The new Apple Beats Studio Buds+ are now available, and there’s one obvious reason why you might want to get them instead of a pair of AirPods Pro: They’re available in an incredibly cool clear color, which is clear plastic on both the earbuds and them. case.
Transparency is not a new idea for Apple. For longtime users, the new Buds+ evoke memories of past Apple products encased in clear and translucent plastic. In fact, Apple popularized this trend many years ago, but like all trends, it faded over time. Now, with Nothing Phone and now with the new Beats Studio Buds+, transparent designs are having a moment, and we’d love to see some of our favorite Apple products get a transparent treatment as well.
While we’re dreaming, here are a few Apple products that paved the way for the new transparent Beats Studio Buds+ headphones:
The original iMac just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and while it set an industry trend, it wasn’t Apple’s first move toward transparency. But he was the most successful. The original blue and white shell didn’t give a crystal clear look at the machine’s inner workings, but gave enough of a tech visual element to balance out the playfulness of the design. Over the years, Apple has expanded the color palette and case patterns – some were transparent, some were not – but we’ll always have a soft spot for the original Bondi Blue iMac.
Prior to the iMac, Apple used translucent parts in products such as the Power Macintosh 8600 and 9600, but the eMate 300 was the first Apple device to be fully integrated with a colorful translucent design. Part of the Apple Newton platform sold through educational channels, a dark blue-green plastic miniature laptop with a tiny keyboard, an even thinner screen, and the Newton operating system. It never caught on, but we’d buy it in a second if Apple released it today.
Two years after the eMate 300 and one year after the iMac, Apple released the iBook. The iBook was a consumer-grade Apple laptop available from Blueberry. Graphite, or Tangerine, and its solid construction actually made it bigger than the professional-grade PowerBook G3 that Apple also offered. The iBook also had a carrying handle, which added to the appeal. But what made it wildly popular was its iMac-inspired case, with atypical PC curves and a fair amount of transparency. We love modern MacBooks, but nothing beats the iBook.
Powerful Macintosh G3 All-in-One
The Power Macintosh G3 All-in-One arrived two months earlier than the iMac, and it was a clear sign of things to come. The top and back of this Mac used translucent clear plastic, while the rest of the chassis was beige. This 60-pound Mac was often referred to as the Molar Mac due to its resemblance to a tooth. You have to see this thing in person to really understand how form and function didn’t really mix, but the clear plastic, quirky curves, and compact all-in-one design were the first glimpse of the future.
Studio Display (1998, 1999, 2000)
When Apple released Studio Display last year, the company effectively revived an old trademark. The very first Studio Display was released in 1998 and had, you guessed it, a translucent gray body and a blue stand. It was Apple’s first LCD flat screen monitor, but because LCD monitors were expensive (especially if you wanted to go up to 15 inches), CRT monitors were still popular. Therefore, Apple released a 17- and 21-inch CRT Studio Display with a white and translucent Blueberry casing to match the Power Macintosh G3. But we have a soft spot for the latest CRT made by Apple, the 17-inch Apple Studio Display CRT (ADC) with a crystal clear casing so you can see everything inside.
Harman Kardon sound sticks
The sound sticks were made by Harman Kardon, but they were co-designed with Apple, designed by Jony Ive, and built for early 2000s Macs. The Soundsticks were an addition to the iSub, a 20-watt subwoofer specially designed to work with the slot-loading Apple iMac and Power Mac G4 computers. The vertical design and translucent body are eye-catching even today – and you can still buy the kit with or without wires.