With the advent and popularity of the iPod, Apple's white iPod and accompanying headphones soon became iconic symbols. Interestingly enough, a new book profiling Apple design guru Jony Ive reveals that Jobs initially wasn't on board with Apple's designs moving in a white direction. What's more, Apple's headphone cords are not exactly white as a result.
BusinessInsider this week provided some excerpts from Leander Kahney's new book on Ive, relaying that Ive championed white products against Jobs' better judgement. Ive's obssession with white really picked up steam in the wake of the colorful iMac designs that were so popular in the late 90s and early 2000s.
"Right from the very first time, we were thinking about the product, we'd see [the iPod] as stainless steel and white. It's just so ... brutally simple. It's not a color. Supposedly neutral — but just an unmistakable, shocking neutral," said Ive about the iPod.
When Apple's designers were presenting products to Jobs he reflexively disliked white initially. So, Apple's designers tried to come up with colors that were close to white without being white to make him happy.
The designers came up with cloud white, snow white, glacial white, and moon gray, which looked like it was white, but was really gray. Jobs liked the moon gray, and approved it for a keyboard, says Kahney.
Moon gray also ended up being used in the cords on iPod ear phones, even though most people called the cords white.
"Moon gray and seashell gray were shades developed by us at Apple that were so close to white as to appear almost white but were in fact gray," says Doug Satzger, who worked in the Apple design group.
It's funny, really. Apple detractors like to talk to trot out the "this wouldn't have happened if Steve Jobs were still around" meme while seemingly forgetting that some of Apple's best ideas (scroll wheel on the iPod, naming the iMac, releasing an iPad Mini) came from other folks inside Apple.