As the crucial Samsung vs. Apple patents battle began in San Jose federal court this week, Samsung tried to convince the jury that before Apple unveiled the first iPhone, it was pursuing a design inspired by a device from Sony. In response, Apple submitted another iPhone prototype code named ”Purple” which indicated it was designed several months before the Jony Ive’s prototype even existed. Philip Elmer of Tech Fortune has highlighted in a recent report why these design copy claims from Samsung are totally bogus. He points out Apple’s design process didn’t change the course of the iPhone project since Apple released sketches of a near-final iPhone design (pictured below) that pre-date his CAD drawings by almost a year.
According to Philip, here is the iPhone creation story Samsung tried to sell in courts:
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:
Soon afterward, on March 8, 2006, Apple designer Richard Howarth reported that, in contrast to another internal design that was then under consideration, Mr. Nishibori’s “Sony-style” design enabled “a much smaller-looking product with a much nicer shape to have next to your ear and in your pocket” and had greater “size and shape/comfort benefits.” As Mr. Nishibori has confirmed in deposition testimony, this “Sony-style” design he prepared changed the course of the project that yielded the final iPhone design.
Funny thing is, the design aesthetic Samsung is pointing at is not even a cell phone but a Walkman instead i.e the NW-A1200, that according to the source represented for Sony a new, cleaner, less cluttered design aesthetic. Here’s what the author says about this:
And what inspired that new aesthetic? Of all things, according to the Sony designers, an Apple iPod.
Apple wasn’t copying Sony, Sony was copying Apple.
So, what do you guys make of all this drama?