Apple announces move to all-black product lineup


A Black Mac
In response to the overwhelming popularity of the black iPod products that began with the introduction of the iPod nano in September, Apple has announced that it will be switching to an all-black hardware lineup. "Black truly is is the new black," joked Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a press event on Wednesday as he showed off the first black Macs to be available in the U.S. since the Macintosh TV, which was discontinued in 1994. Apple enthusiasts may note that the later Performa 5420 was released in the U.K. with a black case.

Apple's upcoming black iMac. Image courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.

According to Apple, the entire hardware lineup will move to black over the next year, replacing their white counterparts. The list of black product offerings confirmed by Apple is as follows: PowerMac, PowerBook, iMac, iBook, Mac mini, eMac, Xserve, Xserve RAID, Cinema Displays, Airport and Airport Express, iSight, and an iPod shuffle complete with black earbuds.

Easing the concerns of educators who are worried about the racial connotations of black vs. white hardware, Jobs promised an eMac lineup that will include both black and white models, as well as one that "looks Asian."

The first black Macs are expected to ship in 2006. While it is unusual for Apple to announce new hardware so far in advance, Apple explained that the early notice was given so that developers would have time to modify software if necessary, as they have been coding for white casing. As noted in previous reports, Apple is increasingly concerned about even the most trivial visual components of its products.

New Xcode
To aid developers in making the transition, Apple today released an update to Xcode (previously rumored under the lengthy and now-obvious code name "command-option-contol-8") that allows easy changes of white Mac icons to black.

Intel tie-in?
Industry experts speculate that the availability of the black Macs could be timed to coincide with the Intel transition, with the first "Macintel" models featuring slick black cases.

Beyond Hardware
Product packaging on the software line will also move to a completely black scheme, with iLife, iWork, Final Cut Express, and the .Mac retail box being the last products to undergo the revision.

Posted: Tuesday - October 25, 2005 at 05:32 AM