Over the past few months, Apple has been the company crying foul over intellectual property. Now it seems they've infringed on someone else. The new clock design released with iOS 6 looks an awful lot like the clock from the Swiss Federal Railway Service, also known as the SBB.
When the new operating system is installed on the iPad, Apple's clock face goes from black to white with a red dot second hand and black notches. Unfortuantely, these details were designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944 and trademarked and copyrighted by the SBB. The clock is synonymous with the Swiss rail service and has even been licensed out to Modaine, a Swiss watch maker.
It doesn't seem like this was done on purpose, even the SBB noted that it was proud that a brand like Apple was using their design, even if they were doing so without authorization. Despite that, Apple is acknowledging the lapse in design judgement and have reached a licensing agreement with SBB that allows them to use the clock image on devices running iOS 6. Both parties have opted to keep the terms of the agreement private, so there's no information on how much Apple had to pay to keep the clock.
No one likes it when companies steal from each other, but even in the tech blogging community there has been a slight smirk on the faces of everyone that has been following Apple's patent wars. The fact that a company so stringent and picky when it comes to others stealing their designs did the same thing without even knowing it reminds us that despite their seemingly global domination of the industry, they are still run by humans. All it takes is one software upgrade and the evidence is clear: We all make mistakes, even Apple.