In 2001, Apple started making all of its products white.
This happened even though Steve Jobs was not a fan of the idea.
“Initially, Jobs’s instincts were against white products,” says Leander Kahney in his new book, “Jony Ive, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products.”
Jony Ive, Apple’s design leader was in favour of white products. Since his school days, he’d been building products out of white plastic.
He started making Apple’s products white partially in reaction to the colourful phase Apple went through with the translucent plastic iMac.
Apple shocked the world, and changed everything, when it released the first iMac in Bondi Blue. It followed up with a bunch of different coloured iMacs.
Apple made the iBook in white plastic. Ive wanted to continue that with the iPod.
“Right from the very first time, we were thinking about the product, we’d see [the iPod] as stainless steel and white. It’s just so … brutally simple. It’s not a colour. Supposedly neutral — but just an unmistakable, shocking neutral,” said Ive about the iPod.
When Apple’s designers were presenting products to Jobs he reflexively disliked white initially. So, Apple’s designers tried to come up with colours that were close to white without being white to make him happy.
The designers came up with cloud white, snow white, glacial white, and moon grey, which looked like it was white, but was really grey. Jobs liked the moon grey, and approved it for a keyboard, says Kahney.
Moon grey also ended up being used in the cords on iPod ear phones, even though most people called the cords white.
“Moon grey and seashell grey were shades developed by us at Apple that were so close to white as to appear almost white but were in fact grey,” says Doug Satzger, who worked in the Apple design group.