Apple Claims This 2005 iPhone Prototype Proves It Didn't Copy Sony

It came to light last week that Samsung was planning to attack Apple based on the fact that its iPhone design copied Sony products -- and the evidence was convincing. But Apple's response suggests there were convincing iPhone prototypes kicking around well before the Sony-esque model was dreamt up.

In a document [PDF] filed to the courts by Apple, the company points to a prototype device, pictured above, which was codenamed "Purple". It bears plenty of similarity to the iPhone we know, and Apple claims it pre-dates the Sony-style device by months.

"Purple" was apparently first shown off within Apple back in August 2005. What's more, the court document claims that Shin Nishibori's Sony-inspired design was just "an 'enjoyable' side project". That may well be the case, but it's up to the court to decide exactly how important each design was in contributing to the iPhone that finally made it to market. If they work out where to sit in time, the court case is due to kick off first thing this morning.

If that's not enough iPhone design for you, All Things D has compiled a gallery of all the prototype iPhone designs and renders that have appeared in the recent legal documents. We've already shown you many of them, but they're still worth a look. [Verge]

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