How Apple’s New iMacs Matched Today’s Home Fashion Trends
This story is part of, our comprehensive coverage of the latest news from Apple HQ.
At its spring event earlier this week, Apple made the unexpected and bold decision to unveil its new iMac in. From the start of the event, color played a key role, with CEO Tim Cook launching the presentation in front of a large rainbow sculpture.
Apple’s adoption of the rainbow motif is a reminder of Cook’s and society at large’s support for the LGBTQ community, but its appearance on Tuesday served as an early nod to a message that strikes closer to home. we. Or, if Apple has its way, closer to your home office.
Because although it may seem like a step backwards, with(not to mention the ), it’s not just a nostalgia-driven movement. In fact, it reflects the emerging design trends here and now very well, with the rainbow motif also being a universal symbol of hope in these particularly dark times.
“We wanted it to be light and upbeat, while instantly brightening up any space,” Colleen Novielli, product marketing manager at Mac, said at Tuesday’s event, briefly referring to the color decision. A trend to bring more vibrant hues to the physical spaces we occupy is a trend that can be seen among interior designers right now, according to some industry figures.
“Crisp, light colors continue to gain popularity, with yellows, light blues / teal and greens used to brighten up spaces and put a smile on your face,” Timothy Corrigan, Los Angeles-based interior designer for royalty and Hollywood stars, said in an email. “This is especially true in these trying times as we continue to spend more time at home and on our computers.”
thereflect the broader changes that our working life has undergone over the past year of locks. With more people working from home, often bringing equipment that once belonged to an office into their homes, it makes sense that Apple is moving away from a uniform, utilitarian color scheme.
The new iMacs also stand out from Apple’s more than 20 years of colorless desktops, where white and silver dominated the Mac color palette. And they’re a far cry from those original, brightly colored iMacs, which gained pop culture icon status and are still strongly associated with the ’90s aesthetic.
Colorful hues are making a comeback.
The new status symbol for interiors?
The pandemic-related work-from-home trend isn’t going away anytime soon, which means an iMac is as likely to live in residential property as it is commercial. Apple understands this and seems to have deliberately avoided making a machine that would look stilted or industrial among the upholstery and personal knick-knacks of the average home.
However, there is no middle house of tasteful neutrals here. Apple has gotten big and bold with nicely saturated primary colors, especially on the back of the Mac (the front is frosted in a lighter pastel shade to help focus). It’s not necessarily the trendy tones that will blend into your favorite shade of Farrow & ball. “I love this bright yellow,” interior designer and color expert Maria Killiam said via email, “but no one decorates with this color.”
Perhaps that is the point. Apple hasn’t done something that will blend. Rather, the Mac will grab attention and be a statement piece, an art piece. It’s a rejection of the kind of thinking that has influenced the design of televisions that can be disguised as mirrors or have roll-up screens that can scroll to low-key sideboards.
This has never really been Apple’s way of treating technology as something unsightly that should be hidden from view lest it be a plague on the surrounding aesthetics. He has long rejected the idea that technology is inherently ugly, instead using forward-thinking design to turn his products into status symbols. With the new iMac, it is implementing this strategy even as it goes back to its roots.
“The original iMac introduced radical design and vibrantly colored plastics that changed the way consumers thought of a desktop PC,” said Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight. “Apple is clearly hoping to achieve the same impact with the new iMac, by offering a range of colors that make it attractive enough to be placed anywhere in a home or workplace – almost almost a technological fashion statement.”
The wide color palette also reflects Apple’s aspiration for the Mac to be more than just a work device, Wood said. “The vision is clearly for the iMac to sit neatly not just on a desk, but in a kitchen, living room, bedroom or elsewhere,” he said.
Death to minimalism, ode to joy
This move towards bolder colors – Apple also released a vibrant purple iPhone 12 – contrasts with the past 20 years, in which the company has focused on a dominant design trend: minimalism.
Over the past few years, the company has added more color to its products (iPhones in particular), but Steve Jobs’ black faux turtlenecks with the dazzling whiteness and clean lines of every Apple Store around the world, its attachment to minimalism remains clear. But due to what’s going on around the world right now, the aesthetic doesn’t resonate as strongly as it once did.
In an article for the Atlantic Last October, journalist Spencer Kornhaber wrote that the pandemic has derided minimalism, calling “the feature-free vexation iPhone” as a classic example of how “austerity” has been the force of dominant conception of popular culture. Some have tried to pronounce dead minimalism in recent years, although the notion has not necessarily taken hold. But comparing minimalism to the “midlife aesthetic,” Kornhaber’s argument that sparse and sterile products don’t serve us right now will ring true for many.
How many times have people, locked indoors over the past year with only their belongings surrounding them for entertainment and comfort, wished Marie Kondo to live in their home a little less brutally? Have they looked around their sleek, white, blank canvas walls and sucked in a little spark of joy that comes from an injection of color?
In this case, the “joy” was at the top of Architectural Digest 2021 list of design trend forecasts. In defining what it actually meant by joy, the post said we should look for a design that “celebrates life and screams shameless happiness” with “bold color combinations”.
Apple clearly understands that people are looking to bring more color into their homes right now, making decisions based on how those colors make them feel. “We’ve created colors that bring a sense of joy to any space,” Novielli said at the event earlier this week announcing the new Macs.
With a lot of our tech-laden houses (formerly called office equipment) being black, white, or silver at best, the new iMacs provide a welcome contrast. The company has made design decisions with this product that are at odds with what the rest of the tech world is doing, but that’s not unusual.
Apple has a long history of trending, and this just might be its way of calling the times on monochromatic minimalism as we know it. That’s not to say the business is about to go the other way and embrace the mess. maximalism, but in an age when people are looking for rainbows in search of hope and joy, Apple was the first to step in and be happy to oblige.
IMac Flashback: Apple’s Colorful Candy Story, 1999-2021
See all the pictures