I have seen a lot of chatter about the white versus the black iPad 2’s and after a good amount of messing about with both models side by side in an Apple store I drew up my own conclusions on the mildly controversial white iPad and the fact that some seem to think it feels more toy like than the black model.
I feel part of the reason for this is because the white surface takes on the color of the light surrounding the device so the overall feel of the device is altered greatly in different environments. I was trying to think of another product like the white iPad that uses a combination of a glass surface with a white backing but can’t come up with many. Typically when you think of shiny white things you imagine polished, shiny plastic. Largely because of Apples own product line in the past. The soft round bezel on the edges of the new iPad simply add to the mental idea that it is a curvy piece of plastic but it’s all in the mind. This is certainly new territory they are breaking into and I feel it messes a bit with our perception.
The black iPad seems to be preferred for many because of the idea that it feels more like you are simply holding a screen, there is nothing else to distract you from the content there in front of you. Not to mention black is the classic geek chic color of choice and to many back means classy. I feel as though black electronics like this have this feeling because of the emotional nature of the color in our minds. The deep black of space, it is a color that consumes light, not one that adds to it. Psychologically, a black iPad appears to be stronger and more solid because of this simple fact. The same goes for the idea that black is somehow less distracting, that it blends into the environment around you. This is a largely circumstantial argument, however and totally boils down to ones own taste.
Then there is the argument that the screen feels further away from the glass which is not actually true at all but you want to think that because of the way the light falls onto the white bezel, it tends to bend in a different way because of the light reflecting back up from the white on the back of the glass giving you the feeling that the content on the scene is further away from you.
There is also a black edge around the content of the screen. This is most likely unavoidable. The screen would have had to be pressed up against the glass to be rid of such a gap. This or the bezel would have to overlap the edge of the screen not unlike the bleed used in print design but this would result in a glowing bezel and lost pixels. I find that the black gap is not as much about the distance from the edge of the bezel to the edge of the first pixel on the screen as it is simply the illusion of a larger gap because of your perspective looking down into the dark behind the bezel or maybe thats just me.
To some this may be a troubling distraction but honestly I think that, like the comfortable feel of black, it is also a matter of what you are used to seeing. What you see as a distraction may simply be your mind wanting to push against something you are not used to seeing, our instincts evolve quickly sometimes and its important to pay attention to the reasoning behind why we make the decisions we make. I feel that with a few days of use that thin black edge would never be noticed again and simply be seen as a border to the screen. It makes for good tech writing to discover things that could be seen as wrong with a new devices design and while things like this do warrant being pointed out I always find it troubling when its not really investigated or thought through well enough before jumping into the group think mentality that leads to assumptions and misguided opinions. Perhaps I am making an assumption myself in saying this, who knows.
Whats my personal taste leaning towards? While after a year of using my first gen iPad with its deep black screen I still feel as though the thick black bezel feels heavy around my screen. I understand the functionality of having a bezel large enough to hold in my hand though, which is a functional compromise for the better in my opinion.
There is also the emotion involved within a color choice. We are all emotional beings after all and so its hard not to bring emotion into the conversation while talking about a device that could end up being so closely intertwined in your every day life.
I find that I like the peacefulness of having lighter colors around me while I work and live my life or at least a nice balance of color. So for that reason alone, the airy lightness of a white iPad seems more appealing than yet another black monolith laying around on my desk. I feel like I have had enough black for now. The white border hardly feels distracting to me personally and in fact feels more natural and welcoming if it’s possible to say such a thing about an electronic device. This, of course, is simply my opinion, and many of you may prefer black for the same reasons I prefer white.
I have really loved having the iPad around and I have discovered that I have been using it more and more as applications continue to progress into new levels of functionality and appeal. I will explore this a bit more in another post soon. The reason for writing this was simply to mention my opinion on the ongoing discussion of the white and black iPads which seemed to vary somewhat from what I have read elsewhere. Funny thing me writing about a product I don’t own though. Thats what opinion articles are about though then aren’t they? What do you think?