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Playboy's iBod May Be a Worm in Apple Branding

By Susan B. Shor MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jan 5, 2005 3:44 PM PT

Playboy.com wasted no time taking advantage of Apple's iPod Photo, launching "iBod" two months after the personal image device first appeared.

Playboy's iBod May Be a Worm in Apple Branding

Anyone with an iPod, or other photo device, can download one of 25 free images of -- what else? -- scantily clad, attractive young women. The photos were part of Playboy's archive, but the magazine said it will be adding images from original photo shoots.

Members of Playboys' Cyber Cafe can download pictures of nude women. The service is included with their subscription fee.

Unhappy Apple?

The similarity of the names has analyst Rob Enderle convinced that Apple can't be too happy.

"They're trying to make money off the infrastructure Apple has built up," Enderle told MacNewsWorld. "You would expect more of Playboy, which has a brand that is enforced very vigorously."

Enderle said that the initial lower-case "i" is part of Apple's branding strategy and that the company could make a case that iBod is degrading the brand.

"I have a feeling there are going to be some long conversations between lawyers," he said.

No Shock Here

It's no surprise that digital images such as these would make their way onto handheld devices.

"The sustaining media on the Internet is pornography. It has one of the strongest profit models of anything on the Net; we just don't talk about it a lot," Enderle said. He added that he wasn't surprised that naked pictures were finding their way onto digital handheld media, but he was surprised that Playboy was the one doing it.

"I thought it would be more of a bottom feeder," he said.

'Playboy Lifestyle'

Playboy defends the name, saying that the photos are editorial content and therefore don't infringe on Apple's trademark.

"Playboy has always been committed to delivering the fun and sexiness of the classic Playboy lifestyle to customers on any media platform they wish to use," John D. Thomas, editor of Playboy.com, said in a statement.

"The overwhelming response we have received for this feature supports our theory that iPod Photo users are a technologically advanced group with a significant interest in enjoying beautiful Playboy images."

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