Dell's New PCs Shamelessly Borrow Apple Designs

Apple, it seems, has won the PC design war: Dell's new all-in-one PC is shamelessly iMac-like, right down to its bent-sheet aluminum "foot" that the Studio One 19 stands on. There are extras, of course, like the colored screen surrounds and the option for a touchscreen input system...but the roots of the design are right there for all to see.

In the press release for the machine, Dell's Senior VP of Consumer Products even notes that "the new Studio One 19 is as nice to look at as it is functional," and the release also suggests something that Apple's known for ages: "a single power cord means a much neater computing environment." The machine even has a side-mounted slot-loading optical drive--though this can be upgraded to include a Blu-ray drive, which is an option Apple hasn't embraced at all yet.

The machine has optional processors from a Celeron up to a Core 2 Quad-core CPU, nVidia GeForce integrated graphics, a card reader, up to 750GB hard drive and up to 4GB of memory. Plus there's that optional multi-touch screen, that Dell thinks means it's ideal for "the optimal experience for moms and their kids as they peruse photos from Spring Break and other family events." The company aims this PC squarely at your kitchen worktops it seems, although its processor and touch options give it a variable performance spec that may even out-perform the average iMacs--so it's not all style over substance.  

But Dell's Apple cloning doesn't stop there. More information has just seeped out about its high-end ultra-thin Adamo laptop range. And it seems that that line of computers is actively being pushed for exactly the same reasons Apple is proud of its MacBooks--particularly the Air. Check out the video: There's a "classy" skinny notebook PC, that's precision-machined out of a block of metal, has very minimalist styling and (about time!) a bottom panel that's smooth and devoid of the hatches, labels, doors and reinforcing structures that fester at the bottom of most notebooks. 

Cloning Apple's designs makes sense: Dell releases a lot of PCs continually, and if it can "borrow" Apple's cachet for some of its machines, then that might help them sell. After all, Apple computers and the iPhone are everywhere in the media--they're the new coolly-designed chic devices to own, and the average "family" consumer may be happier with a machine that looks kinda similar, but runs the more familiar Windows OS. 

More detailed specs on the Adamo's electronic guts haven't surfaced yet, but the Studio One 19 is due out soon in Japan, and across the world later in the Spring for a starting price of $699.

[via Dell, Engadget

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4 Comments

  • Samuel Jr

    I suppose the laptop (Adamo) looks somewhat like a Macbook. I suppose the all in one system above is nice and sleek and fashionable like the iMac. I dont think i would care enough to say MAC has won the "design war". I wish PC (only) fanboys woud quit coming up with a million detailed little reasons why MAC is not capable or useable in any way. I have APPLE and HP and sold DELL to many clients. The one think i love about APPLE's hardware design is that it is durable. APPLE makes great long lasting and solid products. from the phones to the portables to the desktops. With the intro of intel processors i found that Apple laptops run Vista better than PC's do. unless you have a 2 or 3000 dollar PC. I do wish others would be more creative and not take immediately what is considered the newest look. Creat a look and stop how your device is like an Apple. I think thats the point of the author of this article. make your design team work!!!!

  • Kit Eaton

    @David-Henry. That's a bit like arguing the Tu144 wasn't a copy of Concorde because it has different covers for the passenger's seating--if you look beyond the cosmetic frippery (like relocating hinges and different vent patterns) the core design is just derivative. iMac: Slab-like all-in-one PC with a bent metal foot, slot-loading optical drive on the right hand side. Macbook Air: novel ultra-thin "luxury" notebook with first to have unibody aluminum "carved" chassis (yes, Al has been used before by Apple and others, but it's the unibody nature that's the key. http://www.apple.com/macbook/d.... I'm not saying Dell hasn't made two great PCs, but I'm suggesting the core of both designs just isn't Dells.
    @ Matt. Everything else? Even a high-end Alienware job? In that skinny case? That would be impressive.

  • Matt Sanders

    Excellent comment by Mr. Oliver. Sounds like a Mac Fanboy wrote this article. I can't wait to see what this writer, or shall we say blogger, will say about the Adamo when it's design, and ultimate specs, crush anything we've seen on the market.

  • David-Henry Oliver

    The images and the text of this entry simply don't match. While Dell has released an all-in-one PC, saying that it is shamelessly iMac-like is the equivalent of saying that two people look alike because they both have two eyes, a nose and a mouth.

    The foot may be aluminum, but looks nothing like the one on the iMac.
    The treatment of the display, glass panel floating over a colored screen surround, which I understand is interchangeable, is again not at all like the treatment of the iMac display.

    Slot loading optical drive - Any suggestions about how to fit a different kind of drive in this configuration?

    Furthermore, the suggestion that the Adamo is somehow a rip-off of the MacBook is, and I apologize for being blunt, nothing more than confused. Again it's aluminum, but have you seen laptops made by Sony, Lenovo, and others. Somy's use of aluminum for laptop housings, I believe, predates Apple's.

    Material aside, Dell has shifted the hinge forward, integrated the vents along the back of the machine, added laser etching to their design language, etc.

    Yes, Apple has done some good design work and there are plenty of copycats, but let's not assume that everytime a competitor designs a computer, a phone, or an mp3 player it is simply their rendering of an Apple product.

    The fact is that a decent product designer pays closer attention to what other product designers are up to than most. They admire and critique each other people's work. They pay attention to the details and learn from each other. That said, as much as Apple is a design force to be reckoned with they are not doing all the teaching.