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Company says it's unafraid of a lawsuit

It's hard to deny the similarities between the metal unibody Envy Spectre XT ultrathin from Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) and the Apple, Inc. (AAPL) MacBook Air.

The Spectre XT is the flagship model of HP's just-announced Envy ultrathin collection, whose roots trace back to acquired VoodooPC's Envy laptops, which first launched June 2008.  The VoodooPC envy was one of the first non-Apple ultrathins to hit the market, coming just months after Apple's Jan. 2008 MacBook Air launch.

The Voodoo Envy didn't look much like the MacBook Air, but it's hard to deny that HP's line has trended towards Apple's with each release since.  With the latest release the similarities were enough for HP's VP of industrial design Stacy Wolff to go on the defensive.  He told Engadget, "[The Spectre XT's looks are] not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed.  It is not because those guys did it first.  It's just that's where the form factor is leading it."

He points to his design's rubber imbued bottom, slightly different keyboard, and brushed metal (as opposed to the MacBook Air's shiny metal) body as key differentiators.  He calls the ultrabook "Genuine HP".

Stacy Wolff
Stacy Wolff, HP [Image Source: Engadget]

The defensive commentary is a bit odd, but with Apple suing numerous companies [1][2] over alleged design violations, perhaps it's a legal-minded measure.  Mr. Wolff indicated the design received his lawyers' stamp of approval.

Source: Engadget

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They're most likely designed by the same company
By Solandri on 5/10/2012 6:25:56 AM , Rating: 3
Dirty little secret of the laptop industry: Dell, HP, and yes even Apple don't actually design and make their own laptops. They hire a company called an Original Design Manufacturer to do it, slap their label on it, and sell it to you.

The Macbooks are designed and built by Quanta. Doubtless Apple provided some guidance on what they wanted (e.g. type of LCD panel, non-standard screws, etc), but all the evidence I've read points to Quanta being the real genius and innovator. The unibody aluminum body was their doing, not Apple's. They're the ones who came up with it on their own and suggested using it to Apple, not the other way around.

As it turns out, Quanta also designs and builds most of HP's laptops. So in all likelihood, that's why they look similar. No sinister copying going on. It's probably the exact same Quanta employees who designed the Macbooks who designed the HP Envy and Spectres.

(This is also the problem with trying to determine reliability by brand. One model Dell could be built by Quanta just like the Macbooks, while another model could be built by Wistron (formerly Acer). All the name brand really tells you is how good the warranty support will be.)

By GatoRat on 5/10/2012 3:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for that information. I just went laptop shopping for my ex-wife and our youngest son and this answers some questions. (Not as much similarities between competitors, but differences in various lines from the same branding company.)

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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