It’s an odd job, being an ultrabook designer for a company that isn’t Apple. How do you beat them? Well, you could beat them on design, but it appears that most ultrabook designers have instead chosen to simply make ultrabooks look as much like a Macbook Air as possible. Is this wise? Sensible people would argue that no, it isn’t. But at the same time, even more sensible people would ask why exactly they think the design is so unbeatable to begin with. Of course, it’s a brand design and it looks fantastic and performs well when used, whether you’re writing a novel or playing partypoker, but it’s not the only one that people could come up with.
The worrying thing is how blatant the copycat design work has actually been, in some cases. A few designs are, save for the Apple logo being switched out, a Macbook Air in appearance, and that’s the point where Apple will, quite rightly, step in and start getting its lawyers involved. The lack of inspiration is bizarre – not everyone wants a silver ultrabook! Where did black go?
Other designs would also then have the potential to offer new design features – while Apple may produce some of the best hardware around, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that can top it. The popularity of Android handsets and Windows computers is testament to the fact that some people enjoy the power of good specs and Windows combined and are reluctant to shell out for low-spec computers in fancy packaging, as Apple computers are sometimes accused of being.
As consumers, we’ve got a great selection of tech to choose from. But for designers, the unfortunate reality is that you either need to get original, or start thinking about spending more on your lawyers, because Apple won’t take infringements of their aesthetics lightly.