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Apple’s new Nano and iPods vaguely remind us of Nokia Lumias

Design and innovation is hard. And a lot of times, those in the industry tend to arrive at the same conclusion, even if designers took different paths and they weren’t watching the competition. Such is the case when two things look 'inspired' by each other. But all too often accusations of "copying" abound when in fact, it was more a meeting of general design trends.

The Zeitgeist of Style, if you will.

In other words, we’re not accusing Apple of anything here except maybe of not being too different than current fashions. (It's cool, Apple. You don't always need to lead.) What we are saying is that these two “technology things" look very familiar. Kind of.

Top: Nokia Lumia 820 shells. Below: new Apple iPod Touches

Apple’s new Nano iPod is actually way tinier than a Lumia device and last we checked, not a phone either. But when a Nano is blown up to the size of a Lumia it sure looks familiar.

Likewise with Apple’s new iPod Touch line, which seems to borrow heavily from Nokia’s latest colors. Of course once again in fairness, even Nokia’s color choices were not original as they clearly state in their own piece on the topic. Apple has actually always had multi-colored devices, like the Nano and Shuffle—but this year they added the Touch series too.

So we’re not accusing Apple of anything malevolent.  But clearly the strategy that Nokia has been pushing with their latest Lumia phones is catching on. Black and white phones are very 2010 (whoops, sorry iPhone 5).

Heck, even Microsoft is digging it too. But we'd still love to see what Daring Fireball's John Gruber thinks.

Thanks, Ryan C. and Joel M., for the images. Apple quote image creator: Unknown.

Head to iMore.com for more information on the newly announced iPhone 5.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

166 Comments
  • 1st!!!! sue sue sue lol
  • Lol. It does indeed seem inspired by the Lumia 800/900 design. Wow, even the great Apple gets design inspiration from Nokia.
  • The black iPod Nano and the black Lumia 800 are identical except for the face buttons.
     
    http://i.nokia.com/image/view/-/222660/lowResTrans/1/-/Searay-black-Front-png.png
     
     http://images.apple.com/ipod-nano/images/bump/slate.png
  • shhhhh sue sue sue lol
  • I reckon it looks closer to the Nokia N9, especially with the round icons..
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c7/Nokia_N9.jpg/351px-Nokia_N9.jpg
  • Actually your lucky Apple didn't sue. the rounded edges and flat back was used by Apple first in teh 2nd gen nano. Please get your facts right
  • Im not sure about that, just like Apple is suing Samsung for design similarities the are intended to deceive, they would have done the same to Nokia. I think they should set an example with Apple just like Apple is doing with Samsung
  • They're not suing them because WP8 is such a small player that they are no threat
  • Or Nokia wields the patent and not apple. Gtfoh
  • But it's a hardware design that they supposedly have patented therefore player size shouldn't matter. Having the devices completely removed and thereby eliminating the potential growth of becoming a future threat
  • Apple once said, "not every phone have to look like iPhone" and exemplified lumia as different looking phone
  • Troll move along
  • Are you really serious in your comment?
    That goes far beyond flagrant copying. AAPL sure has some big balls to come out with that /cough... knockoff.There is no design innovation on the part of AAPL there at all. Ttruly dispickable...
     
    Oh. Hey WP Central. Please put a spell checker in!
  • Apple copied and that´s it. They can´t event remotely think about suing Nokia cause Nokia is gonna fire back and we all know what would happen. And the Lumias don´t look like old nanos at all, except for the colors, so STFU. 
  • Lumia has a pillow back and tapers at the ends, not a flat back like the nanos.
  • Lol. The Trolls are out in force. Oh yes, of course rounded edges and flat backs were invented by Apple. Blimey. I'd better warn the knife manufacturer of that kitchen knife that I was using back in the 90's with just such a rounded edge and flat back, they'll be really pissed.
    Desperate Troll is desperate. Apple the original Patent Troll is now in a position to be sued due to blatent... I'll say it again blatent copying of tech. Something which they have gone on record several times as decrying. 
    Go back you your yesterday's tech that they announced... yesterday. Innovation my arse.
  • I agree with that. I absolutely love the Lumia designs and can't wait unitl i can get my hands on the 920. But when the 800 came out back in the day (and the N9 before that) i felt that i looked very similar to the iPod nano 2nd gen.
  • It's the same design of the old Nano. So if you're saying the stole this from Nokia, then Nokia stole it from apple.
  • Pretty sure Microsoft and apple have an agreement of some kind so I don't believe there will be suing of any kind between Nokia (may as well be apart of Microsoft) and apple
  • Ah yes. That old chestnut. With the Nano's that you are talking of, Apple invented colour. Given the fact that the only thing that the Nano's had in common was rounded edges and colours then we're all going to hell in a handcart. I've got several pieces of tech that were coloured with rounded edges, every single one of them could bankrupt Apple given the rules you're proposing.
  • Oh boy here we go! Sick em Nokia!
  • They resemble quite a lot, especially the nano. It's practically a scaled down lumia. A total rip off
  • Apple had their multicolor options since the first Nano was released with different color options so let's give them that....
    BUT!
    That new Nano is obviously a copy of the Lumia 900 and 920!!! They can't argue with its size because that's the same situation with the Galaxy S/iPhone and the iPad/Galaxy Tab. 
  • well since you mention previous nano's the lumia backside looks very similair to the 4g nano so 
     
  • The problem is that you can't patent colors
  • This is just...delicious. It feels so good to be on this side of the argument for once. I am also glad that Nokia announced their products last week so that the copying seems obvious.
  • I hadn't thought of that, great point. Had Nokia gone after, surely others would be accusing Nokia of something similar...
  • But the lumia 900 looks just like that too so we could still say Nokia had the design first
  • The design before Lumia 900 is the same as N8.
  • Bummer. I had to be the bearer of bad news...your own website is trolling you.
    http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
    Did the Lumias come out before THOSE?
  • How so? They're talking about the new models looking like Lumia's, not the old models, and not just the colours.
  • Do you know that Nokia have a design patent for lumia
  • Damn! Apple must have patented colours. Better put my eyes out before they sue me for the colour blue. LOL
  • And when the Lumia 800 first came out, people said it looked like a big iPod Nano.
  • Yeah, I was going to mention how full-circle things came. I just need to find links for that...seemed more hearsay than media opinion, but I could be wrong.
  • how can they accuse nokia  the lumia 800 has been there  for a year so ? But the lumia does look similair to the nano 4g backside so  both are doing it , i would say
  • They can't say the 800 looked like a blown up iPod nano because the 800/900 is a rehash of the Nokia N8 right? Which has existed for some time right?
  • That what I said on my post that N800 and N900 look like the N8
  • http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
  • It did, but not in the way that the nano looks exactly like the Lumia 900.
  • seems exactly to me.
    http://i.imgur.com/6tPJ3.jpg
  • I think you're forgetting the Nokia N8. Yup, announced April 2010. Oops.
  • That shows a random asian chat page?
  • Classic. Absolutely classic. So they can sue due to the fact that if you assemble enough of Apple's hardware, stack it on top of each other then it looks vaguely like an Apple product. 
     
    Tell you what. Give me enough stuff and I'll stack it in exactly the right combination that will enable me to sue you for looking like my stack.
  • I see what you did http://twitpic.com/au80on
  • Yea, the lumia line has curves that reminds me of my old Ipod mini 4gb.  This design actually originates from Apple, they are just going back to its roots.
  • The Lumia 800/N9/Lumia 900 is basically an evolution of Nokia's design language that stems from the N8.
     
    I'm waiting for an iPhone fan to claim that the iP5 is the first phone to use anodized aluminium -  I will gladly point them to my N8 :)
     
    With that said, I would have really loved to have a Lumia made from anodized aluminium.
  • I would be happy with VaporMg.
  • I think MS should now go ahead and make the surface WP8 now to set a new standard since Apple simply stretches the 4/4S, they opens the door for MS to lead in a dual category software/design esthetics
  • I was thinking the exact same thing as I was watching the live blog. Lol
  • Their iPhone 5 was a let down so now they have to steal something else. Freaking thieves.
  • If it's a let-down you wouldn't know it from reading the press! As expected, they're gushing all over it.
  • Not surprising of Isheep.
  • The Apple cattle gather around the feeding troughs to consume whatever's in it: they'll accept anything.
  • What you mean the sites that were in Apple's pockets anyway? Cause the ones I've been reading have all said that Apple have lost it.
    iSheep have such a strange view of the world.
  • http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
    Thieves? BTW, those predate the N9.
  • See, the problem is that Nokia filed a patent on the Lumia 9xx design. Theoretically, apple just violated a patent. So, I think EVERYONE will agree.... GET THEM!!!!!!
  • Ha, you're here too?
  • Can Nokia sue apple??
  • Remember the phrase from the Apple/ Samsung lawsuit. "not every phone needs to look like an iPhone". Well how about "not every nano needs to look like a lumia" :D
  • Yeah, and they used the L900 as an example, so clearly Apple doesn't think the Lumia 800/900 resembled any of there products, otherwise they would go after Nokia too
  • Too bad Nokia doesn't have a design patent. Do they? No clue, that would be awesome.
  • I really hope Nokia isn't so low that they would sue Apple over an iPod looking "similar" to their phone. Hopefully Nokia has enough pride to stay out of these childish games. Hopefully..
  • I think Nokia is too good for that. However, it does not mean they won't poke fun at Apple as they did with Samsung and HTC in the past. Haha.
  • Haha ya you'll see some intentional ad campaigning for sure
  • Oh boy. This is gonna get interesting.
     
    I actually like the new Nano A LOT. I wished they had a 32GB version.
  • I don't understand why people would spend double the money when a single device your cell phone can already doe what an iPod can. Guess the iPhone still isn't slim enough
  • Because some people want a purely media device where they can load all their music, movies, and pictures, and then use it for an extended period of time without worrying about killing their phone's battery.
  • Well why the continual cry for more space on the cell specifying for music/media storage....sounds contradictory to me. And if that's the case 8-16GB is all a cell needs
  • I agree with you!
  • I want 1 device, and I want as much storage as I can buy. MicroSD is perfect as I can switch out entire music collections, or perhaps fill one with movies when I'm travelling.
  • I understand the confusion. I know I personally enjoy having a separate media device (in my case an iPod Touch) so that I can listen to music and watch video as much as I want and not have to worry about my phone's battery. If my phone had a replaceable battery however, I'd simply stock up on spares and load all my media to my phone though, but not everyone has that option (Lumia 900 owners) so I can see why people would seek out other options.
  • I'm not one of those who cries for more storage on cell phones. 16GB is fine and the 920 more than satisfies my needs with 32GB. For a separate music device I want A LOT of storage.
  • Because our phones don't have enough storage. The 920 is still gimped to 32GB :(
  • agreed.. and what is the use of the gigantic 200+GB of space in iPhones if they ain't used entirely??
  • Looks like Apple needs a new Design team!!! I5 looks the same now this. Hope they get the same Judge that ruled against Samsung, (If they go to court).
  • Now, now, that's a bit insulting to Nokia's Lumias
  • This remark, we love!
  • SUE SUE SUE!!!
  • Sueeeeeeeee!!!!!
  • iCopy
  • That should be a news report intro statement when they should the similarities; but you know the media isn't going to do anything to taint the publics image of Apple even if it's true and they will do everything in their power to keep WP out of the news
  • Fantastic.... Nokia has done something truly amazing to wp7/8, their design is great and their ad campaign has done wonders for people to see these lovely phones.
    I agree these nanos look like the 800/900 but I also think Nokia stay well clear of litigation. Apple may have "beaten" Samsung but in the consumers eyes they've come across as arrogant bullies. I've got a few isheep friends that, now the surface(if it ever surfaces in UK) and the sexy lumias are coming, will be moving to the MS camp. I've been WP7 since day one and in very much looking forward to getting my sexy new Nokia lumia 920 and surface rt. Btw thanks wpcentral love the site and think your doing great things for wp too, always enjoy your articles Daniel :D
  • Thanks! It's a blast for me too.
  • Trolling your own fan base, Daniel? You got them lathered up over Nokia actually copying Apple, not the other way around.
    http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
    There are other Nanos, too, that predate the N9.
  • First of all, your link doesn't work. Second, the N8 was the original which predates the aforementioned nano. Third, and most importantly, if you're going to be a dick, at least get your facts right.
  • Oh my that is just too funny.... but of cause apple will get away with it.
  • Omg!! They're identical!!! And I'm glad Nokia has good taste, because it looks terrible in white!
  • Nokia should not sue, like so many here say (mostly jokes I know). Rather, they should publicly state that they will not sue for such a petty matter and fully understands that Apple wants to follow suite on their gorgeous designs. Be the bigger man and kick them in the balls at the same time. :-)
  • If they say anything at all, it will be a PR nightmare, much like the WP8 Lumia 920 camera/non-functional OS disaster. Apple would start the humiliation by showing them these:
     http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
  • Just take a look at all the Nokia BP-5M, BP-6M batteries etc! Man, put a screen on those and it's a Nano, but with a larger battery! ;)
     
    Edit: Oh, and it even comes in white BP-6MT!
  • Originality has long gone out of style.
  • Haha that's historical
  • Hysterical my bad
  • Awesome catch.  But when you think about it, the iPod Nano can trace its design back to the 2nd generation Nano (released Sept 2006), while the Lumia 800/900/820/920 can trace their design back to the Nokia N8 (released Sept 2010).  
    But that won't stop me from sharing this article with friends.  :)
     
  • It certainly wouldn't be the first time for Apple. I remember them completely ripping off the 1954 Regency TR1 (the worlds first transistor radio) for their iPod. Even sold it in the same colors. See link. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ousby/48700851/
  • Thanks NIST you just blew my mind!
  • I like you, always seem to have good comments and replies. Hope you win a contest someday. I'd like to win one also. lol
  • I was wondering why I liked the Nano more than the iPhone. It looked like a Windows Phone. I was just telling my coworker that it had distinct look that resemble my Lumia. *true story*
  • Actually the nokia phones look way better than the ipod nano, lol.  They do look a like though.  I have one of the square ipod nanos and I am curious to get my hands on one of these new ones...  I don't think they look that great really.
    To the defense of apple, they were using the rounded sides and flat bottom/tops on their ipods for some time now.  Combine that with a colorful selection and the industry standard beveled screen and it is bound to look similar to nokia's style.
  • It's funny how I always wondered if the colors were inpsired by CMYK and turns out they were. Although secretly I want other colors these colors are classic.
  • Sorry, I love Windows Phone but I hate when people are biased. The Lumia 800 and so on are basically stretched out iPod Nanos from 2010, therefore, Nokia copied the design, not Apple. I wish there was a tech website where writers are not biased in any way.
  • Not really. The Nokia N8 and N9 will tell you a different story.
  • Nano 4th gen predates both N8 & N9 (2008).
    http://bit.ly/NpbRDF
  • technically those 4th gens doesn't look anything like the Lumias. but these new ipods really looks like Lumia though.
  • When I first saw it, it reminded me of the Zune HD and the Flash memory models without the home button in the front.
  • Look at it this way people will buy an iPod Nano, want a phone to match, will buy a Nokia Lumia 920 and a year later say... wait I didn't buy an iPhone? I could have sworn they were the exact same thing, they looked so similar... rofl
  • This article is pretty much bs. The nano and touch a couple generations ago already had quite a similar design to this. Couldn't you say Nokia ripped off of that? And anyway, the biggest rip off by Apple was of Lian-Li, but no one knows who they are so they don't care. But Lian-Li has copied some of Apple's stuff too and they all do it, Apple is a bitch for ever bringing it up
  • Did you read the article? We specifically don't suggest that they copied. Read the whole first paragraph when we talk about design and similar ideas converging. Gotta work on that reading comprehension quiz-before commenting feature soon...
  • I realize that was a joke but it'd be such an awesome feature lol
  • All it is is a neutral sounding preface to lead into the implication that Apple stole from Nokia
  • I would have to agree that it looks like a shrunk down 900, strikingly so I would say. The reasons are obvious.
    "But the Lumia is a copy of an earlier Nano.":
    about the only thing similar on a Lumia and previous Nano was a flat top and rounded edges, that's it... And considering Nokia's phones were one piece while the Nano used different pieces on top and bottom (how the internals were installled) I have no idea how you come to that conclusion.
    Now the new Nano and the Lumia 900 (more so than the 920 due to the 900 having flat glass), look very similar and I have a feeling if this happened the other way around you would see Apple trying to sue Nokia. The gaps on the top and bottom as well as the bottom bezel area is pretty unmistakeable.
    The 'funny' part about this is Apple's lawyers having bandied about the 900 as a way to make an original device... Looks like they really liked the design.
    It wouldn't be such a issue if Apple wasn't going around and surfing everyone for designs that are a lot less close than these two are.
  • eactly. exactly. exactly. The only reason we are picking on apple is because they pick on everyone. Just as you said, if the tables had been turned I'm not so sure Nokia would be safe from litigation.
  • Long time lurker. But if you bother to look at the previous generation of ipod nano, you'll see it keeps the same design as current except it's enlarged. You can say the nano is a stolen design for Lumia.
  • Yeah, I was laughing really hard when I saw this iPod Lumia being introduced especially after all that patent bullshit.
       
  • This just in Apple sue Nokia over Nano copy design... and wins....
  • The Lumia remind me of the iPod Nano that came out several years ago... It's getting ridiculous, can't we just stop with this who copied who... Its going too far.
  • well apple used a lumia in court to show samsung an example of what isnt copying
  • but like the judge said in court to samsung if it is a copy its a poor copy
  • Well to me if she really felt that way, she wouldn't have ruled in Apples favor. If that was said it insinuates the people wouldn't be fooled and thereby not purchase the device. Honestly I think she has an iPhone and is an isheep. She should have been removed from the case.
  • righttttttttttt. well fellows yall dont know the rules, if apple copies its not copying, if someone copy apple its copying, the reason why is that apples have been here since the existing of the earth, there fore thier copyrights pre date the existance of planet earth, i think they were there in the garden of eden, so no one can copy apple but if apple copyies, you have to say it not a copy or risk, going to the under world for all eternity 
  • Remember  in the garden of eden apple is the root of all evil.
  • Its actually disobedience lol but I get the reference :)
  • Is it just me or does it not only look like a lumia, but a really ugly lumia with no class?
  • Looks like a Nokia phone running meego. Just look at the start screen on it.
  • You know I just read where somone said that iOS is easier to use than WP....I'm like WTF  LOL
     
  • They must be on crack!!
  • Honestly, I always felt the Lumia's looked a bit like the Ipod Nano's.. It was a great design!
  • LMAO!!! GO NOKIA :D APPLE SUX
  • I smell law suit...
  • No wonder Apple was referencing the Nokia phones in their closing arguments against Samsung.
  • SO glad Nokia presented first or else they would have been accused of copying for sure!!
  • Nokia and Apple are planning a duopoly.
  • Sue 'em bitches!!! ;)
  • Personally, I hate everything Apple makes and does And I am a diehard Nokia fan. But truthfully, Apple had the design first with the 2nd Gen iPod Nano. Then the design came on the N9, then Lumia 800, 900, and 920
  • Sweet! You used my picture! My ms paint skills at work :)
  • The bottom half of my photo is from CNET, btw. Top is from Nokia's website for the 820's wireless charging shells.
  • They are similar, but that's not enough to say it's a copy. For one thing, no one is going to confuse the two devices. The nano is ugly, IMHO. Besides, all this publicity is good for promoting the Lumia line. Now Apple lovers who see the comparison will be curious about the other device.
  • Are you guys stupid? It's Nokia copying the design of previous Gen of iPod nano.
  • No clearly Apple stole the design from Nokias old batteries (just look at BP-6M etc)! And let's not stop there, Nokia probably stole the design from some nice square cookies somewhere...
  • So you really don't know nokia designs so you call people stupid? If apple saw Nokia copying they would of sued Nokia along Samsung and wouldn't show off a lumia 900 in that court room...just imagine apple showing the lumia 900 off and said "Look at the software...its different...but the design of course looks like our products!" they didn't because they know better!
  • Well yeah, it kinda look like the Meego N9s. :)
    To all who have been saying that Lumia is the one that has copied, well no since Lumias have tiles not static icons(?) like the (N9 and new ipods).
  • Well it looks pretty similar but the lumia 820 also looks like an iPhone 3gs, at least a bit(the buttons, the rounded shape etc.) Its hard to innovate this