When Apple launched the iPhone 12 lineup, there was a noticeable difference between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models. No, I'm not talking about the camera, materials, or other features — I'm talking about the color.
At launch, the iPhone 12 came in five brilliant colors. Of course, one was white, and one was black, but the three other colors were a fresh look for Apple devices that was super appreciated. Apple went on to launch a purple iPhone 12 a while later. However, the iPhone 12 Pro Max got four colorways, three of which were the same old colors they have been offering for years: Space Gray, White, and Gold. By far the most interesting was the new Pacific Blue color, which is the color I have seen the most of in the wild — everyone I know who got an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max got the Pacific Blue one. Could it be that color attracts people? Yes! That's not a secret.
Apple's history with color
We all know that the iPhone started as space gray/black (although the first iPhone was black and silver), and when they started offering the white color with the iPhone 4, it was a pretty big deal. A white iPhone 4 was my first iPhone, and one of the biggest reasons I bought it was the fact that every other smartphone was a black brick.
Of course, a couple of years later, Apple did dip its toe into offering more colors with the iPhone 5C, which was marketed as a cheaper iPhone for consumers. Of course, we know now that the iPhone 5C was a bit of a failure, but that's more to do with the phone itself and less to do with the color.
After that experiment, it would be years before Apple expanded past the space gray, white, gold, and rose gold that became somewhat standard around its iPhone lineups. The iPhone XR was the next big splash of color and was a nice breath of fresh air. The iPhone XR also was a great phone that sold quite well.
Since then, Apple has offered a colorful lineup for its base model iPhones, but the Pro-tier iPhones have to be relegated to a more muted color palette. Even the Midnight Green and Pacific Blue options are kind of bland compared to the vibrant colors of the iPhone 12 lineup. So why does Apple keep holding back colors from its pro devices?
A colorful theory
I'm not going to claim to know I have any real inkling into why Apple makes the decisions it does when it comes to color, but there is a general sense that pro devices are meant to look sleek, blend into surroundings, and not clash with the decor of an office or workspace. The minimalist movement in design is still in full swing, which means a lot of tech stays in neutral colors. After all, if you have a Mac mini hooked up to a couple of monitors, and those monitors are black, having a mint green Mac mini may look out of place.
The problem with that theory is that it pigeonholes many other people who love color and use pro devices into a drab and dreary world of whites, grays, and blacks. Heck, some people might not even know they like color until they try it. When the iMac (2021) was announced, I truly thought the colors were odd. I was so used to iMacs being gray and black that the colors looked awful. However, I bought a blue one, and once I got it on my desk, I completely changed my mind.
Give us options
The fact of the matter is people love options. Whether you're a pro or not, new colors on devices are exciting. We've heard rumors that a colorful MacBook Air could be launching as early as next year. While I applaud Apple for getting some color into its MacBook lineup, I would highly encourage them to consider doing the same for the MacBook Pro in the future as well.
Not every pro is the same, so stop making your pro devices the same.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.