Apple strikes back at Samsung with 2005 iPhone prototype design

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Countering Samsung's allegations that the iPhone borrowed design elements from Sony, Apple has revealed an iPhone prototype dating back to 2005 that shares many design elements with the iPhone 4 released in 2010.

Referred to internally as "Purple," the prototype created in August 2005 was revealed in new court documents in the Apple-Samsung lawsuit, which is set to kick off in court today. The filing, highlighted by The Verge on Monday, shows a white iPhone dominated by a touchscreen on the front, with a home button below the display that reads "Menu."

The prototype design has flat sides and curved corners much like the iPhone 4, and the back of the device has a spot for a camera lens in the upper right corner. Apple revealed the "Purple" design in an attempt to show the court that its smartphone design was not stolen from Sony.

Samsung previously asserted in court that Apple's iPhone design was inspired by Sony's aesthetics. As evidence of this, it showed a prototype iPhone from 2006 from Apple designer Shin Nishibori that included the word "Jony," presumably in honor of Apple's lead designer Jony Ive, in the same font and style as the "Sony" logo.

But the "Purple" prototype revealed by Apple predates the "Jony" concept by months. Apple also said that Nishibori's Sony-inspired concepts were "an 'enjoyable' side project" that embellished a concept Apple had already designed.

Apple's "Purple" iPhone prototype dates back to August of 2005.

The lawsuit between Samsung and Apple has revealed a number of highly confidential internal documents from each company. Last week, dozens of unreleased iPhone and iPad design prototypes were disclosed, including an iPad with a kickstand, and a two-toned rear casing for an iPhone.

While the lawsuit centers around Samsung and Apple, a report in Monday's The Wall Street Journal suggests the lawsuit is a "proxy" for Google, maker of the Android mobile operating system found on most of Samsung's smartphones and tablets. If Apple were to earn a strong victory against Samsung, the implications could ripple beyond the South Korean electronics maker and affect Google's other Android partners from around the world.