The highest form of flattery

“Bad artists copy. Great artists steal.”
Pablo Picasso

Imitation is rife. Apple may just have been inspired by Braun design from the ’60s and ’70s for the iPhone calculator, iPod and G5 tower. The Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Xerox GUI copyright lawsuits are well known.

Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed more and more pieces of PC software that try to achieve one thing: make the PC behave more like OS X. The application notifiers Growl and Snarl. The application enhancers Quicksilver and Colibri. The window managers Expose and Exposer. Unsurprisingly not one of them quite match-up to the Apple versions.

Now after years of mediocrity it seems that the PC manufacturers have finally realised that good design will set them apart. The days of the big beige box are thankfully long gone but until very recently the aesthetics of the offerings from Dell, Gateway and the like have been distinctly poor. Dell have upped their product design staff to 90 (from just six a few years ago) and are already receiving plaudits from the industry for their efforts.

In this years Microsoft CES keynote Bill Gates boldly predicted that we’ll be relying less on the keyboard and mouse in the next five years. Gosh Bill, do you really think so? What a revelation! Take a look at some bleeding-edge design concepts for some examples that might just make it to market over the next few years.

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