According to recent court documents submitted to a California court on Wednesday, Apple looked to Sony for inspiration in designing its first iPhone.
As a part of Apple’s and Samsung’s ongoing lawsuit over patent infringement Apple claims that Samsung smartphones and tablets are closely styled after their products. Samsung fired back by arguing that Apple looked to other companies in designing its first smartphone and that such a practice is common to the consumer electronics marketplace.
Steve Jobs’ admiration for Sony wasn’t a secret, the court documents contains a report that says Apple asked one of its designers to answer the question: “What would Sony do?” The document also included images produced by an Apple computer-aided design (CAD) system of designs that borrows from Sony designs elements of the time.
The mock-up designs included a jog wheel, a control wheel and switch that was used on Sony’s Clie personal digital assistants. Other mock-ups included a phone designed by Apple designer Shin Nishibori referred to as ‘the sony-style chappy’. One of the mock-ups however, looked more like the iPhone 4 of today with a metal band running around the edge with a flat front and back.
Nishibori may have looked to Sony for design inspiration but the resulting designs and mock-ups did not look like any actual Sony phones of the time but it’s definitely something that gets you thinking.
The two sides are scheduled to begin arguing their case in front of a jury on Monday.