It is just me, or do you have to work for Apple to think that the fourth color added to the iPhone 6s/Plus is rose gold? To anyone else, the color is, like the Apple Watch Sport version, surely very obviously pink?

Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against pink. It’s a popular color, it makes perfect sense to make pink iPhones and Watches. It might not be my personal choice, but then neither is gold – whether of the yellow or rose variety. Personally, I still haven’t quite stopped grumbling about Apple replacing black iPhones with gray ones, a topic I’ll return to in a moment … 

I fully understand, of course, that Apple isn’t intending to make the rose gold color look like real gold – any more than it does with the color it simply calls ‘gold.’ The standard gold iPhone is clearly what might be termed a stylized form of the color. Put a gold-colored iPhone next to something actually made of gold – an Apple Watch Edition, for example – and nobody is going to confuse the two, and nor does Apple intend them to. I get that.

But show anyone a gold iPhone and ask them what color it is, and everyone is going to say gold. Show anyone a pi- sorry, rose gold iPhone 6s and ask them what color it is and they are, unless they have been reading Apple’s marketing materials, going to tell you it’s pink. Because it is.

It seems odd that Apple, with all its famed attention to detail, its special alloys and all the other great things Jony Ive talks about in those signature videos, couldn’t come up with a rose gold color that looks … well, something like rose gold. Stylized or not. Something that isn’t, in fact, quite clearly pink.

And while I’m rambling on about iPhone colors and attention to detail, let’s talk for a moment about Space Gray. I’m going to get over the undeniable fact that there are only two Proper Colors for electronics – anodised aluminum and black – and take the open-minded view that other colors are permitted. But when you pick a gray, and even give a special name to that particular shade, shouldn’t the name actually describe the shade you chose?

Apple doesn’t seem to know what it means by Space Gray. Compare the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6. (I know you can’t do it from photos, as the light affects the apparent shade, but compare the two in person, as I’ve done.)


They are not remotely the same color. The difference between iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Sport is less marked, but they are still not the same color. Why go to the trouble of giving a name to a particular shade of gray when it doesn’t, in fact, describe a particular shade of gray? An Imgur user subsequently uploaded this comparison chart:


Yeah, it’s a slow news day, and these are trivial complaints, but this is, after all, Apple: the company that’s supposed to sweat the small stuff. I’m just curious why, when it comes to color, it doesn’t seem to bother.


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear