Apple dictatorship comes down hard on third-party packaging

Any company wanting to sell its accessories in Apple stores may as well fire some of its designers.

Continuing its image-control efforts, Apple is to phase out accessories that are supplied in ugly, non-conforming boxes. Only those accessories that are packages in boxes co-designed with Apple will be guaranteed shelf space in a store.

Many manufacturers already go to some lengths to mimic the look of official iPhone and iPad packaging, but it won't be long before this is compulsory. A memo send to retail store staff reveals that accessories from the likes of Incase, Logitech, and Mophie will soon feature the cookie-cutter look that has become synonymous with Apple packaging.

In the coming months, 9to5Mac reports, Apple Store visitors can expect to see more white boxes lining shelves. All packaging will be required to comply with Apple's guidelines that dictate what is aesthetically acceptable in terms of fonts, colors, raw materials, and general style. The move is hardly surprising for a company that is renowned for its anal attention to detail, but there is potential for the consistent look to be confusing.

9to5Mac says:

The company is gearing up to revamp its third-party accessory selection across all of its retail stores by next week by reducing the amount of accessories available in stores to ones sold in packaging co-designed by Apple [...]

With Apple's plans to great a more uniform look for boxes, improve label consistency, and control the appearance of packaging by being involved in the design process even for third party accessories, there is room for confusion.

If all packaging looks similar, customers may start to find it difficult to distinguish between third party and official accessories. For Apple, though, it will help to bring more side of the business in house, helping to reduce the risk of the design leaks which often stems from accessory manufacturers.

Manufacturers are going to be actively encouraged, or feel compelled, to work more closely with Apple. Whether this turns out to be a good or a bad thing really depends on whether they are left to get on with things without too much interference.

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