Hewlett Packard has a long and rich history of innovation in Silicon Valley. As one of the first major computer companies to set down roots there, it has ties with nearly every maker to come after it, even Apple. Founder Steve Jobs famously contacted Bill Hewlett directly to see if he could score some spare parts to build a frequency counter — and ended up with a job there.

That’s why it’s so painful to look at the new line of HP desktops, called Spectre One. The Spectre One desktop, which was released in a PR flood at midnight last night, looks like absolutely nothing other than a complete clone of Apple’s iMac.

The phrase “Redmond, start your photocopiers” was used to market Mac OS X Tiger back in 2006 and referred to Microsoft. Microsoft is pushing something new and original with Windows 8, but the OEMs making computers for it seem to have done just that.

Here is an images from Engadget’s coverage (which does not mention the resemblance, strange given that they’ve taken HP to task on this before) compared to a shot of Apple’s computer from the blog of Lim Cheng Ye:

 HP introduces new Apple iMac

Screen Shot 2012 09 10 at 9.00.55 AM 520x386 HP introduces new Apple iMac

Note that even the keyboard and touchpad are nearly complete clones of Apple’s offerings. This is just a sad day for HP. There are nearly infinite combinations of components and design to choose from here and it decided to effectively clone Apple. Why? How has a company once praised for pushing the industry forward decided that this kind of thing is ok to do?

I’m reminded of something that Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson just after the shuttering of the WebOS division at HP. “Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands,” Jobs told Isaacson. “But now it’s being dismembered and destroyed.”

“I hope I’ve left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple,” he added.

I’m not sure why HP has decided to sell out its legacy like this, but it sucks.

Oh, and if you’re convinced that HP is first to this, check out these Vizio all-in-ones announced earlier this year.

See also: Why PC hardware needs a company like Valve to truly innovate

Image Credit: ilovebutter

Update: Here’s an official product shot, just so we’re clear:

Screen Shot 2012 09 10 at 10.02.51 AM 520x440 HP introduces new Apple iMac