How Apple Uses Color

Apple’s history with color is pretty black and white. First they release a product in black, or white. Next, they release a version in the color not previously released. Lastly, they release a variety of colors, and laud their brilliant (emphasis: mine) new colors. It’s really pretty predictable. The good news of course is that Apple is sticking to the pattern – indicating a bit of normalcy in the chaos that has descended upon the company since Jobs died.

What chaos? The stock price falling, and failure to release some expected major products, as well as a new civil war.

The Colorful iMac

The year was 1998. At the time, computers came in black or white, and that was it. Steve Jobs had recently introduced the iMac, and it was the number one selling PC model, but the mac was still far behind Windows in sales, so Apple decided to present a mac with a flair of color, the iMac G3. The release was a classic Jobsian keynote, flawless in every way, with emphasis on how they reinvented plastic to be colorful, and a fancy commercial lauding the color. God I miss those days.

The colorful iPod

When Apple reinvented the MP3 player (yes, they did – if you disagree, leave a comment and we’ll talk), they stuck to black and white. Nobody wants to risk flopping, and having an inventory in a dozen colors. Instead the iPod was a massive success, and pretty soon we had another classic Apple color presentation, product line, and commercial. And for every classic iPod generation (pretouch), there has been another round of colorful commercials.

The Colorful iPhone – the 5C

Finally, after years of only black and white iPhones, Apple released a colorful model, the 5C, to the public this year. The 5C continues Apple’s venerable tradition of color. With a colorful iPhone, I’m hopefully optimistic that Apple can and will produce some new and amazing products soon. For now, we can only dream.

Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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