Judge for yourself: Does this look like something Jony Ive might have copied?
FORTUNE — The biggest drama on the first full day of Apple v. Samsung — the high-stakes patent infringement case being played out in a packed San Jose federal courthouse — was the release to the press of information Samsung’s lead attorney had literally begged the judge to allow into evidence. (“What’s the point of having a trial?” he said in open court when his umpteenth motion was denied.)
The story Samsung was trying to tell the jury was that before it unveiled the first iPhone, Apple was pursuing a design inspired by Sony’s SE aesthetic — a line of reasoning that has been transformed in hot fires of the blogosphere into proof that Apple “copied” Sony’s design.
Here’s the iPhone creation story Samsung wanted to tell (taken from an unredacted Samsung legal brief):
There are a lot of problems with that story, starting with the fact Noshibori’s design (pictured above) didn’t change the course of the iPhone project, and he never said it did. Apple has released sketches of a near-final iPhone design (see left) that pre-date his CAD drawings by almost a year.
But let’s go back to the first sentence of the excerpt. The article that was circulated internally at Apple, Gruber helpfully points out, was a 2006 Businessweek interview with the designers of the product shown at the top of this piece. It was not a phone at all, but a Walkman — the NW-A1200 — that according to Businessweek represented for Sony a new, cleaner, less cluttered design aesthetic.
And what inspired that new aesthetic? Of all things, according to the Sony designers, an Apple iPod.
Apple wasn’t copying Sony, dear bloggers. Sony was copying Apple.