This Sony Walkman Is The Device Samsung Thinks Inspired The iPhone

This Sony Walkman Is The Device Samsung Thinks Inspired The iPhone

Samsung has been trying to accuse  Apple of ripping off Sony’s design as the inspiration for the iPhone as a way to justify Samsung’s own smartphone copying tactics. Their argument is based on a prototype iPhone mockup by Shin Nishibori created in 2006 that was supposed to look like an iPhone that Sony would make.

Shin’s mockup was requested after an Apple designer read a profile on Sony’s top designer in Businessweek. Thing is, the article wasn’t about Sony’s smartphones at all, it was about their newest Walkman – the NW-A1200 (pictured above).

As relayed by Philip Elmer-Dewitt for Fortune:

There are a lot of problems [Samsung's] story, starting with the fact Noshibori’s design 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  that pre-date his CAD drawings by almost a year.

The article that was circulated internally at Apple, was a 2006 Businessweek interview with the designers of  the [Sony] product. 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.

It was Sony that was copying Apple all along, not the other way around. Shin’s prototype could then be viewed as his idea of what Sony would do if they were re-designing the iPhone as their own. When you look at Shin’s mockup next to the 2005 iPhone design mockup, Shin’s is obviously more complex than what was already planned.

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  • Ed_Kel

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  • Aidan Taylor

    If Sony was copying apple, why have they not been sued like Samsung has?

  • thegraphicmac

    If Sony was copying apple, why have they not been sued like Samsung has?

    Because nobody gives a sh¡t about Sony, especially Apple, because they’re no threat to anyone. Which makes me laugh a little when I think back to the late 90s when there was a “Sony is going to buy Apple” rumor every other day.

  • ddevito

    Apple’s butthurt over Android’s dominant market share. Boo Hoo. Get over it and do what you do best. Innovate and stay ahead. Stop this nonsense.

    Why isn’t Apple going after Google?

  • Lars Pallesen

    Apple’s butthurt over Android’s dominant market share. Boo Hoo. Get over it and do what you do best. Innovate and stay ahead. Stop this nonsense.

    Why isn’t Apple going after Google?

    Why isn’t Apple going after Google for copying the iPhone?
    From the top of my head: Because Google doesn’t make smartphones?

  • lwdesign1

    If Sony was copying apple, why have they not been sued like Samsung has?

    Your comment is nonsensical. The article says Sony was inspired by the iPod, however, it looks nothing like the iPod, so there’s no copying going on to speak of. “Copying” entails something looking identical or nearly identical to the original. Samsung has copied wholesale from Apple with very little in the way of creating differences in the look and feel of their products from Apple’s. There’s no way anyone could confuse or mistake the Sony product from an iPhone or an iPod.

  • lwdesign1

    Apple’s butthurt over Android’s dominant market share. Boo Hoo. Get over it and do what you do best. Innovate and stay ahead. Stop this nonsense.

    Why isn’t Apple going after Google?

    No, Apple is suing because they put in years of hard work and R&D to come out with the iPhone and iPad, and Samsung simply lifts all their ideas and comes out with near identical copies. Apple has seen this before when they developed the first successful, widespread GUI (Graphic User Interface) that included windows, a finder, clickable icons, folders, etc. which Microsoft copied, albeit badly, and got away with lifting all these great ideas without all the years and millions of dollars of R&D. Microsoft had DOS, a text based interface without icons, mouse, folders,etc.–then out of the blue they came up with “Windows” that had nearly identical functionality as the Mac OS.

    Apple got screwed over in the court system, and I can see them again trying to protect their intellectual property rights in what they’ve developed. Here’s the problem: Suppose you work very hard for years to develop and manufacture some new hardware/software/technical device. Suppose again that I could then come along and simply take all those hard-won ideas and stamp my name on them and sell them at a lower cost simply because I didn’t have to pay for all the years of development and research costs. What would this do to your incentive to spend all that effort? With the certainty that I was going to steal from you all your best ideas, you probably wouldn’t bother with all the hassle of all the R&D–which leads to stagnation and lack of innovation.

  • marsk

    Apple’s butthurt over Android’s dominant market share. Boo Hoo. Get over it and do what you do best. Innovate and stay ahead. Stop this nonsense.

    Why isn’t Apple going after Google?

    What if Apple stop innovating and stop developing new product? Will Google or even Samsung could take the lead in future innovation?

    Samsung think they are “Innovating” by twisting the screen size, to fit more core processors, faster connection and larger battery.

    However, they are not innovating anything, they just keep copy what Apple created, and try hard to fit everything left over in their factory, scramble all parts together and release them once every 6 months.

  • Viksit Taliyan

    iphone is least functional n least powerfull smartfone in martket

    its ugly too!!!!

  • Viksit Taliyan

    apple products r total garbage ….all hardware is same as others n comes from korea n japan and assembled in china … and sold at 10X price bcoz of media hype!!

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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