Forget gold, would you want your next iPhone to come in wood veneer? Or other, customizable colors like the Moto X?

Forget gold, would you want your next iPhone to come in wood veneer? Or other, customizable colors?

While the iPhone 5s is rumored to be coming in 3 colors this September, including gold along with a less-expensive iPhone 5c is rumored in red, green, blue, yellow, and white, the newest phone from Google's Motorola subsidiary takes color two steps further. Phil Nickinson from Android Central, in his usual bad ass fashion, has done a complete Moto X review, but he's also gone into its customization system, Moto Maker. First, the phone:

Motorola's got an extremely capable phone on its hands with the Moto X. Save for a ho-hum camera, we've very much enjoyed it. It feels great, it looks great. What software has been added on by Motorola is mostly very helpful. It'll be available on every major U.S. carrier, and a regional or two as well. Custom designs being locked into AT&T are disappointing, but having to wait for the exclusive to lift should mean more designs will be available when it does.

Next, the body work:

I kinda love the wood. If it came in gold and wood, it'd look exactly like the panelling in my friend's father's old station wagon I remember so fondly from childhood.

The idea of choosing the design treatment from back to front to accent is exciting. Dell, and others, including case makers, have tried it in the past, but phones are more personal and increasingly more fashion oriented. Apple probably can't do this any time soon - spitting out tens of millions of the same phone demands economies of scale that oppose heavy customization. But would you want it if you could have it, or do you prefer Apple's preset color choices?

Source: Moto X review, Moto Maker

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Forget gold, would you want your next iPhone to come in wood veneer? Or other, customizable colors like the Moto X?


Limited selection of choices is fine with me.most people will put a protective cover over it anyway.

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I have always put an American-made real wood skin on the back of my phone (adhesive). I can't see not using one. The aesthetic is hard for me to elaborate on, but it seems to be primordial?

No Moto X for the UK, which is sad because I designed one I'd buy in a heartbeat.

I'm all for new colors. I like white phones generally, but I'm bored as hell of black. Not so keen on the wood finish though!

A bunch of phones are going towards colors witch is cool. But I'm not to interested in colors also. As long as my phone works.

The iPhone's popularity with case manufacturers and other customization offerings available make it a bit of a non-issue IMHO. Half of my friends prefer the purist approach and not deviating from Jony Ive's vision, while the other half insist on making it as unique as possible. Very few forego some sort of protection with the ones that do often needing to replace it sooner than they would prefer (not the phone's injuries could have necessarily been weathered by a competitor's phone) or stomach the odd scratches.

I think it's a waste actually. Most people uses third party cases of some type, which means the color of the actual phone itself is mostly, if not completely hidden.

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people put cases on their phones to differentiate them, for the most part. The whole point of customizing your phone, a la the Moto X, is so you can differentiate your phone without the hassle of putting a case on it.

Hardly. It isn't a waste at all. Why aren't we given the option? You can put a case on your phone ford all I care but for the people that don't put cases on give us the choice.

I love wood!!! Wait...

I like the Olive back, nice and discreet. My favs were the iPhone 4 and 4S. My buddy would screw off the glass back and would buy wood replacements. Those were cool. I'd love a bamboo iPhone.

I used to buy a case, and a screen protector but still buy the insurance. When the iPhone 5 came out I said bye to all but insurance and glad I did it. I like the look and feel of the 5 and appreciate the phone a lot more rather than having some big hunk of plastic wrapped around it, or in this case wood.

no, no, no, no, no.... colors (ipod touch) is a good selection. no carbon fiber and definitely no wood!!!

I would absolutely dig having an "iPhone maker" option to customize my phone. Every case I have ever used on my iPhone has been minimal and clear so I can see the design underneath. Being able to design the actual phone to match my preferences (and it being assembled in USA) is awesome and actually makes the Moto X very appealing to me... IF it wasnt Android OS.

I think that Motorola will do well with the customizations IF they drop the AT&T exclusive; but I think the iPhone would do significantly better.

Bc cosmetic changes are just that.....cosmetic. Might look like it, but def won't function the same. In no way is this a knock on Android, but in terms of usage (the way you do certain things on device) the 2 are pretty far apart. Not in a negative way, just a different way that someone "into" phones/tech wouldn't want to sacrifice unless they were actually looking to start "cross-platform" patterns, but I really don't think that's what we are discussing.

I use both systems off and on. You type on a virtual keyboard and press "send" to message someone. You tilt the phone back and forth to play games. You hold home to bring up the assistant app on each platform. Unlike the GS4 and HTC One, the Moto X's software is bogged down by a bunch of crap you won't use anyway. The screen on the Moto X is a little bigger, I'll give you that. That's about the only difference.

I'm not sure such a thing is possible given that Apple makes the iPhone 5 from one piece of aluminium. they would have to change that design and in doing so would sacrifice structural integrity. While it may be a bit boring, the iPhone5 is very solid and gapless. Would you trade that for options?

That said, a bamboo iPhone would be pretty interesting to me.

I like having a black phone and because the iPhone has soooooo many different cases available I can change the color or pattern on my phone when ever I so please all I have to do is buy a new case. For me thats more appealing than buying a phone in a set color

Not being able to customize the face of the Moto X is a fail IMO. You may as well buy the black or white one and snap a colored case on it. I felt the same about the "white" Nexus 4. You basically have a black phone with a white back. I would only want to customize an iphone if I could match the front and the back. Each to his own, I guess.

I have never had anything other the black and being a case kind of guy i will stick with black again. As much as i love the Gold mockup it would be silly if i am going to cover it with a case which I will. A great look the Allyson could accomplish on a 5 if I was not a case guy as good a job as she does with Annostyle.

I have stopped expecting from Apple after they launch iPhone 5. Before the launch of iPhone 5 there were hundreds of rumors in the market, but in the end what we got? A phone with a bigger screen (Only discussing design, as most of the rumors were based on design). Don't expect too much from Apple, they are going to sell you an older technology in a new Package.

Wood...This won't happen - this would be the ultimate in Skeuomorphism... something they are trying to break free from

Rather than have all these rumored or hypothetical colors/materials just for the iPhone, I wish Apple offered one other color for the iMacs (and maybe MacBooks): the white bezel (like the iPhones and iPads have).

Why would anyone reject options.. . all the people who said no they wouldn't like iphone maker are either lyring or are just ridiculous iFans..

Let's say you don't like the color options.. they still make the white and black .. so you could always buy that.. so why would you ever oppose options ..