Dell suffering from Apple Envy?
"One thing that has struck me is how many of the Dell style and design innovations at this week's event are actually Apple innovations put into PCs a few years on. Not that that is suprising or even embarrassing to Dell, a company that is straightforward in acknowledging that it takes ideas that are now proven to be winners with consumers and then implements them."
This doesn't really come as a surprise from Dell (Dell's former sideways 'easy opening' plastic desktops were a clear G4 PowerMac rip-off, and their laptops quickly mimic the latest PowerBook designs), who are now even touting a future luxury PC range, perhaps looking to the success of the G5 iMac.
And it's not just confined to Dell, either. Sony does it with their VAIOs as do HP and any other number of companies. This is something which really started being noticeable once Apple brought out the original G3 iMac which inspired a rash of imitators.
Why? Well, it's down to that 'vision thing', I would guess. Apple have got it - courtesy of Jobs' perfectionist sense of aesthetics, the others haven't as they're run by besuited MBA's. Who may be very well able to sell beige boxes to businesses, but haven't really got a clue as to how to push the industry forward as regards real improvement of the user experience. That these others wouldn't hesitate for a moment to rip off Apple (rather than making a serious attempt at innovating themselves) shouldn't come as a surprise.
With Apple's approach to making computers, they were consciously going for quality over quantity. And I think that many people, sick to death of virus-ridden Dells which are used just for Web, games and word processing can realise that "Mac & Sony PlayStation" (or Nintendo or even XBox) beats "Windows PC" any day.
The introduction of the Mini may mark the beginning of Apple hitting the sweet spot of compromise between purse and a more user-friendly kind of computing experience (what I would term Apple's "Appliance Model" in the Macintosh) - time will tell.
p.s. in a curious aside on the whole Apple-Intel business today, see here.