Spot the difference: Apple Watch’s stunning straps look just like Marc Newson’s old ones


Apple Watch's Milanese Loop strap is identical to that of the Ikepod Solaris.
Apple Watch's Milanese Loop strap is identical to that of the Ikepod Solaris.

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The Apple Watch looks far more elegant than the rectangular smartwatches we’ve already seen from competing companies, but we couldn’t help noticing that some of its straps look a little… familiar.

In fact, several of Apple’s new strap designs look almost identical to straps from luxury watchmaker Ikepod, which not so coincidentally used to be run by Marc Newson, an Australian industrial designer who recently became a part of Apple’s design team.

Jony Ive and his team at Apple is famous for its incredible designs, but the Apple Watch isn’t the first product that was inspired by great design that came before. “Good artists copy; great artists steal,” said Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, quoting Picasso during an interview in 1996. “And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve may not be there to guide Apple anymore, but his company continues to follow that mantra — as you can see in the gallery above. Apple has previously been influenced by great design from Deiter Rams of Braun.

Its original iPod looked a lot like a Braun T3 pocket radio. Its previous Mac Pro was inspired by a T1000 radio. And its original iSight camera held a striking resemblance to a Braun infrared emitter. And these influences aren’t just found in hardware, but in software, too.

The original design of the iPhone’s Calculator app looked exactly like an ET44 calculator, while the Voice Recorder app in iOS 6 was a tribute to an old Braun tape recorder.

  • Alasdair

    Marc is Australian, not British.
    Apart from the sports strap, all the others are pretty generic.

    • jΔy

      Where are your designs? I’d love to purchase one if they are better than these!

    • KillianBell

      Thanks. I’ve updated.

  • Great designs can only be copied and improved. Fact of life, its best to just deal with it.

  • Alex

    This is only inevitable. Marc Newson is Jony Ive’s best friend and had a lot of input on the Apple Watch.

    • nostatic

      Yeah, and I for one, think his influence will be bad for Apple. From what I’ve seen, the Solaris (and maybe the Apple Watch) included, Newson’s industrial design ranges from mediocre to awful. It’s very European to be sure but also has an outdated futuristic look to it, kind of like watching a Jetson’s cartoon today. A lot of his stuff strikes me as clunky, style-over-function, different-to-be-different, and basically unaesthetic. But the design world loves him. Jony loves him. So what do I know.

  • chimpthedestroyer

    i totally agree with Alasdair the actual watch is nothing like any of those and a generic watch strap does tend to look like another, im pretty sure i can find where marc newson copied the sports strap from.
    designers are thieves, end of discussion! its how it works that’s important, they’ve watched everyone else fail and now they’ll show us how it should be done! its the apple way :)

    • Michael Smith

      The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.

  • El_Al

    There is no question – that Apple Watch is a 99.9 % copy of Ikepod Solaris. But what’s more important is the Crown. This is a patent violation of Ventura Watches in Zurich Switzerland Swiss Patent 2002CH-1962 Pierre Nobs filed in Bern in 2002 and in Munich at the European Patent Registration 2007 and acceptetd. The core is here “Easyskroll Operating System” which exactly navigate as Apple has implemented. Ventura is a smaller company but Important in Design as they won several Designer awards and the Watches are part of the fix MOMA Exhibiton. Ventura licenced their Easyskroll Patent to Braun – the German inspiration of Apple – Braun BN106 Watch.

    • C0C0tva

      And you have confidential knowledge that says Apple’s digital crown uses the same technology that is in the patent, or that Apple hasn’t paid a licensing fee for use of said patent? Ventura licensed the patent to Braun, why wouldn’t they license it to Apple?

  • h4emtfr

    They look the same because they are both Milanese straps. Yes, that’s a thing. I know because it was mentioned during the Apple Keynote.