Did Apple Rip Off Messages’ Icon Design From HipChat? [Image]

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How many ways are there to design a chat icon?

Here at Cult of Mac, we’re a big fan of HipChat, a phenomenal team calibration tool based around group chat and IM, which works on any platform with dedicated apps for Mac and iOS. In fact, it’s how we keep in touch with each other throughout each work day. The app is a mainstay in our docks.

So when we woke up this morning and found out Apple was announcing a new version of OS X including a brand new Messages IM app, the first thing we thought was: “Hey! That icon looks familiar!” Very familiar.

Or put another way, Apple seems to have heavily “borrowed” inspiration from Hipchat’s icon (right) when designing their own Messages icon (left). In fact, short of a subtle variation in bubble shape and gradient, plus the fact that the white chat bubble is in front of the blue one, we’d go as far as to say they’re identical.

Apple’s never been shy about “borrowing” ideas from the competition before, and granted, there’s only so many ways you can design a chat icon. Still, given how upset Apple has gotten over Samsung swiping the design of iOS icons wholesale, we think the similarity here is a little bit rich.

What do you think? Is this just a coincidence, or did Apple really steal HipChat’s icon design? Let us know in the comments.