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    The Next iPhones May Come in Different Colors

    Written by

    Derek Mead

    Editor-In-Chief

    A random render of a pink iPhone, via

    You mean to tell me that it's the second day of 2013 and we're only on our first iPhone rumor? This year already sucks. But yes, Apple is rumored to be testing iOS 7 as well as an iPhone 6 (or iPhone 5S), which is slated to come out by summer. But forget specs and new operating systems and all that shit. The next iPhone is supposed to come in COLORS.

    That news rumor comes from analyst Brian White, in a report picked up by Barron's. It reads in part (ellipses are from Barron's):

    In terms of more colors, we believe the next iPhone will draw inspiration from the iPod touch that became available in multiple colors (beyond the traditional Black and White) for the first time this past October. These colors included pink, yellow, blue, white & silver, black & slate […] We believe the addition of color to the iPod touch lineup was a testing ground for adding color to the next generation iPhone that we believe could be available in eight colors in total […] In our view, the iPhone 5 unibody aluminum case is a work of art and we believe it would be even more popular with the ability for consumers to choose from a wide array of vibrant colors that only Apple can deliver. 

    Apple, as guided by Steve Jobs in his later years, became a model of stark simplicity–elegance, if you're of that sort. Just as no one but a jackass drives around in a pink Rolls Royce, Apple dropped the cuddly colors of the first iMac (which helped build Apple's image as the firm that made friendly computers that anyone can use) for a minimalist aesthetic that, rather than screaming "play with me," emphasizes a certain discerning savviness of its users.

    After convincing the world that its computers were inherently easier to deal with than those using Windows–and onward with mp3 players and smartphones–Jobs pushed Apple to the next level by marketing its products as relatively accessible items of privilege. Whether you think it's hilarious or not, the cult of Mac made a boatload of money.

    But now, maybe the iPhone will come in multiple colors–and, White wrote, multiple screen sizes? Those are rumors, although there is more evidence that Apple is already testing an iPhone 6 and iOS 7, which frankly shouldn't come as a surprise. But let's imagine the colors and screen choices are true. It's not Apple's first splash with color and diversity in recent years, with iPods of all shapes and sizes coming in various hues.

    Yet that itself was a departure from the past, and turning iPods into more of a fashion accessory to match your fancy workout gear seemed like a logical path to keeping iPods relevant in a smartphone world. Branching off the iPhone line from a single evolutionary path into a cabal of colors and sizes is a much bigger deal. Aside from the fact that Apple beat PC makers by making its lineup so simple, the iPhone has stood above Android's best (despite being more expensive and less feature-laden) because of its iconic status. Remember when the iPhone 4 came out? People were straight up frothing at the mouth lusting over its design, as they have for every other one.

    Jobs was so good because of his razor-sharp focus on making a single thing perfect in his eyes. Rather than a step forward towards being fashionable, breaking out an array of eight colors for iPhones smacks of a cheap thrill. I don't write this as an iPhone obsessive, as I've never even owned one. But in the technology world, the marketing trick de rigueur is to always add more features. As we've already seen with the iPod (and Nokia's Windows phones), saying "Now with more colors" is often a last-ditch shot in the dark to drum up more sales.

    Again, the whole color thing is a rumor, and a fairly bold one at that, so I may have just wasted a fair bit of my short time on this Earth rambling about nonsense. But there's indeed a point: This past year, with the Maps debacle, Siri having a less than seamless launch, and the millions upon millions tied up in legal battles, Apple showed its first cracks in ages. Investors might be noticing, too. Its stock price is still up over last year's start, and has continued its meteoric rise overall, but was much more volatile than 2011, and ended the year with a three month slide. In that light, adding pink and blue iPhones does not sound like the move of a company confident that it's at the top.

    @derektmead

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