Apple’s iCloud platform has certainly gained some attention in the past few months, ever more so since the Cupertino-based company launched the service with its new iOS 5 firmware. Despite having one of the most recognisable ‘Cloud’ icons, Apple may not have actually created the design, in fact was could have been in circulation way before Apple utilised it, Scott Hanselman suggests.

As the Microsoft employee demonstrates in his post, the iCloud icon, a design that borrows heavily from MobileMe, and has received a fair bit of publicity for its design and its apparent use of the Golden Ratio - leading Apple fans to create Photoshop tutorials demonstrating how to make their own version of the design.

Hanselman further explains the origin of the icon and how he came to find it:

Funny thing about the Golden Ratio, if you look for it, you’ll find it everywhere.  It’s intuitive. Cool, also that they attribute this icon and it’s “brilliance” to the Apple Designers, except the icon isn’t from Apple, it’s straight from Pictos 1. I know, because we bought it from them for our site. Plus Pictos 1 has been around for years. It includes a regular cloud, clouds with arrows up and down and a lightening bolt cloud.

As he notes, there are only so many ways to draw a cloud.

However, after a quick bit of searching, it becomes apparent just how widespread the Cloud design has become, it’s almost like it has been accepted as the standard Cloud design without ever being given the official title.

Two apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace:

Screen Shot 2011 10 16 at 14.19.54 Apples iCloud icon: Its not as unique as you might think

If you expected the design would be copied on the App Store, you’d be right:

Screen Shot 2011 10 16 at 14.20.18 Apples iCloud icon: Its not as unique as you might think

Those four circles? They’re everywhere, and that’s not a bad thing.

It’s become so ubiquitous, I admit I hadn’t even noticed how widespread it had become. Apple might be credited with helping to bring it into the public consciousness (or creating it, if the two designs were created independently) they design may have been around for a number of years, maybe even before Cloud services even made their mark on the Internet.

Catch all the latest Apple news and discussion every day at TNW Apple.