Apple can look deep into its own history as a reminder of how to use colors as a marketing tool. Before the days of smartphones, the tech giant used astoundingly bright colors on many of its Apple desktops, and in the mid-2000s a series of colorful designs appeared in the company’s iPod Mini.

Today, bright colors are making a comeback on the iPhone 5c, and a set of somewhat subdued shades cover the backs of every new iPhone 5s. The range of colors has many people talking, and some news critics are bringing up the issue of class delineation. A new iPhone may display more than creativity — it could insinuate wealth.

A History of Colors
Neil Hughes at Apple Insider provides a rundown on the history of how Apple has used colors in its marketing. Back in 1999, Hughes says, Apple could be seen showing off its latest desktop with a series of “flavors.” In total, thirteen different color choices were available for the iMac G3, including “Flower Power” and “Blue Dalmatian.”

A few years later, in 2004, Apple released the iPod Mini in five different colors. The iPod Nano followed suit by appearing in a host of colors, as well.

Colors of Today
Step forward a few more years to the present day, and users will once again find a series of colorful options for their new Apple products. This time it’s the iPhone that’s subject, with the 5c arriving in white, red, yellow, blue, and green, says Hughes. In addition, he points out that the 5c can also be purchased with colorful cases that show off each phone’s color by way of 40 circular holes in the back of each case. Users can mix and match their phones with their cases.

Class Delineation
Over at NPR, Rachel Quester says the iPhone 5s comes in gold, silver, and gray. She also points out, however, that users can show off the iPhone’s colors as a social symbol. She points out that the 5c starts at $99, while the 5s is priced at $199 and up. People can use the color of their phone to easily tell others that they spent big or went cheap.

Although the 5c is no slouch, sporting many of the features of the discontinued iPhone 5, it may now represent a different class of user. Yet the colorful line of 5c choices may be enough to draw some users away from opening their wallets a bit further for the high-end model.

What will you choose? The traditional silver color of the 5s may seem ordinary, but it represents the history of the phone, and gray is not far from that mark. Gold, though often mocked for being somewhat gaudy, exemplifies the price differentiation between the two iPhone models.

The sporty colors of the 5c show off an air of fun, and their bright cases only further expand that notion. For some, the determining factor may be all about price and performance.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons




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