Compaq has imitated Apple with the release of its new PC, the iPaq, according to an IDC analyst.
"Compaq have always been great imitators," said Bernie Esner, IDC's PC consultant. "Apple have always been great innovators."
Apple released the similarly named iMac in February 1997 and has since sold in excess of 2 million units, prices ranging from $1995 to $2995.
"If they [Apple] didn't have iMac, they would have been in trouble," said Esner.
The iPaq, which Compaq says is targeted at small-to-medium businesses needing easy access to the Internet, will cost $499 and will be available in the US from mid-January. The Australian release date has not yet been set.
Esner speculated that the iPaq's release was meant to coincide with the Christmas rush, but was delayed for some reason.
"If it's so oriented towards the small business market, they should have put it out now," Esner said.
Other industry analysts believe the PC was packaged without a monitor simply to keep it under the $US500 mark, but Compaq officials claim their products are often packaged separately.
According to Esner, Compaq's imitation of Apple is "nothing new". Esner cited the release of the company's "all-in-one Presario three or four years ago".
At the time, industry professionals were amazed at the Presario's resemblance to the Apple 5500 series, he said.
However, Esner believes iPaq should not pose any significant threat to Apple because Mac users are aware of functioning differences.
"It's a platform issue," he said.
He said Apple users will still remain loyal for reasons of inter-PC compatibility, regardless of iPaq's 500MHz processing speed.
"It's not about 'chips', but what people are doing with it."
Apple declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Apple is gaining ground in its battle to stop copycats from imitating the design of its iMac.
A US federal judge is set to issue a preliminary injunction by the end of this week barring Future Power and South Korean firms Daewoo Telecom and its parent company Daewoo Group from manufacturing and selling their E-Power personal computer because of its similarity to the iMac, a court spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.
Apple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in San Jose against both companies in July of this year, alleging their E-Power PCs deliberately copied the iMac design.
"The court concludes that Apple has shown a probability of success on its argument that the release of the E-Power is likely to cause customer confusion," US District Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote in a response to arguments submitted by both parties.