Sony rips off MacBook design

Sony rips off MacBook design

Summary: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Sony may have taken this one a little too far. The consumer electronic giant's latest notebook looks like a blatant ripoff of Apple's wildly popular MacBook.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Sony-VAIO-N10-Series-solo.jpgImitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Sony may have taken this one a little too far. The consumer electronic giant's latest notebook looks like a blatant ripoff of Apple's wildly popular MacBook.

The VAIO N10-Series is for everyone who wants a practical, general purpose notebook for use at home or as a student. It represents excellent usability without frills, but – and this is key – it remains very much a VAIO at heart. One look at the clean, classic design makes that clear.

MacDailyNews posted a story about Sony's new shockingly derivative notebooks:

We did a genuine "Grade A" double-take when we first saw the press release images. Right down to the chiclet keyboard, no less! When companies do this, it really draws attention to their lack of original ideas and their inability to innovate. See Microsoft's Windows Vista, for example: It's Windows XP dressed up to fool the general public that it's "just like Apple's Mac OS X." Now poor Sony with this OS-limited, can't-run-Mac OS X-but-obviously-wishes-it-could, knock-off spawn of a MacBook Pro and a MacBook. 

I know that Sony designed the original PowerBook 100 for Apple, but that's no excuse for this type of flagrant plagiarism. We've come to expect iPod clones from no-name hacks, but to see this from Sony is just sad. Jonathan Ive and the Apple design team must be having fits over it. Steve Jobs to legal team "Release the hounds!"

Sony's press release and images can be found on their European site.

Do you think that Apple will/should sue? 

Topic: Apple

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57 comments
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  • how much is it?

    Looks nice.
    GregPP1
  • Not much can be done

    Yeah, Apple might not like this move by Sony, but I don't see much they can do about it. There is an enormous amount of prior art to reference.

    http://opendomain.blogspot.com/
    opensourcepro
  • Not everyone wants a mac

    Wow. Finally I can get a notebook that is clean and simple with out having to pay a "Mac" price for one. Oh and by they way, Sony makes a 4.5", 11.1", 13.3", 15.4" and 17" notebook. I don't see these types of options when I step inside an Apple store. Why not? Who is leading who here? Yeah that's what I thought. Quit wining and admit to yourselves that Apple has a very limited scope when it comes to mobile products...Okay, I said it. Deal with it. I bought a Sony TX notebook and it blows everything away.
    The IT Man
    • Sony's prices

      ---Finally I can get a notebook that is clean and simple with out having to pay a "Mac" price for one.---

      Sony isn't exactly known for their bargain basement prices. No pricing has been released yet for these, but according to this site:
      http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Details.aspx?NewsId=18124
      "The Vaio N10 will be available next month for between $1,300 and $1,500"

      Take a look at the comparable MacBook prices, ranging from $1099 to $1499. So for either less money, or the same amount of money, why settle for a Sony that does less than the Mac? The Mac will run Windows just as well as the Sony and offers you the choice of OSX as well. Sounds like a serious bargain to me.
      tic swayback
      • Buying a Sony . . .

        is on my list of "Things to do" right behind "gouging my eyes out with a plastic spoon". After the Rootkit debacle, I have no interest in purchasing anything with the name "Sony" on it. I tolerate my PS2 because it was purchased prior to the whole rootkit event, and my daughter likes playing games on it.

        There are better computers at a cheaper price that look just as good. And if I wanted to spend that much money, I WOULD buy an Apple.

        My daughter's 'not boyfriend' just got a Macbook for his birthday from his parents, and he brought it over for me to look at (no one in his family is a techie). I will admit to being impressed with the work and design elements they put into it, right down to the light-up Apple logo on the back.

        As much as the Sony looks like the Macbook, I get the feeling that they weren't able to copy even half the stuff that makes a Mac a Mac.
        jlhenry62
        • Sony's Rootkit debacle

          jlhenry62 -

          Thanks for reminding me about Sony's Rootkit debacle. Too many people are Sony apologists (same goes for Apple...) and would buy a pile of crap if it had a Sony logo on it.

          I bailed on Sony after they wanted $300 for a 512MB memory stick and a 1GB SD card was $60. I just can't justify the "Sony tax."

          I have to admit that I never thought I'd see Apple as the low-price leader over a PC!

          - Jason
          Jason D. O'Grady
          • Apple has . . .

            good products, I don't think anyone will deny that (weelll maybe No_Ax and Co.,), it's just you pay a premium for it. It's up to you to decide if you want to or not.

            Yeah they're doing the same thing with the PSP accessories. You can spend $40 or so and get the "official" PSP 256 meg Memstick pro duo, or you can walk over three or four aisles at best buy and get a 512 meg Sandisk Memstick pro duo, for about the same price . . .
            jlhenry62
          • Is this really still true?

            ---it's just you pay a premium for it.---

            Apple's prices are extremely competitive compared to similar models from other suppliers. Yes, it's cheaper to build your own where possible, but the days of Apple being off in their own stratosphere are long gone. A better statement would be that you can get stripped down machines much cheaper if you don't want all the functionality Apple offers, but to get the same thing, the prices are as good or better from Apple.
            tic swayback
          • Sony Debacles...

            [b]I bailed on Sony after they wanted $300 for a 512MB memory stick and a 1GB SD card was $60. I just can't justify the "Sony tax."[/b]

            Yep... Sony's out of their mind when it comes to pricing...

            But let's NOT forget the other reason to think twice about any Sony laptop - can anyone say 'FIRE HAZARD'... I thought so..
            Wolfie2K3
          • Sony Debacles... redux...

            [b]I bailed on Sony after they wanted $300 for a 512MB memory stick and a 1GB SD card was $60. I just can't justify the "Sony tax."[/b]

            Let me add that I don't know where you're buying flash memory... but you might wanna shop around a bit more. Maybe that $300 is a typo, because I'm able to find 512 MB Sony Memory Sticks for $18 to $30 all day long. (Depends on if you want the Sony Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Pro Duo or Memory Stick Duo.)

            I can also find 1 GB SD chips for $18 as well.

            But for what it's worth - yes, Sony does generally charge a premium. In this case it's not quite as bad as you made it out to be. The "premium" is only double the price for half the capacity.
            Wolfie2K3
          • More on the "Sony Tax"

            Wolfie2K3 -

            I should have been more clear. The prices I quoted in that comment were from 2-3 years ago (when the Sony T1 camera came out). They are indeed accurate, because I sold the Sony T1, bought a Canon Digital Elph and have purchased anything else from Sony since.

            They do have this really sweet lil notebook out however... :)

            - Jason
            Jason D. O'Grady
          • That will never be able to run Mac OS X . <NT>

            <NT>
            Intellihence
    • RE: Not everyone wants a mac

      True. And those, such as myself who occassionally need to use a
      'PC' would probably like a smartly designed laptop, instead of
      those eyesores that most put out. The surprise I had last year
      when looking at Sony products was, they often equal or exceed
      Apple's offerings in price, regardless of options. Sony seems to
      fancy themselves as the 'Apple of the PC world' when it comes to
      industrial design, and thus charge accordingly. That is one of
      the reasons I ended up with an ugly IBM ThinkPad last year. Sony
      was asking way too much for too little. And that just blows.

      Without seeing this model 'live' I will reserve judgement on how
      close of a design rip-off this is. If Sony had used the hinge style
      that is common on Apple products now, that would be a
      different story. At this stage, if I was looking for a new PC laptop
      to complement my PowerBook/iBook set, I would certainly at
      least look at this model. Maybe Sony blows less now?
      999ad@...
      • Why bother?

        ---At this stage, if I was looking for a new PC laptop
        to complement my PowerBook/iBook set, I would certainly at
        least look at this model.---

        Why not just buy a MacBook and only carry around one machine to do everything?
        tic swayback
        • RE: Why bother?

          Good point, but I have a few 'PC centric' clients who just can't stand
          the thought of a Mac in their environment. Hence, the ugly
          ThinkPad. Now they are happy. I agree though, that a MacBook with
          either Parallels or BootCamp is a more intelligent solution all
          around. If the decision was left up to me, that would be it. Try to
          convince opinionated Mac-phobic clients who pay well and on time.
          That's another story for another time and one I'm not falling on my
          sword for. I'm sure you have had similar circumstances at one time
          or another.
          999ad@...
          • Lots of Windoid FANBOIS out there...

            But just do what they do on TV. Put a sticker over the big apple
            on the front. There you go. Nobody knows/cares that it's a
            Mac. Just boot in windows.

            And what is this that PPL are still talking that Apple is expen
            $ive? You haven't done your homework if you think Apple is
            still expensive.

            Apple is VERY price competitive these days. These Macbooks
            are cheaper than Dells, for crying out loud.

            Hey, I am a PC user, and proud of it, but I'm NOT STUPID. The
            macbooks are CHEAPER than some notebooks (when you config
            them similarly).

            PCs have more options, sure, but mostly just to get crappy
            Celeron chips, etc... IF you want a GOOD notebook with GOOD
            performance, check the Apple.

            Yeah, a lot of nimrods will probably think you are dumb, but you
            will know the truth (especially if you ever boot into Mac).
            comp_indiana
          • And now...

            With the Core 2 Duo processors, the only way to be cheaper while similary
            comfigured is to cut BIG corners. (eg: what happend in sony batteries)
            Graham Fluet
    • "Sony" price

      Great! So now you can pay a "Sony price" for a knockoff. In case you haven't noticed, you usually pay a premium for any of the Sony notebooks, IT Man. You used to be able to justify the extra bucks as paying for design costs or R&D - but not now if they are copying other co's designs.
      lizinny
    • "Apple has a very limited scope when it comes to mobile products"

      IT Man -

      I wonder how many 4.5" and 11.1" notebooks Sony sells. Apple probably doesn't offer these configurations because they wouldn't sell. And this is coming from someone who is dying for a Mac tablet.

      Just because Sony make more ultra notebooks (mostly for the JP market) does not mean that they're "leading" over Apple. In fact, the above design shows that it's Apple that's leading Sony in the design department.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • Sony copies a fugly design..

        "In fact, the above design shows that it's Apple that's leading Sony in the design department."

        Which isn't a good thing. It may be just my opinion, but the MacBooks are just fugly, and it is sad to see that is what Sony decided to copy.
        Ambivi