Why are Apple earbuds always white?


Apple AirPods only come in white. Why? – Photo by Apple

There are a ton of earbuds for consumers to choose from, made by a variety of companies including Samsung, Apple, Sony, Bose, Skullcandy, Beats, JBL, and more.

Apple stands out with the multitude of earbud options. – Photo by The Guardian

Samsung, Sony, Bose, Skullcandy, Beats, and JBL are just a few companies that offer colorful options for earbuds. If all of Apple’s major competition uses an array of colors for its product, why are Apple earbuds only available in white?

To understand the answer, it is necessary to go back to 2001, with the release of the first iPod.

The release of the first iPod started the creation of a whole new product for Apple: earbuds. – Photo by CNET

Apple’s brand is built upon their products being recognizable, as with its iPhones or Macs. However, if iPods were made to be in people’s pockets all the time, how would they be recognized as Apple? This is where the earbuds come in.

Even though the iPods themselves would be concealed, the earbuds would be visible in public. They were too small to put an Apple logo on them that people would see, so they decided to put their center of attention on the color of their product. Especially at this time, almost every pair of headphones or earbuds came in black. Apple decided to be different with its white earbuds, which matched the white iPods.

Apple’s silhouette ad campaign highlighted their earbuds just as much—or more—than the iPod itself. – Photo by iDrop News

In 2004, Apple came out with new colors of iPods. If the iPods weren’t pure white anymore, what decision would be made as to the headphone color?

Apple chose to keep the white earbuds, which continued to make their product easily recognizable in public.

20 years of Apple earbuds show the classic pure white color Apple has always used. – Photo by Tek Deeps

Today, the iPod Touch is still offered in many colors. But whatever color phone or iPod customers have, white earbuds are the only color Apple sells. But perhaps Apple is beginning to change. Its AirPods Max are available in five colors, including black, green, red, blue, and the original white. However, the 1st generation, 2nd generation, and AirPods Pro are still only offered in white. The iMac accessories are also beginning to come in color.

Apple may be transitioning to colored earbuds, starting with the array of colors of the AirPods Max. – Photo by Apple

Finally, after two decades, customers may finally receive colorful earbuds from Apple.