Apple desperately needs to shake up the colors of its iPhone Pro. The all-new iPhone 14 Pro – in the exotic-sounding “dark purple” color – actually looks like a dull gray in real life.
When Apple’s chief marketing officer, Greg “Joz” Joswiak, revealed the new dark purple color at the Far Out product launch last month, I immediately thought of “Smoke on the water.” I imagined a bold shade that would look really trippy and unique. And I thought maybe the brightest minds in Cupertino have finally freed themselves from the typically mundane color scheme of the iPhone Pro.
What was I smoking?
iPhone 14 Pro colors: Boring!
“They come in four gorgeous colors,” Joswiak said at the Far Out event. “A new space black, silver, gold and this brand new deep purple.”
And, in fact, the purple color that exploded across the screen during Apple’s hour-and-a-half-long infomercial. did sound convincing. (Also, like many people, I’m always a sucker for “everything new.”)
Maybe the dark purple iPhone 14 Pro will shine in the sun and look a little richer in real life than in marketing materials, I thought.
Like fools my wife and I ordered purple pros. And now that decision is generating real purple prose — in our home and online.
“It’s not purple,” were his exact words when opening his new iPhone 14 Pro on Friday morning. I could hear the disappointment in his voice (and I’ll spare you my more colorful and less polite reaction).
You call that “deep purple”?
Obviously, this is not a gigantic problem. We don’t live in Ukraine, where a belligerent Russia could level our house with a missile at any moment (nearly two decades after Ukraine’s own attack orange revolution).
And maybe my wife and I aren’t typical iPhone buyers. We play together in a accordion rock band, and we frequently wear outfits on stage that look like we’ve been caught in a paint store explosion. So maybe it’s all a matter of taste, and ours just leans towards the weird.
However, I can’t help but feel that Apple is missing out on a fantastic opportunity here. The iPhone 14 Pro line feels really “pro” again this year. It comes with a variety of features that set it apart from the “regular” iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.
The dynamic new island that replaces the notch, the Always-On display that mimics recent Apple Watch screens, the 48-megapixel camera… all of these good things combine to create a truly exciting update from last year’s iPhone 13 Pro. (Like any addict, I’m on the iPhone upgrade program, but I’d probably pull the trigger anyway. This update seems worth it.)
But then there are the color options. Cue the dark purple paperclips.
With deep sadness we review the dark purple iPhone 14 Pro
I’m not the only one disappointed either. Many people on Twitter also saw their hopes of a standout color for the iPhone 14 Pro dashed.
Admittedly, as with the previous iPhone Pro “hero” colors, Pacific Blue and Sierra Blue, the dark purple model looks very different depending on the lighting around you. As expected, direct sunlight brings out some highlights – and in fact, some people have gushed and posted photos to Twitter that make the phone look dark purple bordering on stunning.
But I haven’t found the perfect California sunshine that makes my new iPhone look like the best shots of Apple products or the best photos of influencers. Even the stainless steel edge of the device doesn’t shine as bright as the one on the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 that I’m going to trade in. Maybe I misfired.
Worse still, indoors it tends towards a dark, putty gray. It mimics the darker tones of classic Deep Purple machine head album cover. And do I really want to go outside and find the right light to make my iPhone shine? No.
It’s possible that I (and my wife, and all those other disappointed dark purple shoppers) just got the wrong choice. Maybe I should have gone for the new black space color. This one at least matched the galactic theme of the Far Out event. And people seem to like this color on Twitter.
Likewise, my boss Leander seems impressed with his choice. (“I really like that white hardware — with a silver stainless steel rim,” he taunted me in Slack.)
Basic black and crisp white are fine I guess. But the iPhone 14 Pro screams for truly vibrant colors.
iPhone Pro needs bold color options
May I suggest international orange, like the eye-catching highlights of the upcoming Apple Watch Ultra? Or an intense blue, like my friend’s Corvette C8. How about a warm bronze, like my CultCast colleague Erfon Elijah has wanted it for years? Or a blue glitter snowflake like the finish available on the Unlimited Funk Module, the most badass bass I’ve ever seen? Even a Product(Red) version would make sense.
It’s time for the Cupertino color pickers to board the psychedelic train sweeping through Silicon Valley. Apple CEO Tim Cook needs to open his third eye and produce vibrant colors that make a real statement. It’s the company that released the Flower Power and Blue Dalmation iMacs in 2001, after all. These are still some of the craziest computers ever.
Soon after, Apple went into super serious all-aluminum mode, all the time. While the polished design language emphasized Apple’s prowess with materials and commitment to premium products, especially over plastic laptops, we all get it now. Apple makes the best hardware anywhere.
Apple design is slowly returning to fun
The company’s color pendulum has started to slowly swing back towards bolder options in recent years, but the iPhone Pro line in particular seems tied to boardroom blandness. I’m sure a lot of suits buy the expensive iPhone Pro and use it to check their inventory from the C suite. But Apple consistently showcases Pro camera capabilities for filmmakers and photographers. It’s time to unleash the creative potential of an essential tool for all creatives.
Unfortunately, the dark purple iPhone 14 Pro looks particularly timid, more dull gray than vibrant purple. It’s not even as bold as your garden eggplant. And don’t get me started on the iPhone 14 purple. I’m usually jealous of the generally less reserved color options of the midrange iPhone lineup, but this one looks pure lavender. The purple colors of this year’s iPhone are a step in the wrong direction, in my opinion.
Again, this is totally a first world problem. I don’t hate the deep purple color of the iPhone 14 Pro – I just don’t to like this. I really hope Apple sees the light and releases some really bold color options for the iPhone 15 Pro.
Until then, I’m going to buy colorful cases for my “depressing purple” iPhone 14 Pro and smile with joy at the dynamic island. There’s more than one way to reverse a frown.