While Apple is determined to prove that Samsung copied its designs in smartphones and tablets, Samsung has unearthed images and e-mails that prove Apple was similarly influenced by Sony’s design.
Unredacted court filings by Samsung yesterday, unearthed by The Verge, show that Apple designer Shin Nishibori was asked to create an iPhone mockup using Sony’s design elements. Many of the renders even sport a Sony logo, something that will be particularly damaging to Apple in court. The filing also notes that Apple was inspired by Sony’s aesthetic after former iPod head Tony Fadell circulated a memo internally from one of its designers.
Looking at the early designs, it’s easy to see how they eventually led to the iPhone 4. The front and rear of Nishibori’s design is a bit more complicated, but the basic flow of the design remains very similar. And the Sony-inspired design also sports a prominent metal band around the device — a design choice that would eventually lead to the reception disrupting Antennagate controversy with the iPhone 4.
Other court filings have also revealed some of Apple’s earliest iPad designs, which thankfully aren’t anything like the iPad that hit the market. Perhaps aware that its tablet would be difficult to stand up on desks, Apple explored building in a clunky-looking kickstand — a problem that it would eventually solve with its iPad Smart Covers.
A few weeks ago, we caught a glimpse of some other early iPad designs, which showed a much heftier aesthetic.