake shell. If you spend more than 20 seconds with it, you’ll find that it’s really just a mindless alien.

  2. If Mafiasoft, Dull and “Creative” can do it and get away with it, why not?

    Everyone knows Apple is the R&D engine for the CE and PC industry. Why else would a so called 5% market share weakling matter?

    Rock on Steve!
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  3. “Vista delivers the same functionality as Tiger. But 12 months later. And less sexily.”

    Sexily? Is that a word? Or is it short for “Sex-silly”?

    Or would it be better used like this, “I just hired a new sexretary…”

  4. “Vista delivers the same functionality as Tiger. But 12 months later. And less sexily.”

    Shouldn’t that be 18-20 months later? Tiger was shipping April 29th, 2005. Expected Vista release date is “late 2006” and in time for the holidays.

  5. APPLE…..FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD WOULD YOU FINALLY WAKE UP AND ADVERTISE THE MAC SHOWING OS X AND THE ILIFE SUITE SO PEOPLE WILL KNOW ABOUT IT!!!!

    WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS COMPANY.

    AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE…I UNDERSTAND THE WRITER’S FRUSTRATION.

    I GET SO DOGONE TIRED OF TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO FOLKS LOOKING TO BUY A COMPUTER AND THEY ABSOLUTELY NO NOTHING ABOUT THE MAC EXCEPT THE NEGATIVE MYTHS THAT THE WINDOWS KNUCKLHEADS TELL THEM.

    I WIND UP BEING ON THE DEFENSIVE AND NOT THE OFFENSIVE BECAUSE APPLE ARE ACTING LIKE COMPLETE DORKS BY THEIR LACK OF SPREADING/ADVERTISING THE MAC PLATFORM, OS AND ITS DIGITAL LIFESTYLE SUITE THAT ANYONE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE.

    LOOK AT THE IPOD SUCCESS DUE TO ADVERTISING!

    DOES ANYONE FEEL LIKE JACK-SLAPPING APPLE INTO WAKING UP AND FINALLY DOING PROPER MAC ADVERTISING??

  6. What really amused me was CNN’s report of the last day of the CES, during which resident geek Daniel Seberg grilled the guy from CNET over their pick of Creative’s blatant video iPod ripoff as “Best in Show”. You could practically hear the raised eyebrows in Seberg’s tone of voice, especially when the droid from CNET defended their choice by saying what swayed them was the fact that Creative’s offering was thicker than the iPod: “Most of us found the iPod more uncomfortable to hold. Thinner isn’t always better.”

    I really have to give Seberg credit for not laughing out loud in the guy’s face for his lame attempts to defend CNET’s ridiculous decision. Basically, they just came across as bending over backward in order to not say anything nice about Apple. It was embarrassing to watch, particularly as it was so obvious that Seberg was incredulous.

  7. Get off it! Vista is attempting to deliver the same functionality as OS X, but FIVE YEARS LATER! And please don’t use the word sexy or any derivative thereof to describe the work of Gates/Ballmer. What a turn off!

  8. “LOOK AT THE IPOD SUCCESS DUE TO ADVERTISING!”

    The iPod’s success is not due solely to advertising. Most of it comes from Apple’s ability to build a great product, as well as word of mouth.

  9. Jobs should put a commercial, including the WOW factor of OSX, iLife, iWork and some pricing comparisons on every iPod he sells. That way he reaches millions of Windows users. The problem is that he seems to trust his past performance in ads, which is preaching to the choir and very elitist.

    MW-voice, as in, voice in the wilderness.

  10. “I was surprised that its iPod Video clone won the Best of CES award.”

    I wasn’t. I’m sure their iPod Video clone was the best thing at CES because Apple wasn’t there.

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