We don't care about the yellow iPhone 14 but Apple didn't randomly choose this color
Apple has launched a new yellow color for its iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. I know, who cares, right? If it were any other Android manufacturer, we wouldn't be talking about it. However, as insignificant as this non-news item may be at first glance, the choice of the color itself and the timing of its launch by Apple were far from being insignificant and uninteresting.
Oh my, what's wrong with me? Do I really want to stir up the anti-Apple hatred just before leaving for the weekend? Do I want to be accused of corruption and of encouraging unreasonable purchases of overpriced iPhones again?
Before you insult me, let me say that "I got you", as the other guy would say. I'm not totally vamped by the Holy Apple, on the contrary. I'm also perfectly aware that writing an article about the launch of a new color for the iPhone 14 is the lowest form of journalism (but I'll still link to our buying guide to get that yellow iPhone).
Who cares about the yellow iPhone? It's the same specs. The same old price of $799 with nothing new introduced, you basically get the same old phone in a new colorway. I absolutely do not deny these facts.
But, but, but... journalism is also about breaking down topics and trying to make them less boring. You can always find an angle and pique the readers' curiosity.
And quite sincerely, the very strategic choice to introduce yellow into this iPhone 14, could have been a Pokemon X Pikachu edition collaboration, making it totally worth a discussion. Well, we received it at the editorial office and since we're not going to review it, I wanted to tell you about it anyway.
The yellow iPhone 14 arrived at the right time
"Apple never does anything randomly." You all know this phrase from Apple fans with ears plugged by the AirPods Pro, eyes hidden by Apple Glass, and whose soul has been absorbed by Tim Cook and trapped in a HomePod 2.
But it's still kind of true, sometimes. At least, it certainly is for the yellow color of the iPhone 14. The iPhone 14 was launched last September. The yellow color was launched on March 14, 2023, just over halfway through the device's life cycle.
With the wave of Android flagships launching in early 2023 and the mid-range season to follow in the spring, Apple was right to remind technophiles of their offering.
Launching a new color costs almost nothing. Especially when you have a design that has remained almost unchanged for years, like the iPhone. Apple's production lines are highly optimized and it could sell new colors by the bucketload if it wanted to.
Something as simple as a new color allows the manufacturer to "relaunch" its catalog, to rejig things. Of course, it also reinforces the idea that Apple recycles its ideas, its products, and that its staged "efforts" are the subject of excessive media coverage.
Before you point fingers at Apple, do be aware that they are not the only ones doing it. A prominent example in the Android realm that comes to mind is the Huawei P30 Pro. It's 2019, which is more than 50 years ago in the mind of a Zoomer (who doesn't read us anyway). The P30 Pro is one of the best smartphones on the market. Huawei is on top. And bam! The US embargo happened.
Huawei started to feel the beginning of the end but has to maintain their pride. Not a problem at all, said CEO Richard Yu, we just have to make a huge conference at the IFA in Berlin and announce a new product. And that new product? The Huawei P30 Pro in new colors. Ah, tech is magic sometimes, isn't it?
A new color to better handle us
It's not just the timing of the launch of this color that is strategic. The choice of the color itself and especially the models concerned are not the result of chance.
If I wasn't overworked and if most of my time wasn't dedicated to updating selections and other PASSIONATE goodies (no), I would have slipped you some expert quotes from interviews that I would have loved to do.
But this is the real world. Creativity and added value in articles are apparently overrated. So I'll just quote Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, who was interviewed by Business Insider. The Pantone Institute is this organization that decrees THE color of the year every year (it's Viva Magenta in 2023, not yellow).
Well, according to Laurie Pressman, color influences up to 85% of buying decisions. "With about 80% of the human experience being filtered through the eyes, the first challenge is to grab attention, and nothing does that better than the thoughtful use of color," the expert continued.
And that's no surprise. The design of a smartphone is the first real contact you have with the device. And it's also often the last memory you have of it. It's much more imprinted in our memory than any technical specifications or software feature.
Yellow is the color of happiness
The impact of colors on our psyche has been studied since the beginning of time. I could find everything and its opposite about yellow. Havelok Ellis, a British doctor of the Victorian era, explained in his memoir The Psychology of Yellow that in some cultures and at one time, yellow was particularly popular with children.
Yellow is the color of the sun or gold. It is one of the primary colors. It is one of the colors of the rainbow. In short, yellow is positive. One could certainly turn the logic around and say that yellow is also often associated with warnings, road signs, and prohibitions. I could go even further and draw a parallel with the logos of toxic materials, or even the yellow star during the Second World War.
However, I think I can safely say that Apple is targeting the positive part of the emotional spectrum associated with yellow. In fact, the manufacturer had already done so with the iPhone XR, whose very bright colors were also supposed to appeal to "young people."
To corroborate this point of view, I refer you to this interview on CNN of the researcher of the Pantone Institute, Leatrice Eiseman. This researcher conducted various color word association studies on thousands of people over the past 30 years. According to her, "the first words that consistently come to mind when people see the color yellow are 'sunshine,' 'warmth,' 'cheerfulness,' 'happiness' and sometimes even 'playfulness.'"
According to the researcher, the "therapeutic" virtues of the color yellow can be traced back to 1917 in a book titled The Color Treatment: A Convergence of Art and Medicine at the Red Cross Russell Lea Nerve Home, by Jim Berryman. During World War I, a "colorist" named Howard Kemp Prossor believed that the right combination of colors in a hospital room could cure soldiers of shell shock.
This colorist then designed a room at Ethel McCaul's Hospital in London, with sky-blue ceilings, delicate green floors, and lemon-yellow walls. In short, the subject is fascinating, but it is impossible for me to cover it exhaustively.
A color that divides to better rule
A final point of interest of this yellow color is that it is exclusive to the base models, the iPhone 14 (review) and iPhone 14 Plus (review), which logically received less media coverage than the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
This is the case for each flagship range every single year. We focus on the most premium models. This is something we have systematically noticed at the editorial office. The reviews of premium models are more widely read than the basic models.
And at Apple, it is the Pro models that have an exclusive "Pro" color every year. Even if we find it the year after on the new basic models.
This year, the iPhone 14 Pro/Max feature the Deep Purple color. Last year, it was Sierra Blue for the iPhone 13 Pro/Max. Two years ago, the iPhone 12 Pro/Max came in Graphite and before that, Apple reserved its Midnight Green for the iPhone 11 Pro.
The new yellow color is just one of the many tools Apple uses to sequence its iPhone catalog. The color is a demarcation criterion between the premium models and the basic models in the same way that the triple camera module or the Dynamic Island are prerogatives of the "Pro" iPhone.
Launching a color this time exclusive to the basic iPhone 14 balances it all out. Apple wants to let you know that it's not forgetting you, you who can't spend more than $1,500 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Well, maybe I've just wasted a few hours of my life on this lengthy diatribe about a stupid color. Perhaps you don't give a damn about color psychology and this yellow iPhone 14. I can't blame you. As for me, I find it fascinating that you can find meaning in such a seemingly banal commercial choice. That's what tech is all about. It's products. Objects that we look at.
What do you think of this philosophical treatise on the new iPhone 14 and its oh-so-indispensable new yellow color? Is Apple manipulating us with yellow like McDonald's and its "M"? Am I just kidding myself and am I totally off base? I let you be the judge.