Apple just did steal the idea and is trying to convince the world that they did create it.
The Verge is reporting that, in particular, Samsung pointed to the Diamond Touch device — developed in 2001 at the Mitsubishi Electronic Research Laboratory — which included predecessors of both pinch-to-zoom and Apple’s bounce-back effect. The device, available in the MERL lounge for anyone to use, saw images snap back into place, rather like they do in iOS, and featured an application called Fractal Zoom, which allowed users to manipulate and zoom in on images using multiple finger gestures.
DiamondTouch: Pinch to Zoom in 2001
Add pinch to zoom demo of Jeff Han that shows off a cheap, scalable multi-touch and pressure-sensitive computer screen interface in 2006 that may spell the end of point-and-click. Read now Multi touch and pinch to zoom years before Apple copy it!