The boring looking iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: Apple doesn’t see color (and that’s the problem)

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The boring looking iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: Apple doesn’t see color (and that’s the problem)
I’ll have to start by saying that I realize muted, and somewhat “boring” smartphone colors aren’t exactly a new thing...

For example, a quick look at Apple and Samsung’s flagship phone releases from the past couple of years reveals a “grayscale pattern” in more expensive phones like the iPhone Pro and the Galaxy Ultra series. And when it comes to the more affordable vanilla iPhones and Galaxy phones, even when some paint is used, it’s usually in the pastel color palette, and almost ends up looking too… vanilla.

If some recent examples are required, one phone that looks particularly disappointing in person (of course, in my subjective opinion) is the “Deep Purple” iPhone 14 Pro. I don’t know if it’s because of the high expectations for the first purple iPhone but the 14 Pro looks barely purple - at least under most lighting conditions. And I know that’s a personal preference, but perhaps the reason is the purple shade Apple went for, which is a bit too… deep.

So, I suppose it comes as no surprise that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 are now expected to keep the muted color vibe going. However, it seems this time around Apple might outdo itself, since leaks and renders are painting a very monotone picture of the iPhone 15 Pro’s color options - even for Apple’s own standards. More monotone than any of the iPhone lineups released in the past 5-6 years.

So, what happened to the bright, jolly smartphone colors of the past; what is the real reason Apple might be holding back on being “fun”, and… does it even matter?

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro colors: What is the real reason the iPhone 15 looks so bland? Maybe Apple doesn’t see color after all…

Yes, indeed! Apple doesn’t see color but (in this case) this might not necessarily be a good thing.

According to the latest leaks and rumors we have on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, we expect the color options available for the 2023 iPhones to be as follows:

  • Silver - this appears to be the same Silver we saw in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro; in other words, it’s a very bright gray and the closest thing to a white iPhone (Pro) if that’s what you’re after
  • Space Black - this one also appears to be identical to last year’s Space Black on the iPhone 14 Pro - it’s a darker version of Apple’s beloved Space Gray color but one thing’s for sure - it’s more of a dark gray than a black
  • Titan Gray - renders and leaked dummy units make this (new) color look silver (perhaps with a shimmer of gold but this might be an optical illusion)
  • Dark Blue - according to multiple leaks and rumors, this is supposed to be the iPhone 15 Pro’s “hero color”; at least on renders and the leaked dummies you’re looking at, it looks barely different to the Pacific Blue of the iPhone 12 Pro

Moving on to the vanilla iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, leaked renders and dummy units tell us to expect some “actual colors” such as (wait for it…)

  • White - about as white as it gets (doesn’t seem any different than the white iPhone 14)
  • Black - unlike the Space Black expected with iPhone 15 Pro, this one’s truly black (just like iPhone 14)
  • Blue - at least the dummy unit of this one looks like someone accidentally dropped a tiny bit of blue paint in the white color mixture
  • Yellow - this might be the least yellow yellow iPhone ever (some people in our team will probably hate that considering they love yellow phones - you know who you are)
  • Pink - surprisingly, this one might be the most saturated iPhone color in the entire iPhone 15 lineup (again, judging by the dummies) - although, let’s be honest, “saturated” is an overstatement

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro colors: What’s the real reason Apple doesn’t want to make fun, colorful iPhones anymore?

For the nerds in our audience (and I know you exist), perhaps it is a good idea to actually discuss the reason(s) iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro might be lacking some color…

I’ve managed to come up with a few possible answers to this question but feel free to chime in with your own take in the comments…

  • Perhaps the iPhone 15 Pro’s new titaniumframe doesn’t look as good when painted; this might explain the reason behind the similar-looking, grayish iPhone 15 Pro color options; maybe Apple finds that brighter colors look a bit off when applied over brushed titanium?

  • The carcolouranalogy - again, a legitimate (potential) explanation to why iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro look like a gray parking lot might be that people (especially in Apple’s home market) like their phones like they like their cars; white, gray, darker gray, and black are the most popular car colors in the US, followed by blue; coincidence or not, these happen to be exactly the color options we expect to see with iPhone 15 Pro

  • It’s possible that Apple (and other phone-makers) are trying to sell more accessories/cases; this is another one of my “conspiracy theories” but knowing Apple is a company that loves upselling accessories, I can’t ignore the possibility that Tim Cook & Co’s decision to make the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro almost color-less might be an attempt to push iPhone cases of all colors and varieties (which aren’t cheap at all, by the way)

  • Maybe Apple is trying to extend the interest in the iPhone and has bigger plans for its annual spring color refresh that’s become a tradition now; as you might know, Apple likes adding a new color to the iPhone lineup every spring, so perhaps the plan going forward is multiple new colors? We heard of a red iPhone 15 Pro that Apple tested internally - perhaps this could come out in the spring of 2024?

Should fun smartphone colors come back or is 50 shades of gray just fine for premium phones like the iPhone 15 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra?

At the end of the day, no one is in a position to tell the likes of Apple and Samsung how to run their business, which is what the iPhone and Galaxy are. However, as someone who’s been following the industry for a while now, I also can’t help but recall times when smartphones (including the iPhone and Galaxy) looked more fun and colorful. Bear in mind, I’m not taking into account the overall design of the phone but only the color.

Here are some of my favourite smartphone colours ever:

  • Pixel 6 Pro in Sorta Sunny
  • Pixel 2 XL in “Panda” (black-white)
  • Galaxy S7 in Emerald Green
  • Huawei P30 Pro in Amber Sunrise
  • OnePlus 11 (Jupiter Rock Edition)

What are some of your favorite smartphone colors (phone, model), and do you think the likes of Apple and Samsung should bring fun colors back?
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