Related to my last piece, it occurs to me how Apple’s design philosophy has changed in the 20 years since the iMac’s release. Then, the iMac was meant to make a statement. “Your beige PCs are boring. Computers can be fun!” The design of newer MacBooks and iMacs, to the contrary, is meant to be invisible. The goal is to minimize the physicality of the computer to the greatest extent possible so that the software can be the entire experience. A classic iMac that’s turned off still makes its candy-color presence known; a new iMac that’s turned off is meant to be unseen. To extend my metaphor about Vitsœ, a MacBook is a shelf. You’re not supposed to notice the shelf, you’re supposed to notice the books or flowers or curios on the shelf.
The iPhone works similarly. Apple sometimes offers them in a few colors but understands that people will accessorize them with cases more often than not, anyway. Apple Watch is meant to be a fashion item, so you can jazz it up with a new band but even then, the watch’s body itself is meant to be understated so that the screen and band can shine.