Apple has repeatedly accused Samsung of copying Apple designs, hardware and software alike. And Apple isn’t the only one. Samsung Galaxy S was my first Android device (second smartphone device, first was a Windows Mobile) and back then even I moaned about how closely Samsung’s device, in physical design and software user interface, resembled the iPhone. As it turns out, Samsung may not have actually copied Apple after all.
We all know touch-based devices existed before the iPhone. Being a major mobile device manufacturer, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Samsung was investing dollars into research and development on touchscreen devices before 2007, the year iPhone was released. Thanks to the ongoing Apple vs Samsung thermonuclear war, we now have court documents that show what type of devices Samsung was looking into, and to Apple’s dismay, they look uncannily similar to the iPhone. The only problem (for Apple)? Samsung was working on the designs in 2006, before the original iPhone was released.
The following are two snapshots Samsung included in its trial brief:
The first image is of physical device designs Samsung was considering internally as of the summer of 2006 while the second image is of a user-interface design Samsung designers “envisioned” between the summer and fall of 2006. Since the iPhone was released in 2007, Samsung is hoping to use this as evidence that it did not copy Apple designs. Unless, of course, Apple alleges Samsung had corporate ninjas spying on internal Apple happenings but that is a story for another time. Interestingly enough, Samsung is quick to point out one of the above-mentioned device designs eventually turned into the Samsung F700 and Samsung applied for a Korean design registration for it in December 2006.
As one commentator points out, from the looks for it Samsung and Apple were considering the same future for mobile devices — Apple just got their first, Samsung saw Apple’s success, and decided to follow in Apple’s footsteps using R&D Samsung already invested in. Now the question of who copied who will ultimately be answered by the jury but to me it seems fairly clear this battle between Apple and Samsung is futile. Feel free to express your feelings in the comments below.