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article imageApple's new red iPhone shows how boring smartphones have become

By Business Insider     Mar 22, 2017 in Technology
A plague has infected the modern smartphone industry: monotony.
Take a stroll through the aisles of a mobile-phone retailer and you'll see an endless stream of brushed aluminum, gleaming glass, and muted shades of gold and silver.
It's tasteful. It's uninspired. It's dull.
After years of experimentation with materials, sizes, and designs, smartphone companies have largely reached a mundane equilibrium: a metal body, available in silver/gold/black, a 5-ish-inch screen, maybe make it available in two sizes — done. The result is a parade of devices with little distinguishing them.
Apple is finally doing something new
Apple has been one of the worst offenders, its gloriously plastic iPhone 5C notwithstanding.
But on Tuesday, it did something different. It launched a red iPhone.
The device, an iPhone 7, is part of Apple's long-running partnership with the (RED) organization, and money from each sale will go toward the organization's HIV/AIDS research and relief efforts. (In China, the red iPhone is expected to sell particularly well, given the color's association with luck, but the device is on sale in Western markets, too.)
In photos and videos, the device looks striking — and the initial response has been highly positive.
The device was announced at the same time as a new, cheaper iPad. But if you look at Google Trends, the searches for "red iPhone" far outstrip "new iPad." More anecdotally, more than 115,000 people read Business Insider's story about the new iPhone, fewer than the 70,000 who read our piece about the new iPads.
Gold isn't 'high-end' — it's out of date
The design language that Apple, Samsung, and the rest employ — that elegant gold devices are synonymous with premium quality — is tired and stale. Even lower-end devices, like Motorola's Moto G, are aping the aesthetic, coming equipped with metal bodies and "luxury" color schemes. There's no soul.
But the public response to the red iPhone shows that the world is crying out for more interesting phones, and it looks as though smartphone makers are waking up to this. Leaked renders show a Samsung Galaxy S8 in lilac — albeit a subtle, desaturated tone — and other rumored shades include blue and pink. Huawei's premium P10 device is available in green and blue, as well as the usual gold/black/silver/white suspects.
These are baby steps, but welcome ones. There's a near-infinite variety of fashions, clothes, and accessories to meet all tastes, so there's no reason people looking for a decent smartphone should be boxed into choosing one of three wearisome shades of metal.
In short, "premium" needn't be synonymous with boring. Smartphone companies need to rediscover their sense of fun.
This article was originally published on Business Insider. Copyright 2017.
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