First Click: Is silver the new boring beige?

April 22nd, 2016


You probably don’t remember it, but there was a time when laptops were fun. When they were whimsical. Now everything’s so damn drab.

If you want to buy a laptop today then you basically have three color options: black, silver, and sometimes gold. This week Apple added a pink (yeah, yeah; “Rose Gold”) MacBook to its roster and the world is better for it. It reminds me of the days when Apple railed against the status quo. Remember this ad?

In June 2007, Forrester Research warned PC vendors that an "Age of Style" was upon us, and by 2012 models would win or lose based on their ability to offer "aesthetic diversity, and consumer choice and personalization." But in January 2008 we'd see Steve Jobs pull an impossibly thin MacBook Air out of a manilla envelop. Instead of an explosion of consumer choice, every competitor started building thin-and-light "ultrabooks" carved from a single piece of silver aluminum. The entire laptop industry returned to "thinking jail." Silver became the new beige.

I long for a return to the days of the iBook, available in colors like blueberry, tangerine, indigo, and even "key lime." My colleague Adi Robertson told me she’d kill for an emerald green MacBook.

Or how about the netbook craze of the mid-aughts when companies like Asus were pumping out underpowered portables in candy-coated colors like "Plucky Purple" and "Mysterious Blue."

And who can forget the deliciousness that was the Sony Vaio P in the late aughts?

I say enough with the blandness. Let’s bring color back to laptops. It’s time for a jailbreak. Who’s with me!?

Is silver the new beige?
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