Apple had iPhone 4-like "purple" concept design back in 2005

Yet more goodies from the Apple vs. Samsung litigation loot bag have emerged this morning, including a prototype iPhone from 2005, called "Purple", that looks a lot like the 2010 iPhone 4. Apple released the prototype to counter charges from Samsung that the iPhone had been copied from Sony designs. The Verge got a look at the court documents and posted the picture above.

"Purple" dates back to August 2005 — months before the Jony prototype was originally designed. According to the documents, Shin Nishibori's Sony-style touches were simply "an 'enjoyable' side project," embellishments on a concept Apple had already designed. The documents contend that Purple remained free of the alleged Sony inspirations, ultimately giving birth to the iPhone in 2006 (and looking decidedly like the iPhone 4).

Back when the iPhone 4 was released, it looked like the Braun- and Leika-inspired design Apple SVP Jonathan Ive had always wanted to make, but until then had simply lacked the technology to bring to market. Seeing the Purple prototype, that rings truer than ever, and given that purported iPhone 5 leaks don't deviate from that general design either, Apple may have struck on their Platonic ideal and won't deviate until they have to.

Bigger screens, smaller bezels, thinner frames, all may come. Apple might whittle away everything they can until only the content and barest shell remain. But more than ever, the current design looks to be that shell.

Source: The Verge

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.