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PreCentral: A knock-off too far? HP's new Spectre One is almost slavish in copying of iMac

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A knock-off too far? HP's new Spectre One is almost slavish in copying of iMac

HP's been the number one manufacturer of personal computers since they acquired Compaq in 2002. Despite their numbers-based dominance, HP's recognized the threat to their business posed by Apple and the iPad. Having recognized that threat, HP's been working to update their business to respond to Apple - that threat posed by Apple's iPad and other mobile computing devices was exactly why HP spent $1.2 billion to purchase Palm and webOS in 2010 (even if that didn't go quite as planned).

While Samsung's been duking it out int court with Apple over the former's copying of the latter's designs, specifically with respect to the iPhone and iOS, HP's been busy aping the design of Apple's laptops. Just look at HP's Envy laptops, with their machined aluminum bodies and glass-covered display panels. At a glance it can be difficult to differentiate between one of HP's Envy laptops and Apple's MacBook Pro line. One can argue that computers were 'headed in that direction' all they want, but it doesn't change the face that before Apple began achieving success in personal computing (success, in that Mac unit sales have continued to grow while the overall personal computer market experiences a decline - in part thanks to the iPad), this sort of design duplication didn't happen on this wide of a scale.

This morning HP announced the new Spectre One, a new 24-inch all-in-one Windows 8 computer. The Spectre One makes the Envy line's copying of Apple design features seem like a warm-up exercise; the Spectre One is almost a spitting image of Apple's iMac desktop computers, even down to the included wireless keyboard and trackpad. The Spectre One does have a handful of differences from the iMac, such as ports located in the aluminum base, a removable panel on the back, and NFC compatibility, so long as you're using HP's apps on your Android phone. Plus, you know, Windows 8.

HP's been eyeing Apple's products for some time, with the design of the TouchPad being heavily-influenced by the original iPad. HP's webOS tablet mimicked the dimensions, weight, battery life, screen size and resolution, and even the button layout of the iPad. Seemingly unable to predict the direction that Apple would take with future iPads (it always seemed like it'd be rather obvious to us: faster, thinner, longer-lasting, etc), HP chose to use the first generation iPad as the benchmark for the TouchPad. We've only heard bits and pieces about where HP planned to go with the TouchPad line, but word has it the TouchPad 2, well into development when HP pulled the plug on webOS, took further inspiration from Apple, including a higher resolution screen and a thinner and lighter metal body.

HP may be drawing too much design inspiration from the likes of Apple, but are they going to face the same sort of legal action from Apple as Samsung has? It's hard to say, but as we said at the start, HP views Apple as a threat to their business - Apple doesn't seem to be all that fazed by HP.

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