Wired magazine brings us a fascinating revelation from the Apple-vs.-Samsung brouhaha.
Think Apple’s iconic iPhone design was born deep within the catacombs of Apple’s Cupertino campus? Think again.
According to Samsung’s unredacted trial brief (.pdf), the inspiration for the look of Apple’s original iPhone actually came from an idea for a Sony smartphone.
“In February 2006, before the claimed iPhone design was conceived, Apple executive Tony Fadell circulated a news article to Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive and others. In the article, a Sony designer discussed Sony designs for portable electronic devices that lacked buttons and other ‘excessive ornamentation,’ fit in the hand, were ‘square with a screen’ and had ‘corners [which] have been rounded out,’” the document explains. An Apple industrial designer, Shin Nishibori, then mocked up the design, even using Sony’s logo on the back of the CAD drawing.
According to Nishibori’s testimony, his design changed the course of the iPhone project, and pointed it toward the iPhone of today.
This isn’t speculation – an Apple employee copied Sony’s design, circulated it to his bosses, and testified to these facts in court.
From now on, when anyone heaps phrase on Apple’s design excellence and superlative innovation, just point and laugh. Some of us have been saying for years that what Apple is really good at is ripping off other peoples’ ideas and stealing the credit for them with slick marketing. This, right here, is the proof.