Apple’s iBooks application for the iPad looked familiar to some independent developers when it was demoed yesterday. Now claims are flying that Apple was more than a little inspired by a Mac app called Delicious Library and an iPhone app that took design ideas from it called Classics.

Wil Shipley, founder of Delicious Monster which developed Delicious Library, was tweeting throughout yesterday’s Apple iPad announcement and he wasn’t happy. He claims Apple was inspired by his app and hired most of his old developers too.

Shipley wrote: “No, Apple didn’t license iBooks from me. They just copied me. Ah well.” Later he tweeted again to complain: “I guess it’s not enough Apple has hired every employee who worked on Delicious Library, they also had to copy my product’s look. Flattery?”

Shipley’s Delicious Library app used a bookshelf view that is strikingly similar to the one Apple’s used for iBooks. TechCrunch notes that Delicious Library won an Apple Design Award twice and was a runner-up on another occasion. Apple bestows those awards.

While iBooks is currently on for ebooks, Delicious Monster covers all types of media. Delicious Library did exist as an iPhone app until July but had to be removed after Amazon changed its API for pulling product data.

Wired also reports that Apple may have got its design clues from Classics, another iPhone app that took Delicious Library’s aesthetics as its jumping off point. Classics developer asked Shipley for permission.

Classics may survive on the iPhone as its no certain that iBooks will be ported over from the iPad but its developers have made it free for a limited time just to show folk that they did the bookshelf UI before Apple.

Out now | £free | iTunes (via Wired | Techcrunch)

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