The reason why Apple AirPods are white

It is not uncommon to recognize an Apple user at first glance, without even having to get his iPhone out of his pocket. Namely, by the striking white AirPods, which have already become the unmistakable trademark of the Apple company as a matter of course. However, white is not only the AirPods, but this very special color plays an important role in Apple’s design language. But how exactly did it come about?

Apple founder Steve Jobs was always considered a perfectionist. He placed particular value on the functionality and simplicity of hardware and software, which had to be perfectly coordinated. However, the design language was at least as important to him. Here, too, all Apple products should be fundamentally different from the typical mainstream. A vivid example of this was the new design of the iMac, which at the time was completely different from all other home computers on the market. Incidentally, the story behind this is impressively explained in the 2013 film “Jobs” with Ashton Kutcher. Details are also important, which is why AirPods, for example, are not available in other colors.

Unmistakable trademark

Before the iPhone became a constant companion for many Apple fans, the iPod was launched in 2001. This (also white) music player had an unmistakable design at the time and accompanied its owner in his jacket pocket while jogging, among other things. However, the Apple developers had a problem with this: How do you recognize someone on the street who is using this cool and unmistakable player? By the headphones, of course, and these were usually black at the time with the competition. So the color is a simple and at the same time perfect approach to distinguish from all other manufacturers. EarPods or AirPods in other colors were and are not absolutely necessary for differentiation.

In the office or on the desk at home, you immediately recognize a Mac by the typical Apple logo. This is still true today, for example on the large displays or the back of Macbooks. The invisible Apple logo became the cool and stylish white Earpods for the iPod. And Apple still holds on to their “exclusive” design with its wireless AirPods. This is true even though manufacturers from China in particular are now trying to copy Apple’s unique design language. This has obviously not harmed the Cupertino-based company so far.

AirPods Max come in other colors

However, Apple said goodbye to this strategy for the first time with the AirPods Max. The “big” headphones deliver an even more impressive sound experience and come in five different color combinations. Visually, they are somewhat reminiscent of the equally eye-catching and unique design of the iMacs at the time. The fact that Apple has now decided to rethink and also offers AirPods with other color combinations seems strategically nonsensical at first glance when you look at the previous reasoning. But it is obvious that Apple no longer has a unique selling point with the white design.

Design language over quality and workmanship

Even more clearly than before, Apple has placed quality and workmanship at the center of its design language as a distinguishing feature. This is especially obvious in the AirPods Max when you take a closer look at the high-quality processed ear pads or controls with the Digital Crown as well as the stainless steel frame. Thus, the headphones still remain unmistakable, even if the AirPods Max rely on other colors and no longer only on classic white elements like the wireless Bluetooth AirPods. Incidentally, the trend towards new color combinations is not a flash in the pan at Apple, as the HomePod Minis are also available in different color combinations.

Always changing

The white AirPods were ahead of their time in terms of design language. But Apple also wants to be distinctive and set trends in the future. That is why there will always be innovations and adaptations in the design, which of course applies especially to the colors. However, it seems unlikely that Apple will say goodbye to white AirPods very quickly. This design has become much too popular among users. Especially since this white design is considered timeless. It is simply a color that can be integrated everywhere, regardless of trends. One thing is already clear: Apple will always strive for the best possible synthesis of design and functionality in the future.


  • Business Insider
  • Macworld