July 27, 2012 — -- In the next few weeks we may learn more about Apple and the mobile technology market than we ever thought possible.
On Monday, Apple and Samsung finally go to trial in the U.S. to settle their patent dispute. Apple sued Samsung for intellectual property infringement (copying its iPad and iPhone) last year. Samsung responded with a countersuit.
The companies will argue over who conceived which features of today's mobile devices. It is expected to be the largest technology patent suit ever.
But along the way Apple will share details on the development of its products, revealing more about the secretive company than ever before.
And the information flow about Apple has already begun. This week a series of court documents, which were made available to lawyers and press, included an abundance of details about Apple's design and business practices. Included in the exhibits were over 50 photos of iPhone and iPad prototypes.
Click to see some of the highlights in our slideshow here.
The photos were first spotted by technology sites Buzzfeed FWD and The Verge. They show Apple's different design iterations over the years. Some iPad renderings date back to 2004, six years before the iPad was actually introduced.
Most of the images were exhibits in depositions of key Apple employees, including Jony Ive, Apple's lead designer.
"Steve Jobs and I had multiple conversations about the design of the first iPhone," Ive said during his deposition.
He also details design choices: "We were very clear at the early stages, as I described previously, that for -- for this idea of this infinity edge pool, this -- this oily pond, to -- to actually work, there couldn't be multiple buttons or features that would distract and make -- and undermine the design goal."
Christopher Stringer, another Apple designer, said in his deposition, "We make three-dimensional representations of most of the ideas that we consider to be good."
Stringer said Apple designers actually sit around a kitchen table to work on ideas. "There is no single path for defining how we come up with a new product at Apple, whether it be a new product platform or a generational change or update," Stringer said on Aug. 3, 2011.
Beyond design secrets, the documents reveal Apple's use of focus groups and market research, a practice Apple had publicly denounced before. Steve Jobs famously said, "It isn't the consumer's job to know what they want."
Apple is seeking over $2 billion in damages. If Samsung is found guilty of patent infringement it could result in the ban of specific products in the U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has already granted a preliminary injunction on the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well as on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus. The trial starts on Monday morning.