It seems like JBL can’t catch a break: its UFO-shaped On Stage speaker designs have been mercilessly cloned by companies overseas, and now even the name is under assault. Brookstone, vendor of cool and often useful home gadgets, has been prominently displaying “OnStage” in its stores, a new half-globe-shaped iPod speaker system with an elevated dock in the center.
JBL’s legal team is apparently already on the case with this one, but it’s interesting to see what appears to be the latest evolution of the iPod accessory economy: more and more samey stuff, overlapping in looks, features, and even names. Back a couple of years ago, the amount of innovation coming from both Apple and its third-party developers was nothing short of staggering; now we’re moving into territory where everything’s substantially predictable. Here’s hoping the trend reverses and we start to see some pleasant surprises again, and soon.