On the heels of Apple's win over Samsung, some in the tech industry have pointed out that Apple has been known to copy electronics designs that its designers found aesthetically pleasing. Not only have they mentioned it, they've also created a photo essay of the similarities between Apple products and Braun radios and speakers from the 1950s and 1960s.
Besides basing the physical appearance of some of its electronics on Braun products designed by Dieter Rams, head designer at Braun for almost 30 years, Apple also based the graphic interface of the iPad music app on the look of the Braun tape recorder.
Presumably, any patents that existed for the Braun products have long ago expired, while Apple's design patents for the iPhone, iPad and other products are obviously still going strong (just ask Samsung.) But it's interesting to see the vintage electronics that gave Apple's designers so much of their inspiration.
Many new products are based on classic designs. In Lee Iacocca's autobiography he wrote that when the team at Ford was designing the Mustang, they took their inspiration from the European roadsters of the 1930s.