Nope. They lost a bullshit East Texas infringement case based on dubious tech, then had that dismissed on appeal
In fact, they purchased the rights to use the work of Andrew Enright, an indy Mac developer. I remember, because the guy posted regularly on Ars Technica and there were high fives all around when he revealed that Apple had approached him, checkbook in hand
It's not an apple product. They're just the first ones to make it popular. That's NOT the same thing
Oh for fuck's sake, I'm so sick of this kind of desperate parsing to avoid crediting Apple with anything. Of course it's an Apple product. Enright came up with the idea, Apple purchased it, built on his work and made it a central metaphor for their software. It's the very definition of ownership. By your reasoning no one owns anything, since we can always figure out some precedent.
Again, if you make something in tech, no matter how "innovative" it may seem, there's basically a 100% chance that you're violating dozens of "lawsuits" Besides, coverflow always felt like an extension of jukeboxes to me. You know, they show off the albums, and you can page through them?
Interesting theory. RL examples of things implemented in software represent prior art? No one invented or owns "search" because people have been "searching for things" forever. Google, prepare to have your patents voided!