Apple’s yellow iPhone more than just a new color. It’s a stroke of genius

Apple’s Yellow iPhone Is More Than Just a New Color. It’s a Stroke of Genius

Apple gets to sell more iPhones, and delight its customers.


Apple's yellow iPhone 14.
Apple’s yellow iPhone 14.

Apple released a new iPhone 14 last week. Technically, the only thing new is the color. In this case, yellow. Other than that, it’s exactly the same in every way as the iPhone 14 models Apple introduced in September. It’s also a brilliant lesson for every small-business owner about how to create anticipation and delight your customers even when you don’t have something new to sell.

The yellow iPhone 14 doesn’t have any new features. It’s just an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus, but it’s yellow. Why is that such a big deal? Because people are talking and writing about a brand new iPhone, and all Apple had to do was order some paint, put it on the existing model. and sell a few million of them.

OK, I know it’s a little more complicated than that, and no one is sitting around painting iPhones. But for a company that releases new iPhones on a religious schedule, dropping something it can call new in the middle of the cycle is really smart. 

Of course, people who upgrade their iPhones on a regular schedule will tell you the yellow iPhone is a very bad deal. There’s a new one coming in just six months. “You should definitely wait for the iPhone 15 coming this fall,” they will tell you. 

The thing is, most people don’t upgrade their iPhone every year, or even every other year. Most people upgrade their iPhone when they need a new iPhone. They wait as long as they can, and when the time comes, they don’t care that much about whether the next one is coming soon after. 

I think that’s why the fun new color is only available on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, but not the Pro models. The people Apple is targeting with its midcycle updates aren’t buying the Pro models.

I read a few articles claiming this is a blatant attempt to get headlines and juice sales midcycle, and, of course, it is. That’s why it’s so smart. Apple introduces a new iPhone that isn’t functionally new at all, but still gets to use the word “new” to market it. Apple knows people don’t pay attention to six-month-old iPhone models the same way they pay attention to the word “new.” 

Here are a few reasons why the yellow iPhone offers a smart lesson for every business:

It captures non-early adopters

As I mentioned, the yellow iPhone isn’t for people who preorder their iPhone as soon as the new models go on sale. Those people already spent their money and have been using their current iPhone for six months.

The yellow iPhone is for those who don’t upgrade their iPhone on an annual schedule. Did the early adopters get penalized because Apple decided to hold back this particular color? Of course not. It’s a color. There are no other special features to miss out on.

I suppose if yellow is your favorite color, you might be bummed that you ordered something else, but you could have waited. Nothing says you have to buy an iPhone in September.

It creates anticipation

Everyone knows that Apple drops a new iPhone color in the Spring. It’s done so for the past few years, and there’s no reason to think it’ll stop happening any time soon. For those who likes their devices in fun colors, the spring drop is something to look forward to.

For Apple, that’s really smart, since it creates anticipation at a time when no one would be thinking about new iPhones. I don’t know if it’s enough to keep someone from buying something different, but as a company, Apple has found out a way to keep us paying attention.

It’s fun

The fact that Apple probably sells a bunch of iPhones it might not otherwise certainly makes it a good business move. But that isn’t even the best reason for dropping a new color in the spring. The best reason is that it’s fun. 

Like the purple iPhone 12 and the Alpine Green iPhone 13, the yellow iPhone 14 is fun. It’s a way Apple can delight its customers simply by changing the color of an existing product. My only issue, I wish they’d do it with more devices, like laptops and iPads. 

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