Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

by XB on 27th July 2012

in News

Sony has a great design heritage, us Xperia owners know that having used some great mobile handsets over the last few years. This includes the Xperia NXT handsets, Xperia arc (a design classic in our eyes), Xperia mini and Xperia ray. Also who can forgot one of the brilliant Sony Ericsson handsets, the T68i. However, Sony has a history of great design overall, whether it be for their slim Walkmans, the monolithic Bravia TVs or their Vaio laptops.

Given this legacy, it is interesting to note that Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone. This information has surfaced in the ongoing patent infringement battle between Samsung and Apple. Samsung’s argument is that even if they did take inspiration on some aspects of their mobile design from Apple, Apple has done the same in the past and that this practise is commonplace in the consumer electronics market.

An Apple designer, Shin Nishibori, was asked to create “Sony-like” concepts of phones that carried the name “SONY” and “JONY”. The pictures were created around a year before the iPhone first appeared.

It is public knowledge that Steve Jobs admired Sony and when brain-storming ideas for the iPhone he even asked one of the designers: “What would Sony do?” It’s quite clear from looking at the pictures that these concepts look nothing like any Sony products that were on the market at the time and in fact they bear a stronger resemblance to the iPhone 4.

Let’s hope that Sony continues this strong emphasis on design, which many have looked up to, in future Xperia handsets. Both Apple and Samsung will begin their trial in front of a jury on Monday 30 July. The case is 11-01846 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Apple took inspiration from Sony when designing the iPhone

Via The Verge.

  • lovebmw

    i have to admit that phone is SEXY 

  • M Usman

    this design reminds me of a Rolex. classy

  • It is sexy but Apple screwed everybody for patenting the design. Now Apple is claiming that Samsung copied the design from Apple even though Apple stole the design from Sony. 
    How cold Apple patent the design if it was stolen in fist place? 

  • Felipe Pimenta

    Sorry, but… SUCK THAT, APPLE!!! BITCHES..

  • sempiroth

    is that Nintendo buttons ?

  • jx

     apple did not stole the design from sony. I am hoping that Sony and apple are in good terms, and i know its impossible but i am hoping that apple will let Sony to use iOS for xperia phones.

  • rafi

    Apple admire sony design and ask sony to help them with the iphone design. No wonder apple never taking legal action towards sony. Cause without sony iphone will not had what they have now. Thanks to samsung for this news as it might open people minded and look sony as a very strong contender in smartphone world. Smartphone not only about high spec itself. Its include design and many other element to bond with the user. Love sony since 1997 – till now.

  • paul4id

    Indeed, why can SONY not take inspiration from the Sony / Sony Ericsson of old???

    Frankly, none of the Xperia devices match the best of Sony Ericsson’s feature phones of old in terms of combined design and build quality. Perhaps the Ray comes close, but too small IMO. Upcoming SX looks good and a better size, but ruined by the stupid space-wasting and unergonomic on-screen buttons. (then the fact is that none of these will be truly competent devices without a hardware QWERTY keyboard :P)

  • NES

  • GuyCool Dude

    you seriously need to grow up. This is not your household where your brother will let you play his xbox if you lend him your laptop. This is the business world!

  • daniel

    You must be talking about xp pro. Lol.. sony just mention no new replacement for xp pro for this moment based on user demand for touch screen higer then xp pro type with hardware keyboard. Just like when the time people start losing interest in flip-phone and casing slider phone. I like ray size very compact and fit nice in human hands and tight jeans. I had it and i like it a lot.

  • Do you want take “Devices Freedom” away by using iOS? Hell no!

    Anyway nice idea, lol

  • Apple would not stand a change agents Sony in any court. Sony is ranked in the top 5 largest patent holders globally. 


    I have the Ray. Best Sony Ericsson phone there’s been imo and way better than any of the new Xperia models.


    iOS is for the dumb and child-like of the world.  It’s a boring OS with an awful, outdated UI and all the Apple fanboys rave about it because it’s so simple to use … Hmmm, much like many of it’s users.

  • smoq hydra

    Thanks Apple, for patenting that horrible rectangle and not letting other brands to release phones like that.

    btw, Ray, Arc or even Neo desing > iPhone’s

  • djabag

    Don’t forget that what we today see as Sony Mobile is still the same company as it was before. It’s still SonyEricsson with now just Sony as a owner.
    I don’t think mother Sony has so much to do whit the design of today’s Xperia models. Maybe only in the names like S and P.
    If you remember the Sony phones before they went together with Ericsson, they had a very different design then today’s Xperia. I had one in the 90’s whit the flipping out microphone.

    I think we still have not seen the fully integration with the Sony’s own design line.

  • s02

    Didn’t knew that. I always wondered why you could just slide to unlock on all the Xperia phones without Sony flamed by Apple

  • wyvern

    Anyone else get a touch of nostalgia looking at that wheel on the side? Remember sony using it in handsets and md players. Such a simple feature but it was a really handy way of controlling the device:)

  • samuraiScanners

    iphone 1,2,3 are quite similar to Dell X50v and Acer N300.

    I was wondering why the iphone4 has so many Sony industry design elements, when you comparing the phone shape to a Sony “Slim Tape/MD Walkman” in 1990s. Now this explains.

  • samuraiScanners

    and iphone4 looks like a rectangle version of PSP 3000…

  • Basharca

    Of course they’ll be inspired from Sony! Where do you expect them to take it from? Samshit loool 

  • daniel

    Flip mircophone.. yeah very compact… and very feel like me from the future at that year. ;-)

  • Damn, Apple stole Sony’s design. Now, I already know why Apple never sue Sony for its patent.

  • Myplagues

    Thats why i love my xperia s

  • iliketowritearticles

    But….but…..but….but…Apple revolutionizes everything!

  • jogwheel* :)

  • fried_egg

    more than ever, SONY need to ensure their name is front and centre of advertising, not lost in sub brands. it was SONY walkman, and SONY trinitron,   but these days its sony XPERIA and sony PLAYSTATION.  the old “its a sony” badge needs to come back, and the brand needs to be pushed as “quality” again.  People should be asking “i need a (whatever)” what does SONY do.

  • Jan

    i like my SONY XPERIA smartphone, its very cool… true spec-hungry fan will chose flagships. Want more? Keep happy with ur S and wait for more, quads in near future :)

  • AsadMulla

     I was just thinking about that yesterday. I was playing with my (now my sons toy) P990 and I was remembering the 5 way jog dial on the p900 and p910 i used to have. excellent stuff.

  • AsadMulla

     Jog dial

  • Fraulein

    “ask sony to help them with the iPhone design”

    Did you read the article?
    “An Apple designer, Shin Nishibori, was asked to create “Sony-like” concepts”

  • Murphy_Idek

    if Apple really do think like a Sony designers during designing their phone,i have never thought Sony could design a phone that ugly

  • Sodara_doung

    No Wonder…. not only Apple and Sammy …..the Other also copy from Sony’s Design ( King already Sony) Like The Previous post about Xperia Mint….Lt30p don’t make a decide yet until you see the office announce … remember the Arc and S :D

  • Sourjyadutta


  • Fraulein

    I can’t say I see any resemblance at all to the Dell nor Acer.

  • jolinard

    wheel dial

  • Oscar Mark

    Sony (swedes) are the best Phone designers ever!

  • SeaTHX

    Ray with 2.3 was great but with ICS…not so much, Xperia S are way better :)

  • no widgets -.-

  • The title of the article should have been “Apple has ripped-of SONY”. Isn’t Apple suing the hell out of Samsung for this reason??? Shouldn’t Sony sue apple as well????

  • Ashad Mamood

    Sony have no reason to sue Apple. Apple founder Steve Jobs greatly admired Sony design and company. Apple have every reason to sue Samsung. The Galaxy S is a clone of the Iphone. Any idiot can see the uncanny likeness!

  • Looks like a modern take of the old game boy design. Nintendo should sue.

  • boosook

    Guys, I don’t like Apple’s way of trying to stop competition by being a patent troll these days, but the truth here is that the pictures are renderings made by an Apple designer who made a design inspired by Sony produtcs, that is: he did not copy a Sony product and the product pictured has never been designed by Sony. He created a fake Sony product saying that he wanted to design a product “like Sony would do”, but it is anyway an Apple product. Samsung, instead, has certainly copied the design of the iPhone, both in the external shape of the phone, the software graphic elements and icon layout and even the packaging. Samsung has a good tradition in copying the design: they also copied the design of some Sony laptops. It is the only Android manufacturer that made a product that was so similar to the iPhone in everything, and they certainly did this intentionally. That said, I think that many Apple patents are ridiculous, but I also think that they might be right in accusing Samsung to be a copier. Every other manufacturer managed to create Android phones with a different style, both in the hardware and user interface design, so why Samsung did not do it?

  • Trojan

     So true, they have to re use the ” It’s a Sony” back.

  • Trojan

     That’s why I love Sony…

  • guangu188

  • Slender

    What now makes me scratch my head is the side button that the new sony xperia z has it, did sony steal that?

  • LaceeWearsPrada

    Apple stole that from Sony.. asdasd

  • Muhammad Afandi Uyub

    Sony ?3 (???)

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