Was the new copied from a post to The Apple Collection?
January 10, 2002 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Was the new copied from a post to The Apple Collection? Wired article shows sketch which was posted 6 months ago which is just too close for comfort.
posted by Zootoon (25 comments total)
Goddamnit, the new iMac. Sorry.
posted by Zootoon at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2002

not to not bash apple or anything...but i really doubt that a mere 6 months ago they didn't have their own designs yet.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:19 PM on January 10, 2002

I don't think there is much to this. What would you draw, knowing a computer could fit in something the size of a cube, and wanted to attach a flat screen to it?
posted by thirteen at 1:20 PM on January 10, 2002

A thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters...
posted by insomnyuk at 1:21 PM on January 10, 2002

This is highly improbable. The logistics of designing, approving, retooling and manufacturing a product are enough to eliminate the possibility that they copied his design.

Anybody that has ever worked in design, or for a corporation knows that this is impossible.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 1:22 PM on January 10, 2002

A thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters...

Are you saying apple is equivalent to Shakespear?
More like a dozen monkeys at a dozen typewriters.
posted by phatboy at 1:23 PM on January 10, 2002

I agree it sounds improbable couldn't it be that they had something by June which was like a cube with an flat screen sticking out of it and then saw this, thought, wow, that looks like the Pixar lamp, it's much cooler, can we tweak what we've got? I'm asking if that's possible in 6 months if they were at a stage they could still modify?
posted by Zootoon at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2002

There are only *so* many ways to design an iMac. Give Jonathan Ive a break.
posted by laz-e-boy at 1:29 PM on January 10, 2002

Yes, but the Pixar Luxo Jr. film pre-dates the design sketch by what... 15 years?
posted by DragonBoy at 1:31 PM on January 10, 2002

Plus, it really doesn't look very much like the iMac.

Yes, it has a flat-panel monitor, but his looks like it's housed in a pretty typical plastic shell, whereas (according to the new iMac video) Apple's design specifically called for clear shell around it, so that the picture looked like it was floating in the air, or somesuch nonesense.

Also, while his looks like the monitor is attached to the case by some sort of arm mechanism, it's still fundamentally attached to it in a static way. The whole point of Apple's pivoting arm is to let the monitor move independent of the case.

As for the placement of the logo and the ports, I'd argue that that's not really any kind of evidence. My guess is that 99 out of 100 designers would have put the logo front and center, and the connections out of site in the back. In fact, I've never owned a computer that wasn't arranged like that.

Anyway, there are some very shallow simularities, but Apple's design seems like it was derived from totally different principles than Jeunejean's.
posted by Hildago at 1:33 PM on January 10, 2002

I was just arguing with someone who was telling me the film Black Hawk Down was made because of 9/11. Same story here. Things like the new iMac don't appear in six months. The testing alone would have taken half that, the tooling for physical manufacturing would have taken as long as well. I just don't buy it.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2002

Sorry. Not close enough. A square attached to a half dome with a boom is a pretty organic concept. I'd gladly defend Apple. Especially billed hourly!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2002

While I agree it's probable that Apple couldn't create a computer from scratch in just 6 months, I would say that Apple is already known to have wantonly taken ideas from other designers (I'm thinking of Xerox PARC here) and indeed most corporations and creators do the same on a regular basis. There are many hit musicians who have stolen huge chunks of songs from unknowns - and been caught out in court. Just because we know and love Apple doesn't mean they're not capable of doing the same. This does fit in quite nicely with the stories of Steve Jobs saying he was unhappy with the iMac design and it should be re-thought in a completely new way.
posted by skylar at 1:42 PM on January 10, 2002

He posted the sketch six months ago, but according to the article in Time the engineering of the design, after it was initially presented to Jobs, was nearly two years in the making.

BZZZZT! Je suis si désolé. Merci pour jouant.
posted by chuq at 1:50 PM on January 10, 2002

Anyone who posts some design unpatented on the web pretty much deserves to have the idea stolen.
posted by bob bisquick at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2002

The sketch doesn't even show a "halo" around the monitor to make me want to pull it toward me or push it out of the way.
posted by sailormouth at 2:01 PM on January 10, 2002

I would say that Apple is already known to have wantonly taken ideas from other designers (I'm thinking of Xerox PARC here)

I am under the impression that Apple paid for the right to create their own GUI in advance of releasing the Mac. I may be wrong. I don't think it was outright theft.
posted by thirteen at 2:05 PM on January 10, 2002

I used to work as a draftsman and frequently had to take sketches and create blueprints from them. Here is what I get from his drawings:

First, his drawing clearly suggests an oval footprint in my opinion. His drawings simply do not agree with each other on many aspects but combined or separate NONE of them would lead me to produce anything with the hemispheric shape and/or circular footprint of the iMac.

Second, the arm holding the screen clearly appears to be static at the base. I would assume from the drawing that the only articulation would be where the arm connects to the screen to adjust viewing angle. Nothing in the drawing suggests otherwise. In fact, the base as depicted is narrower from front to back which would probably provide inadequate stability for a screen that tilted forward from the central axis so dual articulation does NOT seem to be suggested by this design. Add to that the fact that arm as depicted appears flat and seems to be embedded into the base and it also does not seem that the ability to swivel the screen was intended either.

And, as has been pointed out already, the placement of the logo and ports is pretty much a gimme on a symmetric machine like this. Frankly, claiming that they stole his idea is like saying the design of the G4 Cube was a ripoff of the NeXT case because it was square-ish and you connect stuff to it...
posted by RevGreg at 3:57 PM on January 10, 2002

"I'd gladly defend Apple. Especially billed hourly!"

Come on, ParisParamus. As an attorney, you'd also gladly take the other side, given the same hourly billing.

I'm with you, though. There are a relatively small number of workable designs one could come up with involving a flat-screen (as the article says: " At the time, Apple was widely expected to introduce a redesigned iMac with a flat panel screen. "). He just happened to hit on a reasonable facsimile.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:18 PM on January 10, 2002

Damn, if they weren't already destroyed, I'd show you the design I created for my product design class in Fall 2000. It was a digital clock, but the face was mounted on a movable plate, which was attached to a round base through a bendable arm.
The New iMac is incredibly close to what I designed, but like the posts above state earlier, it has to be a coincidence. Both ideas were simple concepts (flat screen, flexi-arm, round base), but only Apple's was actually carried out.
...Nice one, Apple.
posted by Down10 at 5:11 PM on January 10, 2002

christ, apple paid to use ideas from xerox and gave them a sizable claim of the company for what they observed there, which was actually very little like the end product of the original mac os. christ, this argument has been so completely beaten into the ground and it seems few people bother to gather the facts. any time someone mentions innovation from apple, some jackass immediately throws this bullshit in.

and, yes, the new imac has been in design and engineering for about 2 years. besides, it'd be damn difficult to completely engineer the guts of a machine to work in such a radical case in just six months. there's a lot more to industrial design than a few sketches.
posted by aenemated at 8:03 PM on January 10, 2002

Right, right. Apple Ingenuity...
posted by Danelope at 8:14 PM on January 10, 2002

There are only *so* many ways to design an iMac.

Sure, tell that to anyone who teaches you design and they'll show you the door. ....industrial design, architecture, etc.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:20 PM on January 10, 2002

For what is worth, the time article also points out that Steve Jobs routinely orders a complete re-design of his projects at the last minute.
posted by magullo at 3:36 AM on January 11, 2002

In one respect, the similarity of the two designs would seem to preclude the idea that someone stole from it verbatim. Unless incredibly arrogant, they would have been very careful to use its core ideas but not make it look too similar.

No idea occurs in a vacuum. People do come up with the same ideas at the same time. Jeunejean is entitled to ask the question here, but it is in all probability, and going by what we know at this point in time, merely coincidence.
posted by lucien at 7:03 AM on January 11, 2002

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