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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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Who cares
By tayb on 5/9/2012 3:39:21 PM , Rating: 1
It looks enough like the Macbook Air to lend credence to the claim but even if it was a complete and total 100% copy it wouldn't really matter. The Macbook Air has been out on the market for over four freaking years and is due for a redesign this year. Beyond that, there are only so many ways to design a build an ultra-thin laptop. The large touchpad with built-in buttons and gestures was a great idea. It's about time it started catching on... four years later.




RE: Who cares
By Targon on 5/9/2012 8:04:54 PM , Rating: 4
MacOS X has been out since 2001, and is overdue for a bit of an update, isn't it? Windows XP was around for too long, and you STILL see people who are afraid to upgrade as a result. When people get too used to something, change scares them, and that means that innovation goes down.

Now, I am not saying that change just for the sake of change is a good thing, but when things don't change for too long, stagnation starts to set in. Apple itself is starting to show signs of this, where UI changes are so few and far between, Microsoft COULD potentially beat it in the future(I'm not a fan of Metro, so I don't expect Windows 8 to do the job). Those who don't evolve will eventually die out, and Apple is showing signs that it will NEVER do an update until they start getting beaten at their own game.


RE: Who cares
By tayb on 5/10/2012 5:17:29 AM , Rating: 1
OS X has been updated with 8 major releases since 2001 so I'm not sure what you're getting at with that statement. New versions are released far more often than Microsoft releases new versions of Windows. iOS is just a few years old but is heading toward a 5th major update, or 6th version, this fall. They don't update all their hardware designs as often but most companies don't do change laptop lineups on an annual basis anyway. Overal I don't quite understand the stagnation claims as Apple is fairly nimble.


RE: Who cares
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2012 3:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
What's in those "major" updates exactly? Bullshit, that's what. iOS hasn't majorly changed in years.

Apple I have a suggestion. Add a damn page file to iOS so that your idea of "managing" memory isn't to just crash whatever programs are open when the memory runs out. THAT would be a major update. How about some real multitasking while you're at it? I know you're very busy suing the world though...


RE: Who cares
By tayb on 5/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Who cares
By Reclaimer77 on 5/10/2012 3:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Wow they added something that should have been standard since day one. Amazing! Thank you Apple.

Anyway I said "years", not "since day one".


RE: Who cares
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/9/2012 9:20:58 PM , Rating: 3
And only so many way to make a tablet and phone, yet that doesn't stop Apple from suing everyone else over it.


RE: Who cares
By FITCamaro on 5/10/2012 7:38:37 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly. How can you claim to "own" the shape of a thin laptop? What so only Apple should be able to make thin laptops with touchpads and whatnot?

But then these days Apple's patent on the shape of the iPad is upheld in retarded German courts. Nevermind devices had that shape LONG before the iPad ever existed.

Nothing but Apple continuing to be a troll.


RE: Who cares
By Natch on 5/10/2012 7:50:13 AM , Rating: 2
How DARE they make a rectangular object, with a screen, keyboard and trackpad? And thin, too! USB ports? Blatant copying!! Why, I bet it even has a (*GASP!*) POWER SWITCH on it! How devious they are, with their copying!!


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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laptop_brands...

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.)


Too bad!
By kmmatney on 5/9/2012 8:21:10 PM , Rating: 3
It is too bad they didn't copy Apple's 16:10 screen.




Before Apple...
By bupkus on 5/10/2012 12:13:35 AM , Rating: 3
does anyone recall laptop manufacturers suing each other over one looking somewhat like another?
I sure don't.

What bs!

It's all about using that war chest money to intimidate competitors through threat and making examples of some.
They don't need to win a lawsuit, just cost competitors more in legal fees than they can afford. Other, smaller companies will see this and be afraid of a legal conflict. They may change their designs when they shouldn't. As long as the Apple logo is not on the item everyone will know it's not made by Apple. Lawsuits over similarities? What next, declarations by Apple that they invented the laptop?

Because I believe Apple is really FOS, I would NEVER buy one of their items even IF I wanted one. I'm not bitter because I really don't GAS. I'm quite happy with the desktops I build and the laptops I buy used for cheap. Can I afford an Apple product? I suppose I can but if I felt like throwing money away on something I don't really need I would buy myself a hot tub or a sauna or an 80" TV, or a surgical procedure for my Apple owning friend to remove Steve Job's ---- from his ass. ;)




By fteoath64 on 6/6/2012 3:20:39 AM , Rating: 2
"It is not because those guys did it first. It's just that's where the form factor is leading it."

Good answer!. It is light designing a sleek aerodynamic car. Nose, windscreen, sides are very similar. Not identical but similar looking. There might be a "perfect shape" for a wedge device but designer or engineers might tweak it to suit their component placement. So using the same methodology of design might just lead to very similar looking final product. Again, does NOT imply copying!.

It can be proven using a robotic program which autonomously designs according to specs leaving little if any room for errors. And not copying possible there!.




Copying from the encyclopedia
By aliasfox on 5/9/2012 5:09:08 PM , Rating: 1
I actually think the other Envys look much more like MacBook Pros than the Spectre looks like an Air. They might not be 100%knockoffs, but the word 'homage' definitely comes to mind. As for the Ultrabook category, I think the Asus entry looks much more like an MBA than the HP.

Sony, Samsung, heck, even Dell all make small/thin laptops/ultrabooks that don't ape the MBA, so it can be done... the rest of the class seems to be doing what we all did with our middle school research papers: read the encyclopedia (or wiki) entry, and figure out how much they have to change so as not to get caught for plagiarism. Asus did the minimum, but it looks like HP did enough to skirt the issue with the Spectre... at least in my book.




Trademark Laptop Casing
By LTGJAMAICA on 5/9/12, Rating: 0
Hate all you want...
By aurareturn on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Hate all you want...
By euler007 on 5/9/2012 3:57:24 PM , Rating: 5
And, as we all know, Apple invented aluminum.


RE: Hate all you want...
By dark matter on 5/9/2012 4:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
And there was I expecting a portable computer to look like a bike.


It's not the Air, but the Pro that HP copied
By michael2k on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
By sprockkets on 5/9/2012 3:54:57 PM , Rating: 2
no


By dark matter on 5/9/2012 4:18:18 PM , Rating: 5
Absolutely.

To get around this, they should have the keyboard where the screen is, no speakers and made of chocolate.


RE: It's not the Air, but the Pro that HP copied
By kattanna on 5/9/2012 4:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
no.. because this one has ethernet and more then 1 USB port making it actually useful


RE: It's not the Air, but the Pro that HP copied
By macdevdude on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
By nolisi on 5/9/2012 5:39:48 PM , Rating: 4
Nice try, Troll,

If you want to pull your head out of whatever hole you stuck it in, you'll realize that HP went a vastly different route than the existing Macbook

First- HP decided to go with *CURRENT* technology and go USB 3.0 vs USB 2.0 in the Air.

Second- there's an actual HDMI port.

Thrid- *gasp* an actual Ethernet port.

And there's no way this laptop is pure clone. HP decided to go with a real OS instead of designing one for people who aren't capable of dealing with more than a Fisher Price tool kit.


By Cheesew1z69 on 5/9/2012 9:28:00 PM , Rating: 1
Man, you really are a moron. Looks like 1 3.0 and 1 2.0, so as usual, you fail life and logic.


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