Inspiration is a two-way street, and Apple's inspiration often comes from elsewhere: Jonathan Ive happily lists famous Braun designer Dieter Rams as an inspiration (and you can really see the Braun T3 radio in the original iPod), and Apple recently had to hand over £13 million (about AU$20 million, US$21 million) when it used the iconic Swiss Railway Clock in iOS without permission.
Most of the traffic, though, does seem to be heading in one direction: Apple's products are so widely imitated, people are copying things it hasn't even made yet.
Come with us as we discover some of the Apple kit that has, ahem, inspired other firms' products. If you're allergic to the word Samsung, you might want to sit this one out.
1. eMachines eOne
Its case is two-tone, white and translucent blue. The computer and the display are in a single case. And it runs Windows. eMachines' 1999 eOne wasn't so much inspired by the Bondi Blue iMac as a blatant, Windows-running copy of it, and eMachines' hope that it could avoid legal action by using a slightly different shape didn't pan out. Apple sent the lawyers in and eMachines settled for an undisclosed sum.
2. Samsung S i9000
We're sure you'll agree that Samsung's 2010 S i9000 doesn't look anything like the 2008 iPhone 3G, apart from the shape, and the rounded corners, and the grid of icons, and the shiny bezel, and the detail around the camera lens, and the buttons at the side. Nope, if you discount all of those things there's hardly any resemblance there at all.
If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, the Siri team must be feeling just great: Siri's distinctive look and feel has been imitated by Samsung's S-Voice, by the Speerit Android app and, as 9to5mac.com also discovered, by an app called Siri For Android that merely invoked Google's own voice recognition software.
4. Gooapple V5 3G
I think we can let the Gooapple V5 3G marketing copy speak for itself. "Gooapple follow the step of Apple, released new generation smartphone: Gooapple V5 3G. The new phone use same retina screen like iPhone 4S, the display resolution is 960x640 pixels. Gooapple V5 3G also upgrade the camera to 5.0 mega pixel." It's an iPhone 4-a-like running Android 2.3.
5. Dell XPS 15z
If it looks like a MacBook Pro, walks like a MacBook Pro and quacks like a MacBook Pro, it's probably a Dell XPS 15z. That's what Engadget reckoned, anyway, noting that while Dell said the laptop would have an "innovative new form factor" of some sort, "the company neglected to mention it would look like a MacBook Pro... From the aluminum chassis to the placement of the speakers, DVD drives and majority of ports... heck, even the tiny arrow key bars on the backlit keyboard and feet on the bottom of the chassis are cribbed from Apple's product."
6. Asus Eee Top PC
Asus is no stranger to Apple-inspired design - its 2004 W1N looked like a PowerBook and its S5Ne looked like a white iBook - and its Eee Top ET2203T PC looks like the 2011 iMac, albeit an iMac built after a few too many shandies. All-in-one design? Check! Black bezel? Check! Big silvery chin? Check! In fairness to Asus, the ET2203T also introduced features the iMac didn't have, such as a stylus-controlled touch screen and several brightly coloured stickers.