Apple 2.0

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Samsung's Chromebox: A dead ringer for Apple's Mac Mini

August 10, 2012: 5:37 AM ET

Is there anything Apple makes that Samsung won't copy?

Front and back: Chromebox (top) and Mac mini

FORTUNE -- Since it was introduced in May there have been at least half a dozen reviews of Samsung's Chromebox Series 3, a $330 keyboard-and-screen-free computer running Google's (GOOG) Chrome OS that Amazon (AMZN) began promoting in e-mails to customers this week.

But only one reviewer -- Engadget's Myriam Joire -- bothered to mention the Chromebox's uncanny resemblance to a product Apple (AAPL) sells.

"Apple should be flattered," she wrote, "either that, or it should be readying its army of lawyers. Samsung's Chromebox looks very much like a Mac mini, with the exact same 7.6-inch-square footprint, rounded corners (using a smaller radius) and silver rim (made of painted plastic instead of aluminum). It's thinner (1.3 inches vs. 1.4 inches), lighter and eschews that unibody aluminum shell for a rather cheap looking matte black plastic top cover featuring prominent Samsung and Chrome logos."

Could it be that the tech press is so inured to Samsung's habit of replicating Apple's designs that it hardly bears mentioning?

I wonder if Amazon sent its Chromebox e-mail to anyone in the Apple v. Samsung jury...

Thanks to reader Chris Whear in the U.K. for the tip.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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