Apple Wins Design Patents for iTunes Icon & iPod nano Packaging

Along with many other technical patents granted today, Apple has been granted design patents for the iTunes 10 icon and sixth generation iPod nano packaging, Patently Apple revealed. The iTunes icon patent is particularly noteworthy, as it lists former Apple CEO Steve Jobs as a designer, and was granted nearly one year after his death.

The current iTunes icon, unveiled in September 2010 with the launch of iTunes 10, eschewed the old icon’s compact disc design for a simple blue bubble, a move Mr. Jobs said emphasized the growth of digital music over old notions of physical distribution.

iTunes 10 icon design patentThe patent's illustration (left) and the icon's final design (right).

The new design was initially met with criticism, however, with many users feeling that the new icon did not live up to the high standards set by other Apple icon designs.

Shortly after its unveiling, Joshua Kopac, a designer for advertising firm ValuLeads, emailed Mr. Jobs about the icon:


Enjoyed the presentation today. But … this new iTunes logo really sucks. You’re taking 10+ years of instant product recognition and replacing it with an unknown. Let’s both cross our fingers on this….

Mr. Jobs issued a characteristically terse reply:

We disagree.

Sent from my iPhone

On the physical product side of things, the patent covering the iPod nano packaging, D668,143, was filed April 13, 2012 and lists 15 designers, including famed Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive.

iPod nano patentThe iPod nano's packaging illustration (left), and the final design (right).

Apple has long paid close attention to product packaging and has taken steps in recent years to minimize its size, weight, and environmental impact.

The design patent award for the sixth generation iPod nano packaging arrives just as Apple is about to release the seventh generation nano with a drastically different design.