Friday, October 03, 2008

Imitating Apple. And, TouchSmart!

I've been impressed with Apple's design sense; they create innovative products that are intuitively easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. And I've recently noticed another sign of innovative design: pale imitators. I just got a Dell catalog in the mail, and it contains a PC-based copy of a Mac Mini (the Studio Hybrid) and an iMac (the XPS One). Sony's got similar products, and I'm sure there are more I haven't seen. The funny thing is, these are all pale imitations; none are in any way superior to the Apple products from which they borrowed their design, other than the imitators come in more colors and have built-in media readers (a feature I'm still surprised that Apple omits).

Actually, I've seen one product that's an actual improvement over the Mac that influenced its design: the HP TouchSmart. It's got a major innovation: a touch screen! Cool! It's also got comparable price points to the iMac models, with bigger screens (iMacs are 20" and 24"; the TouchSmart screen is 22", with a 25.5" model available for pre-order). Based on the demo, it hardly looks like a Microsoft interface; it looks practical and fun and easy to learn, and Microsoft OSs tends to be none of the above. I'm honestly surprised to see clever designs from HP, but this looks like a fun toy. If I were designing the Home Of The Future, I'd put something like this on the wall in every room.

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