Fake plastic Steve (Jobs)

You may soon be able to buy a replica of the iconic Apple founder, whether the Cupertino crew likes it or not

Some people just can't quit Steve Jobs. Given the impact the iconic Apple founder had on this industry and the emotional connection they feel to Apple products, I totally get that. Now, they may never have to let go.

A Hong Kong-based company called InIcons is planning to sell a creepily realistic 12-inch-tall plastic version of Jobs, complete with black turtleneck, jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Also in the package to add to the creepiness: three pairs of hands in different poses and two apples (one with a bite out of it).

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The cost? $110 with shipping. Want to add an iPhone 4 or the original Macintosh computer to your Applesque diorama? That will cost extra, though the exact price isn't listed on the site.

Aside from the beard, which looks a bit too plasticky, the prototype figurine shown on the InIcons site is a stunning re-creation of the man -- you have to look closely to realize it's not an actual photo.

The figure is slated to go on sale next month, but probably not if Apple has anything to say about it. It managed to intimidate a Chinese company into pulling its Steve Jobs action figure in November 2010. (The company's Mark Zuckerberg-inspired Poking Inventor Action Figure is still available, though.)

A company called PodBrix started selling a huggable, plush 17-inch version of the Apple founder in April 2009. Today that company is gone, though it's unclear whether it foundered on its own or Apple put out a hit on it.

Now Apple may try to do the same to InIcon, though contrary to most press reports, it doesn't appear to have taken any action yet. Of course, back then Steve was still with us. Now that he's not, the rules have changed a bit. As PaidContent's Jeff Roberts notes:

Apple's legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do not survive beyond the grave in most places.

He adds that there are 16 states allowing some protection for "personality rights" beyond one's demise. So if you live in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee, or Oklahoma, you may be out of luck. Residents of Germany and Argentina may be similarly bereft of having a Jobs to call their own.

Or not. If you're desperate for a desktop-friendly version of the great innovator, you might try a Sculpteo Avatar. For prices starting at $75, 3D printing company Sculpteo will take two mugshot-style photos (front and side) and turn them into a 3- to 6-inch avatar you can keep on your desk. True, it won't have removable hands or a "one more thing" blue backdrop, but it's better than nuthin'.

Would Sculpteo object to making a figurine of a famous figure? I can't see why, but I have a question in to its press representative. I'll let you know if he tells me whether I need to "think different," to borrow a phrase.

Would you buy a Steve Jobs figurine? Why or why not? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Fake plastic Steve (Jobs)," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.


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