if i hadn't already seen 100 VCR/DVD player button layouts like that, maybe.
i'm telling you, there's nothing that unique about the iPod. it's about as straight forward as it could possibly be. that's what makes it great.
for something else to copy it, it only needs to be standard across the board.
1. standard menu options. (it syncs with iTunes, so of course it's going to be similar there)
2. smallest possible form factor with the internal drive.
again, similar to the iPod, but only because it's the smallest possible design around that HD. not sure what else they could do, other than make their product unusually large, which would be a bit pointless.
3. circular button layout. here it's a little more like copying in my mind, but again nothing unique on the iPod either. basically half of all the DVD remotes i've seen use some combination of a scroll wheel and/or buttons around it for play, pause etc. again, it's a common layout on the iPod, that is also adopted by a competing product. if you can show me the iPod is unique in this layout, i might buy it, but it's not.
again, you are limited by the available space after including the LCD screen. The HD limits total size, the LDC cuts down on what's there, then you only have so much room for controls. standard control sets have to fit within a small area, so anything that's left will have to look similar.
4. well, the ports maybe. again, it's probably a factor of where the internal HD has inputs that's the major factor as to where the firewire or USB 2.0 plugs in. nothing but simple engineering again.
i think the only way you can believe apple has a claim here is if you think they have rights to the internal HD's, upon which everything else is based. i'm sure they don't though.
dunno, i'm just not seeing it. it's as different as it can be while still being compact and functional. don't think apple has a patent on that.
[ 07-22-2002: Message edited by: alcimedes ]</p>