I’ve been buying iPhones ever since the original came out in 2007. The OG iPhone launched in a single color, which was basically a mostly silver back — the bottom was black and the front glass was black. The iPhone 3G and 3GS came out afterward, but got rid of the silver on the back in favor of a full, glossy black plastic. Then the iPhone 4 came out, and it was the first iPhone to come in a different color: white, though there was a long delay before that became publicly available.
Since then, Apple has made its iPhones a lot more colorful. Apple has never been a stranger to color — the first iMacs were bright, colorful, and just downright fun — so this was a welcome change. But there's still one problem.
The evolution of colorful iPhones
For a while, Apple stuck with just black/Space Gray and white/silver finishes on the iPhone. It wasn’t until the iPhone 5s that Apple added a third color to the lineup: gold. Apple took it a step further with the iPhone 5c lineup by giving us five bold and playful colors: blue, green, pink, yellow, and white, while also giving us the hideous silicone dot cases (think Crocs for your iPhone, the internet never forgets).
Apple has been adding more colors to the iPhone lineup ever since. With the iPhone 6, rose gold was added (bring it back please!), PRODUCT(RED) was added for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone XR harkened back to the iPhone 5c days with vibrant hues. The iPhone 11 went with a more pastel-like route for colors, and Apple gave the iPhone 11 Pro a Midnight Green color that was a mixed bag (I enjoyed it, personally). The iPhone 12 lineup had similar colors to the previous iteration while adding Pacific Blue for the Pro devices, and the iPhone 13 went back to darker, more subtle shades, and included Sierra Blue and Alpine Green to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
As much as I love seeing Apple add new colors, I have to wonder why new iPhone colors, especially ones that launched mid-cycle, don't stick around for another generation.
Some colors are better than others
As someone who buys the best iPhone every year, I always spring for the new color on the Pro line, whatever it may be (unless it’s absolutely hideous, like the bronze color that was rumored to come out for the iPhone 13 Pro). How else will people know that I have the latest and greatest iPhone?
Joking aside, I have to admit that some of the color choices that Apple went with since the iPhone 11 Pro haven’t been that great, especially when you compare them to the bolder colors of the standard, non-Pro devices.
I had a Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro, which I personally liked, even if it seemed like a majority of folks didn’t particularly care for it. For my iPhone 12 Pro, I chose Pacific Blue, which has been my favorite color for the iPhone Pro even though blue is not my personal favorite color. However, when Apple launched the iPhone 13 Pro, I reluctantly picked the Sierra Blue color, even though I thought it was way too pale. Still, I like color for my devices, so I picked it over the standard black, silver, and gold, as I find neutrals a little boring.
In all honesty, I wish Sierra Blue was as good as Pacific Blue, and it really isn’t. Pacific Blue was one of the best colors that Apple used for an iPhone in a long time, arguably since the Jet Black iPhone 7 or the rose gold iPhone 6. I wish it stuck around for another generation at least, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one.
With the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple surprised everybody by launching a new color midway through the life cycle, which is usually something it only did with the standard iPhone models. The Alpine Green is more subtle compared to the dark green of the iPhone 13, but it’s still richer than the Midnight Green. I really wish Alpine Green was available on launch day, as I would have definitely picked it over Sierra Blue, but as you can see, it’s pretty similar to the old Midnight Green.
As you can see, it’s entirely possible for Apple to bring back older colors with slight variations, which should be done for popular colors with fans. I really would love to see Pacific Blue make a comeback.
Or, you know, Apple should just add more fun colors to the Pro lineup, which is what a lot of us want.
Reusing colors could be more environmentally friendly in the long run
Color is important, and it matters to a lot of people, especially when it comes to matching accessories. There are plenty of great iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro cases out there, and you can definitely find certain ones that are designed to look great with specific iPhone colors. But since Apple chooses to not reuse a color from a previous generation, third-party accessory makers may need to get rid of old stock instead of simply reusing colors and materials for new accessories.
I think if Apple could just make a new color last more than one generation, it could be beneficial not just for the consumer, but for accessory makers, too. If Apple also had similar designs for the next generation iPhone and used a fan-favorite color (and kept the camera bump the same size), then one could easily just continue using their favorite iPhone case rather than having to buy a new one.
I know it’s highly unlikely and a very small thing for Apple to consider, but having iPhone colors last more than one year could definitely be beneficial for everyone. Plus, who doesn’t want rose gold or Pacific Blue back? Seriously Apple, bring them back!
But I must admit — the purple iPhone 14 Pro would definitely be something I'm interested in, and if it's true, then I hope purple sticks around for the Pros.
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
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