Is iBooks 2 really just Push Pop Press rebranded?

Following today’s Apple announcement, one that revolved around iBooks, Mike Matas — the designer behind much of Apple’s iOS UI and architect of Push Pop Press — took to Twitter in protest:

After inspecting several videos and pictures showcasing Apple’s upcoming iBooks 2, it’s hard to disagree with Matas. To even the untrained eye, there’s little doubt that Apple derived inspiration for iBooks 2 from Matas’s work on Push Pop Press. Superficially, at least. It’s unclear if Matas used HTML5 and Java to build Push Pop’s technology, as Apple did with iBooks 2, but the end result’s sure look the same.

ibooks pushpop2 Is iBooks 2 really just Push Pop Press rebranded?

Apple’s iBooks 2 has something over Push Pop Press, though: It’s not just theoretical. Push Pop Press, like iBooks 2, was conceived to create content, specifically books — but it never panned out. In fact, Push Pop Press was acquired by Facebook in August of last year, and it hasn’t seen any further development since then.

Whether Facebook saw Matas’s concepts and considered going the route Apple unveiled today is impossible to say. What is clear, though, is that Apple didn’t just see the opportunity, they created and have now marketed the opportunity to the public.

Update: AppleInsider has posted a rumor suggesting Steve Jobs may have scuttled Push Pop Press’s plans after it was discovered that its founder allegedly built the company’s physics engine using patented Apple technology, despite knowing about Apple’s parallel plans for advancing iBooks.

Update 2: Daring Fireball’s John Gruber says that according to his sources Steve Jobs essentially  warned Push Pop Press that Apple was going in the same direction, and that it was not a legal threat, but rather a competitive warning.

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