The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun ET44 calculator vs. iPhone’s calculator app

Do you remember what your first Windows PC looked like? Of course you don’t. But I bet you remember what your first Mac looked like sat atop your desk. That’s because Apple produces such incredible and iconic designs that we can’t help but remember them. But even Apple gets its inspiration from somewhere. And it’s quite clearly from Braun.

Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and former CEO, and Jony Ive, the company’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, famously admired the work of Braun designer Dieter Rams. And that admiration can often be found seeping into Apple’s own products. We mentioned not so long ago that Apple’s Podcasts app looks a lot like an old Braun tape recorder, but it goes much, much deeper than that.

In fact, a lot of Apple’s products can be likened to those from Braun. Here are some of them:

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun T3 pocket radio vs. the iPod.

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun T1000 radio (close up) vs. the Mac Pro.

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

And again.

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun LE1 speaker vs. the iMac.

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun ET44 calculator vs. iPhone’s calculator app

The Braun Products That Inspired Apple’s Iconic Designs [Gallery]

Braun infrared emitter vs. iSight camera.

  • tomasradej

    In the context of the recent lawsuit, this is hysterically hilarious. Or sad. I wonder if Mr. Rams went thermonuclear on the iPod or the iPhone’s calc app, because they are stolen products. Funny, heh?

    P. S. 10 points for publishing this. I can imagine not many Mac sites will.

  • bookhout

    Rounded edges on products? Similar icons in an app? Patent violation! Sue for a billion dollars!

  • oomu

    it’s not “hysterically hilarious”

    for one, it’s not at all same products

    2: there are decades between

    3: Ive ALWAYS talk about Dieter Rams in ALL interviews AND books about Braun for _YEARS_

    4: Apple challenged Samsung with patents. not simply shapes.

    5: the galaxy s is a direct rip-off of the same category device : iPhone. not an “inspiration” of style to create stylish flower pot.

    6 : Every mac website published theses photos many month ago ! They are in a BOOK prefaced by Jonathan Ive !

    • photohounds

      As I predicted years ago, the “patents” have almost all been dismissed for the fluff they are.
      The question remains:
      Were the relevant patent clerks drunk, incompetent or “merely” bribed to actually give such spurious claims patent status?

  • oomu
  • pfftsigh

    the calculator app was just forced by a hardcore android fan

    take a look -> http://netgened.wikispaces.com/file/view/iphone-calculator.jpg/60336624/iphone-calculator.jpg

  • selltheworld

    the calculator app was just forced by a hardcore android fan

    take a look -> http://netgened.wikispaces.com/file/view/iphone-calculator.jpg/60336624/iphone-calculator.jpg

    No it wasn’t.

    look 2:39 in the video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhAaH1J1Tgg

    Everything is inspired by something else. there is no shame in that.

  • ram2tone

    Moral of the story: Don’t eat from the same pie, choose a different pie to eat from.

  • JonnBlanchard

    So is the iMac inspired by the LE1 because it’s rectangular (like a screen) or because it can be tilted at an angle (like a screen)? I think someone was running out of ideas when they included that example

    • photohounds

      PRECISELY! Your comments highlight that spurious “Rectangular with rounded corners” claim well.

      Even cigarette lighters and calculators are “gasp” rectangular with rounded corners. Of necessity – who wants holes in pockets?

      Screens (not made by apple) they ARE rectangular and have been for decades.

      What OTHER shape would a phone be once screens came down in price enough to put them in small portable devices? Triangular??

  • JonnBlanchard

    And to +1 oomu’s comment, the Apple vs Samsung lawsuits were about stolen industrial design – Samsung did steal the design anyone with eyes can see that. These examples are products that are in different markets or otherwise not competing, therefore would not cause a loss of revenue

  • JonnBlanchard

    That said, patent lawsuits are a joke – how about we all just start trying to make competing products rather than suing the eyeballs out of each other

  • jeffythequick

    Didn’t Steve Jobs say, “Good artists create. Great artists steal.”? or was it Jobs quoting Pablo Picasso?

    Well done!

  • KillianBell
    The iPhone calculator app never looked like that. Its a photoshopped fake. The buttons were never round. Steve Jobs had an affinity for Dieter Rams. Thank god he didn’t have one for Salvador Dali.

    Yes it did — when the iPhone was first released. The calculator got square buttons in an iOS update later on.

  • Calvin Ho

    Inspiration is what it is.

    Copying your competitor’s very successful innovative phone/tablet and implementing it to your own phone/tablet deserves to be sued. That is what why there are patents.

  • Phil

    The Braun calculator is not a model ET44 from or before 1977. It is actually a model ET66 from 1987. There were two types.

    See http://mycalcdb.free.fr/main.php?l=0&id=2916 for an ET66

    and http://mycalcdb.free.fr/main.php?l=0&id=165 for an ET44

  • selltheworld
  • mr_bee
    the calculator app was just forced by a hardcore android fan

    take a look -> http://netgened.wikispaces.com/file/view/iphone-calculator.jpg/60336624/iphone-calculator.jpg

    No it wasn’t.

    look 2:39 in the video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhAaH1J1Tgg

    Everything is inspired by something else. there is no shame in that.

    Actually, the article (and everyone else) are wrong to include the calculator as being “inspired” by Braun designs.

    The calculator was a calculated (sorry for the pun), “homage” to the braun calculator. It was purposely and intentionally designed to mimic the specific layout and button appearance of the Braun calculator.

    The other designs are inspired by Braun just as Braun is inspired by others but the real connection is the design methodology which is beyond most people and so never gets talked about in articles like this where neither the audience nor the author really understands much about design in the first place.

  • sobothomas

    There are several similarities between the iPhone 5 and Dieter Rams designed watch for Braun http://twitter.com/sobothomas/status/249796933114290176/photo/1

  • SplenZen

    Aren’t these examples the kind of thing Apple Sued Samsung over? From the pictures, there is very little (aesthetic) difference between the objects, especially the “iSight” camera and the infrared emitter, which are even functionally comparable.

  • SplenZen
    Inspiration is what it is.

    Copying your competitor’s very successful innovative phone/tablet and implementing it to your own phone/tablet deserves to be sued. That is what why there are patents.

    So if you paint your house pink, that means no else can paint their own house pink, or even sell pink paint anymore?

  • LittleLion

    Being inspired by a product that is years old and has a different function and also giving it a new redesign is totally different from copying a currently popular product with the same function and very, very similar form factor and interface design. The Braun products are old and different in function and have significant design differences (with exception to the calculator which was intentionally made this way as a tribute to Jony Ive’s main inspiration Dieter Rams.) Samsungs phone was a blatant copy of a current popular product and they deserved getting sued, and they did the same with the iPad.. It’s leeching of someones success something that apple didn’t do with Braun. The hate apple gets is really out of proportion, they have their negatives but a lot of people are not just criticizing but just hating out of jealousy which is just childish. Go design your own products without taking cues or inspiration from existing designs, and good luck with that, believe me I wanted to do that at the beginning of my study Industrial Design and it’s almost impossible, there’s no shame in taking inspiration from similar and non-similar products, but there is in copying just to take part in the success of a popular product.

  • Ethan M. Schwarz-Kaiser

    With all the “Apple white knights” defending how original Ivy has been for Apple, have at least the decency to admit that Mr Rams and Braun have been a huge inspiration …. because it all looks very much the same .. and I love Apple Design … but Apple management are a bunch of hypocritical bums when they start suing for infringements on ‘their design’ .. In a European court Apple would have a hard time if Mr Rams ever would go after them .. Going after Samsung in US courts for doing what they do with Braun designs is like a ‘homegame’ They won before the case started … Infringement of technical patents is something different but also there Apple ‘borrowed’ a lot of ideas from others… Maybe time to get of their high horse as the defenders of ‘original design’ .. It all has been done before …… Ivy knows that very well as he admits his love for Rams designs ….

    • photohounds

      Most of the spurious “patents” have now been thrown out
      – as I and others predicted.

      Am I now an “analyst?”
      I DO have a better track record than the idiots this rag quotes as nauseum.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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