Monday, June 27, 2005

Another Day ... Another Lawsuit Apple Will Have To File (Yet another competitor trying to take advantage of the iPod)



Usually, the iPod knockoffs come one a week. This week saw three.

It appears that a retailer named Unity Electronics has released an iPod Shuffle clone to the masses.

They make no bones about it being a Shuffle knockoff either. Not only does their ad campaign mimic the iPod Silhouette Ads but the website purchase page contains this description:

USB MP3 Player with Li-Polymer Rechargeable Battery, Headphones, Up to 1GB SD or MMC, Retail - Similar to iPod Shuffle


It is significantly different than the Shuffle, in that, it accepts removable secure digital cards.

That said, I think it's just this player from Aiptek being sourced directly by this retailer. So, Unity Electronics should be the one to get the lawsuit.

PearPC should be mad as well, Unity ripped off their logo! (The PearPC logo is sometimes depicted with a bite out of it)

[UPDATE] A reader in the engadget forum pointed out that even the silhouette ad (seen above) to promote this knockoff is copied from Playboy magazine.

[UPDATE] Yet another Shuffle clone - this time from LG. The interesting thing about this one is that LG is an Apple design partner - they supply iMacs, eMacs, and I believe Apple laptops with various parts.



Conspircay theory:

It has crossed my mind that competitors are funding these knockoffs to cut into Apple products. How easy would it be for Sim Wong Who of Creative, maker of the Zen Mp3 line, to just help a small retailer like this acquire the product and throw up a webpage? It's sure to cost Apple more in manpower, billable hours, and lost sales.

The iPod seems to have the most knockoffs of anything ever released. It's hard for me to believe it's all just because of its popularity.

*** Thank you to a few readers on Engadget.com for the bulk of this entry

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