The Apple-Samsung 'thermonuclear war' over Android is over, but at least we got these iPhone prototype photos out of the battle

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  • Apple and Samsung settled a seven-year patent dispute earlier this week.
  • The terms of the settlement aren’t known.
  • For most people and Apple fans, there are no easy takeaways from the end of the case.
  • But please enjoy photos of several early internal iPhone models were made public as part of the court battle.

Apple and Samsung settled a court battle on Wednesday over Apple’s allegation that Samsung violated its patents and copied the design of the iPhone.

It’s the end of an era as the seven-year spat has come to an end. Apple fought the battle because late CEO Steve Jobs believed Android copied the iPhone, and he declared “thermonuclear war” on Android, according to Walter Issacson’s biography. Samsung, as the premier Android manufacturer, became the target, not Google.

Now, the two sides have settled. Terms of the settlement are not public, according to Reuters. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a $US399 million award against Samsung late last year, but district judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial on earlier this year. Samsung had previously paid Apple $US548 million.

Apple told Reuters that the “case has always been more about money.”

Apple fans may remember the legal battle not for legal minutia over design patents, but rather for giving us the best look ever into Apple’s prototype design process.

In 2012, Samsung filed exhibits that lifted the veil of secrecy around how Apple comes up with new products. Among sketches, emails, and computer files, one exhibit included a slew of photographs of actual iPhone prototype designs.

The designs range from a chunky iPad design to models that you might be able to recognise as early iPhones. It also includes several interesting design directions that Apple decided not to pursue, including a MacBook Air-like aluminium shell and an iPhone with eight sides and squared-off corners.

“While Apple has been able to keep some things private, there have clearly been more things made public than the secretive company would prefer,” Ina Fried wrote at the time for AllThingsD.

The photos have been reproduced below. Take a look:


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