Obviously, one can almost guarantee that Apple's roaming legal death squad is working on something called "trademark and intellectual property infringement." Stay tuned as we follow the last trial of the century.
Staff Observation: Several staffers commented that the E-Power looks like a demented Teletubby accessory.
Even at PC Expo, Apple systems have a presence. A few vendors, such as Imation and Adaptec, have iMacs and Power Mac G3s on display. One company however caused the IGM staff to do a double take. A company called Future Power this week showed an all-in-one Windows PC that looks a whole lot like an iMac.
The company's E-Power computer, is not only shaped exactly like Apple's famous iMac, but comes in multiple colors. Like the iMac, the computer is translucent right down to the mouse. Also just like the iMac, the machines come in a variety of five colors. Rather than "fruit" flavors however, the machines ship in "gem" colors. Instead of blueberry, strawberry, lime, orange and grape, the E-Power machines ship in amethyst, ruby, topaz, emerald and sapphire.
But the E-Power is significantly smaller and cheaper than Apple's current iMac systems. The 400 MHz Celeron-based PC comes with a floppy drive, a two-button mouse, 64 MB of RAM, 6.4 GB hard drive, CD-ROM an a 56K modem. The E-Power is to sell for $799.
New York -- Apple remains mum on whether it will take action against a Korean start-up that copied the iMac design for a Windows PC.
An Apple spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the appearance at this week's PC Expo of an egg-shaped computer that comes in amethyst, ruby, topaz, emerald and sapphire colors. But the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker has never shown reluctance to go to the courts to get what it wants. Its landmark case against Microsoft Corp. in the late 1980s charged the maker of Windows with stealing the "look and feel" of the Mac operating system. It lost the case on contractual grounds.
Ironically, the Mac look and feel issue in this case isn't about software; it's about hardware.
Created by Future Power, the E-Power PC bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple's best-selling iMac, right down to the colored shell casing. It won't hit U.S. stores until September. But that hasn't stopped the one promotional sapphire-colored (rather than blueberry) E-Power on hand here at PC Expo from drawing all kinds of attention -- especially the legal kind from Apple.
"There has been some discussion up to this point with Apple," said Future Power spokesperson Kim Uberti. "We are trying to get a statement together [about the nature of the discussions]." Future Power will release a statement about Apple on Friday, she said.
It remains to be seen whether Apple will take legal action over a computer that doesn't think so different, but Uberti insisted that the E-Power and iMac are not in direct competition.
"Apple, we don't deny, led the way with the iMac . . . but that is for the Mac market," she said. "Future Power is for the Windows enthusiast. We don't feel that Future Power is competing directly with Apple."
Backed by Daewoo
Future Power of Santa Clara, Calif., is a joint venture company with Daewoo Telecom, the South Korean-based manufacturer that once sold the Leading Edge brand of PCs. Daewoo is providing Future Power with financial backing and PC components. Future Power's CEO John Kim is currently in South Korea and unavailable for comment.
Uberti said the E-Power -- which has a 466-MHz Celeron chip under the hood, a built-in 56-Kbps modem, 64 Mbytes of RAM and a 40X CD-ROM drive and will retail for $799 -- generated two types of reactions from PC Expo attendees: The Windows user reaction, then the Mac-user reaction.
Windows fans were "real excited and wowed by it," she said. Mac fans weren't.
"We definitely got a little bit of friction from the Mac enthusiasts," she said. "We had Mac enthusiasts who came up to us and said, 'What are you doing!?' "
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Get iMac Style on a PC
Love the look and usability of the iMac but prefer PCs? Fret not. A new vendor, Future Power, has just unveiled a remarkably similar-looking machine, dubbed the E-Power. This all-in-one desktop, due to ship in August, will feature a selection of jewel-colored cases (amethyst, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and topaz), a Celeron-400 processor, 64MB of RAM, a 6.4GB hard drive, 3D graphics, a CD-ROM, and a 56-kbps modem. And unlike Apple's machine, the E-Power features a floppy drive. At $799 it sounds almost too good to be true for PC fans.
A small PC vendor from Santa Clara, California is doing what larger corporations dare not to -- blatantly stealing patented designs from Apple Computer, Inc.
On Tuesday June 22nd, Future Power announced their "E-Power" personal computer, which can be mistaken for Apple's iMac any day. According to Future Power employees who were working the booth at this week's PC Expo in New York City, the unit will ship with a 466MHz Celeron processor, a 40X Sony CD-ROM, a 3Com 56Kbps V. 90 modem and 64 MB of SDRAM.
Additionally the PC will feature dual USB ports, a 6.4GB Ultra DMA drive, a single PCI slot, a NEC floppy drive, a Diamond Multimedia 8MB 3D AGP card and a built in 15" display. Below you'll find some of the first ever images of the only prototype unit in existence which, according to Future Power employees, was built by hand.
And while the hardware specs may be slightly impressive for the $799 that Future Power plans to market the unit at, the likes of its external casing is far from original. The E-Power prototype reeks of Apple industrial design from the curvy ventilation system to the circular design on the power button, and from the translucent cables to the arch shaped USB keyboard. About the only thing it lacks is the iMac's handle.
Future Power representatives acknowledged their ill-practice of ripping off Apple's design work, as they responded to Apple loyalist surrounding the booth shouting phrases such as "Apple is going to sue you guys!" Representatives responded to questions about how they plan to avoid losing a lawsuit by making such statements as "You know why they can't sue us? Because there is a big difference -- our machine has a floppy. How can you make a computer without a floppy!"
Future Power employees also claimed that the E-Power mouse is not round like the iMacs, attempting to provide yet another difference in their product design. It was obvious that the folks at Future Power were intimidated by the onslaught of accusations being thrown their way by show-goers, and at times seemed overly defensive and angered.
Additionally, representatives from Future Power onhand at the PCExpo seemed to contradict themselves when asked when they plan to begin shipping units of the E-Power personal computer to customers. One representative said they would be delivering units in October or November, while another said that they hope to have units on the street by next January. Meanwhile, product information distributed at the expo says units should be available as early as this summer via more than 500 value added resellers.
Not surprisingly, the E-Power will be available in "five fun flavors" according to a Future Power press release -- ruby topaz, sapphire, emerald, and amethyst. The unit will also ship with a clear USB mouse. Obviously, we are not intrigued.
"This is just disgusting", one conference attendee said to a friend checking out the E-Power prototype. "I can't believe you are actually touching that thing." Others just strolled by the Future Power booth, only slowing down to grin and comment "Nice attempt."
Apple Sues Future Power and Daewoo for Illegally Copying iMac Design
CUPERTINO, CaliforniaJuly 1, 1999Apple today filed a complaint against Future Power and Daewoo for illegally copying the industrial design of Apples award-winning iMac computer. The complaint was filed in U.S. Federal Court in San Jose, California, and seeks to enjoin Future Power and Daewoo from distributing computers that illegally copy Apples designs, and asks for actual and punitive damages resulting from such illegal conduct.
There is a universe of original designs that Future Power and Daewoo could have created for their computers, but instead they chose to copy Apples designs, said Steve Jobs, Apples interim CEO. Weve invested a lot of money and effort to create and market our award-winning designs, and we intend to vigorously protect them under the law.
Apple Computer, Inc. ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II, and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is now recommitted to its original missionto bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and consumers in over 140 countries around the world.
Apple Computer, Inc.
Apple Computer, Inc.
Apple, the Apple logo and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. iMac is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. Additional company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the individual companies.