HP seems to have blatantly copied Apple's hardware design

If the Samsung lawsuit wasn't bad enough, HP announced their new All-in-One lineup today, the Spectre One range, but something seems fishy about the devices.

One could argue that the design of the new devices kind of resembles the iMac lineup, but something irked us even more. If you look at the images of the keyboard and trackpad that HP are going to offer, it's easy to mistake them for peripherals that Apple has sold for years.

Imitation is obviously commonplace in the PC world, but this seems like a whole new level of copying. Generally, Ultrabook designs loosely resemble the MacBook Air, but most of them try to at least differentiate themselves from Apple's products. According to Apple (and the US justice system), even some smartphones imitate the iPhone. It's not uncommon to see some form of adoption and improvement of basic hardware designs at all, but not one where it closely resembles the original product.

What's confusing is, surely HP has seen what Apple is selling. Right? Is this kind of imitation supposed to be flattering, or is it just outright awful? We're not impressed at all, but maybe HP will change their mind about what they're doing here before they release them and get slapped with a potential lawsuit.

Images via The Verge

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The question is, why a professional like HP produce such horrible chicklet keyboards in the first place? As another gadget from Apple one could easily understand, but HP...

I can only see that as a joke from their part.

Be very careful when go into a neighbor's dog backyard and try to take the bone. Pit bulls bite hard and "play for keeps."

Ahh ****, there goes another rectangle. Tim Cook and the elite mouth breathers of the world are sure to shut it down. STOP COPYING OUR RECTANGLE ! IT'S OUR SHAPE! WE'RE CREATIVE! LOOK AT US!

Someone bomb Apple and get this **** of my internet.

VoX said,
Ahh ****, there goes another rectangle. Tim Cook and the elite mouth breathers of the world are sure to shut it down. STOP COPYING OUR RECTANGLE ! IT'S OUR SHAPE! WE'RE CREATIVE! LOOK AT US!

Someone bomb Apple and get this **** of my internet.

For what it's worth, this is an observation being made by pundits... Apple haven't said a word.

There's a hell of a lot of jumping to conclusions here!

Chicane-UK said,

There's a hell of a lot of jumping to conclusions here!

Reminds me of the 'Jump to conclusions' mat from Office Space

javagreen said,

Reminds me of the 'Jump to conclusions' mat from Office Space

That's what I was thinking of when I posted it What a great movie.

I guess Apple invented the keyboard and has exclusive rights to it now? Keyboards are pretty standard, you can't really do much with them. Layout wise you're kinda stuck if it's QWERTY, so where you can alter the thing? Key size, and finish... So suddenly any keyboard with chick-let keys and a (faux) metal and white finish is an Apple copy? No. Nice try Apple trolls.

ahinson said,
I guess Apple invented the keyboard and has exclusive rights to it now? Keyboards are pretty standard, you can't really do much with them. Layout wise you're kinda stuck if it's QWERTY, so where you can alter the thing? Key size, and finish... So suddenly any keyboard with chick-let keys and a (faux) metal and white finish is an Apple copy? No. Nice try Apple trolls.

You're not entirely stuck with QWERTY. Enough people prefer Dvorak that companies could start offering it as an option that's an alternative to QWERTY (hell, they seem to be able to sell the ****ty Canadian French keyboards to anyone, a far superior Dvorak shouldn't be a stretch at all). Chiclet keys are also fairly easy to re-arrange.

Feel free to find some examples of aluminium style, chicklet keyed, thin form factor keyboards out there prior to Apple coming up with that as a design. I've got all afternoon.

Those who are banging on about it being an imitation purely because its a QWERTY keyboard are entirely missing the point - of course the key layout is the same. QWERTY is a standard.

Aluminium, rounded low profile keys, thin form factor keyboards with accompanying silver track pads are not. It's a shameless imitation.

Edited by Chicane-UK, Sep 10 2012, 2:46pm :

Chicane-UK said,
Feel free to find some examples of aluminium style, chicklet keyed, thin form factor keyboards out there prior to Apple coming up with that as a design. I've got all afternoon.

Those who are banging on about it being an imitation purely because its a QWERTY keyboard are entirely missing the point - of course the key layout is the same. QWERTY is a standard.

Aluminium, rounded low profile keys, thin form factor keyboards with accompanying silver track pads are not. It's a shameless imitation.

Wait. Now you're giving them ownership of the color silver. Hold on... Let me write this in my lil notebook of the ridiculous things Apple and its trolls think they (Apple) own.

ahinson said,
Wait. Now you're giving them ownership of the color silver. Hold on... Let me write this in my lil notebook of the ridiculous things Apple and its trolls think they (Apple) own.

I'M NOT AN APPLE TROLL. I AM A VERY CONTENT WINDOWS PC AND WINDOWS PHONE USER. But I also happen to have a pair of eyes and a lack of bias against Apple.

Jesus H!!

Chicane-UK said,

I'M NOT AN APPLE TROLL. I AM A VERY CONTENT WINDOWS PC AND WINDOWS PHONE USER. But I also happen to have a pair of eyes and a lack of bias against Apple.

Jesus H!!

i can actualyl see the difference, much like i can tell the difference between an ipad/iphone and a samsung tablet at first glance. seriously news must reallly be slow, i think id rather see a windows 8 hate thread

Steven Lum Yuen said,
Guys, I ask you all a question. This is my first post.

How many different ways can you make a white 8.5" x 11" paper?

You could round the corners

OMG its the color silver, so its a copy!

I bet if HP made this system all black, or maybe freaking red, green, yellow, blue, orange, or any other damn color, this debate would not be existant.

Sick of hearing about how every manufacturer copies a company that doesn't own the color silver or the rectangle.

rkenshin said,
OMG its the color silver, so its a copy!

I bet if HP made this system all black, or maybe freaking red, green, yellow, blue, orange, or any other damn color, this debate would not be existant.

Sick of hearing about how every manufacturer copies a company that doesn't own the color silver or the rectangle.

HP Touchpad bluetooth keyboard is black, and has the same layout as this HP keyboard. I can say it is the same. I got one, and I love it. Works well with Playbook, and PS3.

That´s blatant copy, they even have the same keys distribution if you notice the first six top keys says QWERTY. Please stop this non-sense witch-hunt, It is clear they are different even the silver color is different and the key color are different, HP use delete button at the top right apple doesn't know that people can delete characters to the right.

I don't even know why they copied this. Those keyboards aren't very comfortable to type on in the first place, but I guess you're sacrificing comfort for portability.

Enron said,
I don't even know why they copied this. Those keyboards aren't very comfortable to type on in the first place, but I guess you're sacrificing comfort for portability.

Why would you want to carry an AIO around? Just messing around

By simply copying Apple - or being heavily influenced by them - HP is failing to develop and differentiate its own brand, which is a mistake in such a competitive market.

theyarecomingforyou said,
By simply copying Apple - or being heavily influenced by them - HP is failing to develop and differentiate its own brand, which is a mistake in such a competitive market.

not only that, but it also means that there is less variety and less creativity in the marketplace, ultimately harming consumers. Apple's design isn't even that great, and everybody who copies it can't even do the copying very well, ending up with fugly pieces of ****. They all need to hire some real designers and do original work.

theyarecomingforyou said,
By simply copying Apple - or being heavily influenced by them - HP is failing to develop and differentiate its own brand, which is a mistake in such a competitive market.

I'll admit I'm not that interested in HP products because of that. But I also don't like Apple designs at all (except the iPhone 3G/S, that was a very practical design, if a bit small these days). The palm rest on my MacBook digs into my wrist (the exact opposite of good design, that the clamshell iBook and the PowerBook G3 series actually had). Apple has also never released a laptop with more than 2-USB ports, which is a shame considering the iMac not only had 2, but the keyboard also extended it, providing another 2.

Apple innovated in design in the late 90s. Since then they've stripped so much out that it ends up only looking clean and spartan, but ends up being pretty crappy in a number of ways.

Similar yes, but how many ways can you build a keyboard in that formfactor? From the images it seems the HP keys look quite different, the Apple ones are much more flat on top. HP has also more keys and the layout is slightly different.

Furthermore the Apple one has a circle shaped 'tube' with built in button/switch and housing battery. The HP one is more styled and shaped.

So similar? yes.. Copied? hardly

paulheu said,
Similar yes, but how many ways can you build a keyboard in that formfactor? From the images it seems the HP keys look quite different, the Apple ones are much more flat on top. HP has also more keys and the layout is slightly different.

Furthermore the Apple one has a circle shaped 'tube' with built in button/switch and housing battery. The HP one is more styled and shaped.

So similar? yes.. Copied? hardly

Help me ask them how different can one build a plane... when we know that they are built based on aerodynamics.... if hp wants to use aluminium and make the keyboard thin how can one conclude its a copy when the keys and other stuffs looks different... because the make it thin doesn't mean the copy... or can you guys say apple invent thin?

Sorry guys but this has reached a new level of ridiculousness. How can you look at that, and defend HP, when they've so shamelessly stolen Apples designs? I know that it's uncool to like Apple round here, and everyone seems to think it's hilarious every time anything unfortunate happens to them.. but seriously some of you need to stop being so blinkered. Is it that difficult for some of you to have a shred of impartiality and look at things like this without your anti-Apple bias applied?

This couldn't be any more of a shameless imitation of the Mac style of keyboard - especially when you look at the complete picture including the track pad and even the fricking computer. It's a complete joke. I can't believe that HP even had the balls to release that. If Samsung got reamed over copying iPad / iPhone features, then HP are going to get nailed to the wall over this.

Flame me all you want - I know that's what's coming. I'm not an Apple enthusiast - I run a Windows PC and a Windows Phone. The only Mac I have is a PowerMac G5 I got for free! But I like to consider myself fairly impartial!

Chicane-UK said,
Sorry guys but this has reached a new level of ridiculousness. How can you look at that, and defend HP, when they've so shamelessly stolen Apples designs? I know that it's uncool to like Apple round here, and everyone seems to think it's hilarious every time anything unfortunate happens to them.. but seriously some of you need to stop being so blinkered. Is it that difficult for some of you to have a shred of impartiality and look at things like this without your anti-Apple bias applied?

This couldn't be any more of a shameless imitation of the Mac style of keyboard - especially when you look at the complete picture including the track pad and even the fricking computer. It's a complete joke. I can't believe that HP even had the balls to release that. If Samsung got reamed over copying iPad / iPhone features, then HP are going to get nailed to the wall over this.

Flame me all you want - I know that's what's coming. I'm not an Apple enthusiast - I run a Windows PC and a Windows Phone. The only Mac I have is a PowerMac G5 I got for free! But I like to consider myself fairly impartial!

Apple's design is of no design. If you try to take any distinguishing features away, and remain with something that's still somewhat practical, you'll end up with something that looks like an Apple. You could change colour or material used (the latter is a more limited option) but that's it.

migo said,

Apple's design is of no design. If you try to take any distinguishing features away, and remain with something that's still somewhat practical, you'll end up with something that looks like an Apple. You could change colour or material used (the latter is a more limited option) but that's it.

Ever heard of Dieter Ram's design principles?

Owen Williams... how is that a copy? they don't even look the same... the material is not a copy... the colour is not a copy... what did they actually copy?

virtorio said,
You need an eye exam.

what eye exam... the design are different... the materials used are common... everyone is free to use them. apple did not invent the materials or the colour of the material... maybe you should get a life because no one pays you to be a fan boy.

benalvino said,

what eye exam... the design are different... the materials used are common... everyone is free to use them. apple did not invent the materials or the colour of the material... maybe you should get a life because no one pays you to be a fan boy.

Sorry but you're just wrong and definitely are too biased to see the designs are almost completely identical. If Apple was to take them to court over trade dress they would win no question.

I don't think Apple will bother to sue even though it's a pretty blatant ripoff. The whole thing looks almost identical to an iMac. It really is sad when companies resort to this it certainly isn't a case of having the freedom to innovate.

bobbba said,
I don't think Apple will bother to sue even though it's a pretty blatant ripoff. The whole thing looks almost identical to an iMac. It really is sad when companies resort to this it certainly isn't a case of having the freedom to innovate.

The entire PC space is sad although. I've been defending these companies for years, just like many people here on neowin, before just admitting it. They've been moving to copy Apple's design for a long time: HP, Dell, Asus, ect. It's pathetic.

Apple might sue and whatnot but in a way does this mean innovation only lies on one company? (Apple). So far Ultrabook and this has been imitations of Apple products and some are really old like MacBook Air since 2008 (I think) same for the keyboard. And not just the keyboard the overall design as well.

I am sure HP has a set of creative minds in their designing section, why can't they just set those minds to work and try to think of something new? As a consumer I would honestly just love that if I had a hard time choosing between MacBook Air Vs Ultrabook (assume) because they are good in their own ways like different designs and such. Right now its like MacBook Air Vs. MacBook Air imitation.

It's a sad day for the consumers.

That would be great! but sadly that is a fantasy world. All companies care about are profit margins and pleasing the stock holders. If there is a cheaper/easier way (like copying a design you know consumers want) they'll do it in a heart beat. Gone are the days of companies trying to outdo each other with new and more radical designs etc. It's all just a cookie cutter assembly line designed to bring in the most $$$s. That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

No, I don't think that's a copy. Sure, it's styled similarly, but the reality is that the overall shape and feel is completely different. I prefer the HP one.

Their envy line-up is a blatant rip-off of the MacBook Pro design too, only made of plastic of course. This is just another example. Pathetic really.

.Neo said,
Their envy line-up is a blatant rip-off of the MacBook Pro design too, only made of plastic of course. This is just another example. Pathetic really.

You want another blatant copy? Check out the Asus ultrabook both internal and external design. Pure copy of the MacBook air.

.Neo said,
Their envy line-up is a blatant rip-off of the MacBook Pro design too, only made of plastic of course. This is just another example. Pathetic really.

I agree. Why haven't they've been sued yet? I think that's more of a ripoff than Samsung is in mobile.

.Neo said,
Their envy line-up is a blatant rip-off of the MacBook Pro design too, only made of plastic of course. This is just another example. Pathetic really.

hahaha all tech companies steal design, Apple is in absolutely excluded from the list of companies who do it! When i saw it, I legitimately laughed

AWilliams87 said,

You want another blatant copy? Check out the Asus ultrabook both internal and external design. Pure copy of the MacBook air.

YOu do know that Asus was one of the first or perhaps the first with chicklet keyboards? If it wasn't Asus it was Sony. Oh and by the way Asus Makes or used to make Apple's laptops.

.Neo said,
Their envy line-up is a blatant rip-off of the MacBook Pro design too, only made of plastic of course. This is just another example. Pathetic really.

Envy's aren't made of plastic, the Envy Sleekbook is. The high-end Envy's have an aluminum body.

Honestly, Apple doesn't freaking own the color silver. The mindset with the consumer, however, is that any manufacturer that makes a silver laptop or computer automatically thinks it looks like an Apple product (cough, and rectangle phone).

rkenshin said,
Honestly, Apple doesn't freaking own the color silver. The mindset with the consumer, however, is that any manufacturer that makes a silver laptop or computer automatically thinks it looks like an Apple product (cough, and rectangle phone).

Quit your nonsense. After Apple introduced their new MacBook Pro line HP suddenly came with their version of an aluminum/grey-colored notebook, with the same black rim surrounding the screen and black keys. It's a clear attempt at copying Apple's design, don't pretend otherwise.

.Neo said,

Quit your nonsense. After Apple introduced their new MacBook Pro line HP suddenly came with their version of an aluminum/grey-colored notebook, with the same black rim surrounding the screen and black keys. It's a clear attempt at copying Apple's design, don't pretend otherwise.

but..but..it's cool to hate every single thing Apple does. /s

.Neo said,

Quit your nonsense. After Apple introduced their new MacBook Pro line HP suddenly came with their version of an aluminum/grey-colored notebook, with the same black rim surrounding the screen and black keys. It's a clear attempt at copying Apple's design, don't pretend otherwise.

Wow, so your saying that nobody can use a black bezel and black keys? When the hell did Apple own this? Or the color silver?Apple has had this design in the MBP since what, 2007? The HP Envy previously for 2010 was a Gold-ish/silver metal with an inlay pattern that looked nothing like the MBP. Oh, but it did have a black bezel around the screen. So that means its a copy? The Envy was redesigned in 2011/2012. So your saying it took 5 years for HP to copy this design?

Your implying that NOBODY, including HP can't use the color black and silver because "OMG APPLE HAS IT" therefore "OMG ITS A COPY".

Do your research on the product. Maybe own one, or two, first, because I own all 3 of the products (2010 HP Envy, 2010 MBP, 2012 Envy), and none of them look like each other. Oh wait, that's right. Its silver. It looks the same because its silver, therefore its a rip off. Nevermind that my HP has a black lid. Or the old Envy is patterned and a completely different color.

You cut your nonsense sir!

Edited by rkenshin, Sep 11 2012, 5:03pm :

.Neo, understand that I'm trying not to sound like a jerk. But the minute anybody releases a product, its automatically on every news forum a "copy of Apple". The consumer's belief is that Apple owns the color silver, or the box design. It doesn't.

Now, if you want to talk about this AIO PC, then yes, I agree, there are too many similarities to the iMac, including the identical trackpad.

But honestly, who freaking cares. Apple knows how to sell a product. Steve Jobs was a genius at marketing/selling product. He knew what the consumer wanted. Now, other people are following his legacy. Its as simple as that.

If you look at the keyboard, youll see some keyes are larger then the Apple Wireless Keyboard, arrow keys, slash and pipe key, extra buttons on space bar row.

Just cause its a Aluminum keyboard with Chicklet keys doesnt really make it a copy

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,
If you look at the keyboard, youll see some keyes are larger then the Apple Wireless Keyboard, arrow keys, slash and pipe key, extra buttons on space bar row.

Just cause its a Aluminum keyboard with Chicklet keys doesnt really make it a copy

Actually you would be surprised as to how much details Apple's design patents cover!

looking at the bigger picture i'd say it's not a direct copy... it only looks similar on the news pic above on here because of the angle you can't see the rest of the keyboard, but after seeing this it's clear it's not a copy.

however it's obvious they have borrowed apples idea (sleek all-in-one, wireless chiklet keyboard and trackpad)

[edit] just looked at the actual verge article and images on there, i'd say they have borrowed quite a lot of design aspects of it, but then maybe it's hard not to? it's a pretty standard design.

There's no way they'll get away with that one without a lawsuit... UNLESS Apple have already made an agreement with HP? (Unlikely)

Raa said,
There's no way they'll get away with that one without a lawsuit... UNLESS Apple have already made an agreement with HP? (Unlikely)


It won't bother Apple as HP are not competing with them like Samsung

I agree, in terms of copying but not based on what's pictured above. It's a thin chiclet keyboard, how many ways can you differentiate that. The PC/Monitor is only similar by color scheme.

On other hand, their Spectre notebook line and another (can't remember if it's DV6) does look like MBP and notebooks from other brands as well.

It's a tough call, there is only so many ways you can make a thin, curved, aluminum keyboard.. but then it does look almost exactly the same.

Uplift said,
It's a tough call, there is only so many ways you can make a thin, curved, aluminum keyboard.. but then it does look almost exactly the same.

Very easy to say that in retrospect once the reference design has established by a front runner. The "there is only so many ways" could be thousands of different ways, yet this just so happened to mimic Apple's design nearly perfectly.

Pupik said,
It's a freaking qwerty keyboard. How different can it already be?

Like thousands of different ways? There is no limit to creativity, if you have intention, skill and resources....!

Mohitster said,

Like thousands of different ways? There is no limit to creativity, if you have intention, skill and resources....!

Yes, how about a hexagonal keyboard?

Mohitster said,

Like thousands of different ways? There is no limit to creativity, if you have intention, skill and resources....!

Not to mention, there are ergonomic designs that are far superior to the standard rectangle. It'd be nice to see a company take the lead in releasing an ergonomic keyboard as standard with each system they sell.

EvilAstroboy said,
Sueing in 3....2....1...

Naaah! It's not blatant copying!! In the bottom right for instance, the right and left navigation arrow keys are larger on the HP keyboard, and smaller on the Apple one. I think HP have really innovated here! /s

joep1984 said,

Do you not see the rolled top edge? The aluminum surface? The fact that it looks exactly like Apple's keyboard?


Yeah, because you can buy an >HP< keyboard in an >Apple Store<, and even if you could, you would not notice the >Windows< key... Seriously? Are consumers that dumb?

dimz said,

Yeah, because you can buy an >HP< keyboard in an >Apple Store<, and even if you could, you would not notice the >Windows< key... Seriously? Are consumers that dumb?


No But judges are

dimz said,

Yeah, because you can buy an >HP< keyboard in an >Apple Store<, and even if you could, you would not notice the >Windows< key... Seriously? Are consumers that dumb?

They'll have tons of trouble in Germany at least, which is due to this law:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschmacksmuster

Many people didn't know jacksh** about German laws and mocked German courts for why they chose to rule in Apple's favor in the Samsung vs. Apple cases, obviously forgetting about the Geschmacksmuster laws here in this country. Or well: more likely not knowing about them.

Glassed Silver:mac

EvilAstroboy said,
Sueing in 3....2....1...

There's only so many ways to shape a keyboard. Look how similar a lot of SUVs look, and there's no lawsuits, and no fuss, from that industry.

Edited by bkellner, Sep 10 2012, 1:42pm :

Suave Sagittarian said,

Naaah! It's not blatant copying!! In the bottom right for instance, the right and left navigation arrow keys are larger on the HP keyboard, and smaller on the Apple one. I think HP have really innovated here! /s

No, they copied Microsoft Arc... It's the first keyboard with this kind of arrows.
So, Apple + Microsoft = HP.

dimz said,

Yeah, because you can buy an >HP< keyboard in an >Apple Store<, and even if you could, you would not notice the >Windows< key... Seriously? Are consumers that dumb?

Apple customers are. That's why Apple is so worried.

bkellner said,

There's only so many ways to shape a keyboard. Look how similar a lot of SUVs look, and there's no lawsuits, and no fuss, from that industry.

Actually all the non generic keyboards i owned did look unique.

EvilAstroboy said,
Sueing in 3....2....1...

Thermonuclear in 3....2....1

bkellner said,

There's only so many ways to shape a keyboard. Look how similar a lot of SUVs look, and there's no lawsuits, and no fuss, from that industry.

I have plenty of keyboards, even compact ones, and never once thought they looked like an Apple keyboard. Maybe it took some design influences from Apple hardware, but that Keyboard and Track Pad here are not similar they are freaking identical.