People like to debate about changes in current User Interfaces (UI). Apple copies Google, Microsoft copies Linux… etc – but the thing is… really not much has changed in a VERY VERY long time.
UI has more or less stagnated for a very long time now; there is a little tweaking here and there; but a basic set of core expectations is pretty well fixed in the minds of users.
Microsoft failed bigtime with Win8 because they ignored the fact that people have a different set of expectations for touch screen and for desktop/laptop UI. Merging them seemed like a fine idea; but really all lthey did is perform a shell game, moving everything around and declaring it “new”.
UI hasn’t changed a whole lot in a very long time. You have two modes: a windowed mode for larger screens, and a full screen mode for smaller screens.
Icons are ubiquitous; can’t escape them; been around since Mac 128; Apple wasn’t the first to use Icons but they had the greatest impact.
Since then, it’s been a game of cat and mouse; the cat becomes the mouse, the mouse becomes the cat.
The results of a Human Usability study that was funded by DARPA came up with the “Mother of all presentations” in 1968; outlying most of the features we take for granted today.
From NLS to Xerox to Apple to (Amiga, Tandy (Deskmate) and other forgotten systems) to Microsoft to X-Window to Palm Pilot to …
and then you get to the “chicken and egg” of who came first of today.