In all candor, this isn’t really news, as it looks like O2 Cool’s iFan (below) has been on the market since mid-2006, but it is sort of amazing to see the depths that companies will go to in order to capitalize on Apple’s designs. Sold at Wal-Mart – last I checked, an Apple Authorized Reseller – the iFan is a battery powered portable fan in the shape of a second-generation iPod, complete with a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck. It apparently wasn’t enough to knock off the standard iPod, so O2 Cool also took the black and red U2 iPod as a second design, then made green and blue ones, too. Amazingly, prices on this range from around $5 to nearly $20, depending on the store selling it.
There’s also this little ditty: Samsonite’s iPod Universal Form-Fit Socks. Pull out the words “Samsonite” and “Universal Form-Fit” and you’re left with… “iPod Socks.” Which is what they were called when Apple released the exact same thing, in the same colors, back in 2004. We didn’t open the package to see whether the company bothered to replace the Apple logos with Samsonite ones, or just left the originals intact.
Perhaps we’re just not Wal-Mart’s target customers, but it’s odd to see how the store’s iPod-related inventory is becoming more and more like a Fry’s, which itself is becoming more and more like a flea market. It’s as if the race to the bottom of the sewer has gone national. Do these stores desperately need new buyers, or is this sort of stuff really what people want?