Ryonghung, a North Korean technology company, recently announced a new tablet. It looks a lot like the weird, firewalled computers the country has produced in the past, with the addition of one curious new feature: the name. It’s called... the iPad.
The new Ryonghung iPad comes with a “a quadcore 1.2 GHZ CPU, 1GB of RAM, an 8GB hard disk, an HDMI cable connection and comes with a keyboard and ‘network connection’ capabilities,” NK News reports.
Those aren’t amazing specs, and they’re nowhere close to the latest iPad that Apple sells. But the new Ryonghung iPad does sound nearly identical to the neutered Android tablet spotted in North Korean electronics stores back in 2013. Except for the blatant violation of Apple’s trademark.
Frankly, you’ve got to give the North Koreans credit for having the gall to rip off the world’s richest company, seemingly while giving zero shits. But North Korea has actually made a habit out of stealing Apple’s ideas, although this appears to be the first time one of the country’s tech companies has straight up lifted a trademarked name.
A couple years ago, a desktop computer that looked virtually identical to an Apple iMac showed up at a trade fair in Pyongyong.
Around the same time, North Korea also created a carbon copy of Apple’s OS X. The so-called “Red Star 3.0” operating system could even run a version of Windows, complete with pre-installed military-themed wallpapers. (You can technically download this software, but you probably shouldn’t.) Kim Jong Un has also been photographed with what appears to be a real Apple iMac on his desk.
It’s unclear what kind of software the new Ryonghung iPad runs, but it runs something. “Ryonghung iPad is now popular among customers,” reads an advertisement for the new tablet. “It can perform a range of functions such as reading different sources of digital information, office work and documentation. And it also has more than 40 apps.” The marketing materials suggest that separate apps come on SD cards, including a farming program and something called “Good Doctor 3.0.”
So is Apple going to send its army of lawyers to Pyongyang to defend its trademark? Who knows. We’ve reached out to Apple and asked as much. We’ll update this post if we hear back.