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.

  • that was 5 years prior to the iphone 4 release, imagine the prototypes they had prior to Steve's death that won't materialize until 5 years from now. people that say his impact on apple is over are ignoring facts at this point.
  • I'm sure the next 2 or 3 versions of the iphone steve had planned. I think we will not see something that wasn't from him at least for the next 5 years or so.
  • prototypes are prototypes but if they had iPhone 4 in 2005 and it took them five years to release it (and it still had some trouble with antenna) then when will we see something different/fresh ?
  • umm. obviously you have no idea how technology works. the same goes with aircraft designs or prototypes. They already have the prototypes of what the planes and fighters are going to look like 20 years from now. It's all about incremental updates to get the most money from you.
  • I certainly can imagine the next iphone models. All of which will continue with the midgety 4 inch screen. Apple's screen size is very dated, make no mistake about that. It's just too bad the loyal followers have convinced themselves that they don't need anything bigger.
  • These legal proceedings are a bunch of crap. I'm having difficulty finding any similarities between Apple and Samsung products. Who cares if the products look similar. Every TV in on the Best Buy showroom floor look the same. Its all about the logo on the front. What differentiates the iOS from Android is the app support, but many apps are cross platform now. Apple needs to polish their OS. On its best day, my iPad is an app launcher. On its worst day, my HTC Amaze is an app launcher. That's where the similarities end.
  • Why so mad bro ? If your htc amaze is great why do u even care , why are you here commenting ? Troll !
  • I don't understand? Why am I a troll? I come to this site everyday for updates and news. I have a MacBook, iPad3 and an iTouch 4th gen. I just don't own an iPhone. I read up on all the apps and how-tos. I didn't realize my tone sounded so angry. If I don't agree with everything Apple does, I deserve to be silenced? tbyers2, eat $#!T. Now, I'm mad bro.
  • I totally disagree, I have an Android and iPad plus iPod touch. The Apple OS kills Android in my opinion. iOS is smooth as silk and stable unlike Android with it's fragmented updated and apps that populate in the background even after you kill them.
  • What I am referring to are the widgets. I like information right there on the home screen without going into each individual app. As far as stability, I have never had any issues. I have only owned two Android phones. HTC Droid Incredible on Gingerbread and now a HTC Amaze on Ice Cream Sandwich. My phones have never crashed. IOS is probably so smooth because programs can't run in the background. In order to have a premium experience on Android, you need a premium phone. This is where IOS shines. Most of the hardware is the same. No low end phones. Android has all kinds of model phones and the low end cheap devices can't run the OS properly. This is where Android fails. But for day to day, overall use. I can see the weather, view my calendar, play music, view friends Twitter and Facebook updates, toggle Bluetooth and wifi and control screen brightness, etc all from the home screen. I haven't figured out how to do that on my iPad or iTouch yet.