In Samsung’s trial brief, the Korean based electronics giant accuses Apple’s iPhone of effectively borrowing heavily from a Sony device. In other words, Samsung argues, the iPhone is anything but an original creation.
As the story goes, this 2006 Businessweek interview set the course for Apple’s original iPhone design.
All Things D relays a telling quote from Samsung’s brief:
Right after this article was circulated internally, Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to prepare a “Sony-like” design for an Apple phone and then had CAD drawings and a three-dimensional model prepared. Confirming the origin of the design, these internal Apple CAD drawings prepared at Mr. Nishibori‘s direction even had the “Sony” name prominently emblazoned on the phone design, as the below images from Apple‘s internal documents show.
The difference between Samsung copying Apple and Apple’s alleged copying of Sony is that Apple didn’t take a wildly popular Sony design already out on the market and copy it part and parcel like Samsung did. But I digress.
Moving along, check out this internal Apple email sent to Jony Ive.
The two iPhone prototypes referenced in the email are below, to which Buzzfeed adds:
As pointed out by the Verge, Apple designer Richard Howarth argued for the “sony-style chappy” over the “extrusion” model because it’s a “much smaller-looking product with a nicer shape to have next to your ear and in your pocket.” Can’t say I disagree. The best part of this email, though, is the fact that Howarth (and perhaps Jony Ive?) thought the iPhone 4-like design “look[ed] old next to the extrusion,” way back in 2006. And here we are in 2012.