Why Apple is embracing colors after years of minimalism

Time moves fast. It’s been almost 20 years now since Apple turned away from building colorful computers, and embraced the minimalist white, black, and gray look. Through the mid-aughts, we still had occasional pops of color from the iPod mini line and the short-lived iPhone 5c, but the Apple of the 2000s and 2010s has largely been defined by glass and machined aluminum. Premium? Yes. Timeless? Certainly. Expressive? No.

Suddenly, Apple is presenting consumers with a slew of color options again—and in its flagship products. The new iPhone 11, announced this week at the company’s annual launch event, is available in a whopping six colors, from a bold red to a trio of pastels including a light lavender, yellow, and teal. Even the super-premium new iPhone 11 Pro introduces an intriguing green alongside a more typical warm gold and two grays. And this news comes in the wake of Apple’s newly announced New York store, which will no longer be a transparent cube of glass but an iridescent, rainbow-hued one. When I asked Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Color Institute, about the change in design direction, she seemed to feel like it was about dang time Apple moved on from the mausoleum and adopted color again.


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