Apple Prays to the Sacred White Buffalo

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Another flurry of manufactured excitement emanates from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . The tweeted promise of a white iPhone from the company's worldwide marketing chief, Philip Schiller, fueled the fire of anticipation. Reuters even covered the topic. So here's BSN's take on the breaking news conjured up by the Apple hornblowers.

The fashion world has been engrossed in a world of black for years. Even weddings are considered formally elegant when the bridesmaids wear black, which, as irony would have it, was historically reserved for funerals.

Our technology arrives in black; from laptops to cell phones, noir is the norm.

So to stand out from the crowd, Apple has chosen to house its iPhone 4 in gleaming white. White, the color of hats worn by the good guys in Western movies. White, the color of the monstrous, frightening shark. White, the color of the Great White Way, the live entertainment center known as Broadway in New York City. White, the color of suits from Miami Vice. Apple may be trying through symbolism to subliminally make a point: We are the good guys, we scare away the competition, and we are the center of mobile entertainment.

White is good. Tatanka, the buffalo, and especially the rare white buffalo, is wakan, sacred, in American Indian legends. John Fire Lame Deer explains:

The buffalo is very sacred to us. That animal was almost like a part of our selves, a part of our souls. The buffalo gave us everything we needed. Without it we were nothing. Tepee, bed, blanket, coat, drum, water bags, food; a red hot stone dropped into his stomach became our soup kettle. His horns were our spoons, bones our knives, our needles and awls. The sinew made our bow strings, its ribs were our sleds, his hoofs became our rattles. His mighty skull, with the pipe leaning against it, was our sacred altar.

White Buffalo Calf Woman taught the Lakota Sioux how to pray to the Great Spirit and taught that wealth is a state of mind no matter what your material objects add up to. The chief of the Lakota Sioux speaks of the sacred white buffalo prophecy in this video.

Apple, in contrast to Indian ideals, is praying that its white iPhone 4 ploy will generate more wealth in the form of sales of the popular mobile device. Yet the white iPhone hasn't changed, technically, from the same phone in a different color. Oddly, the iPhone 5 is supposed to come out at the same time. We'd expect the 5 to be white, too. However, the public has already been decorating their iPhones in colors of their own choosing. The iStore offers covers in nine vibrant colors including Milk, aka White. So why Apple itself needs to produce its own version of the phone cased in white and make such a hype is questionable.

Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan reportedly is having its Hon Hai Precision Industry Company assemble the iPhone in its headline-making white cover. Memorial Day is the official fashion-dictated date when women can begin to shed their black pumps for white sandals. We should be seeing the white iPhone about the same time, near the end of May. So, ladies, you can immediately carry the new status symbol proudly without fear of the fashion police.

Steve Jobs showed the smartphone's new cover a year ago this June, but unexplained delays pushed the launch date way back. No one is saying whether the color or the technology posed a problem. AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) seem to have dibs on the phone whenever it gets here. However, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL  ) is also vying for a piece of the action. The popularity of the iPhone boosts the carrier's profits as well. More iPhone users, more subscribers for the phone companies. Apple claims more than 16 million iPhone sales in the last quarter of 2010. Who wouldn't want a piece of that action, regardless of whether the units are black or white?

Still, this is a curious move by Apple, which brought out the iPod in white, only to dump it for classic black, as well as lime, turquoise, shocking pink, and silver. Gizmodo wrote in 2007: "Earlier today Steve struck the final nail into whitey's coffin; the iPod touch came sporting a svelte black look and the iPod classic went with black & silver color options. Nowhere was a white iPod to be found." Again, white is Apple's news of the day. It only proves that the infamous computer company isn't above reversing its position and using hype to market its products.

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Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 12:02 PM, iParadigm2watch wrote:

    What on earth are you talking about?

    I would presume that all the tooling had already been put in place a year ago for the white iPhone.

    To just drop all that preparation and investment would seem too wasteful to Apple. Or to any company prepping a product. If the black colored sibling is working just fine, why not introduce "it's" sibling?

    So there will be black and white. Nice. I wonder how many people will cover the white phone with a pink cover? And what is this ta.gg529 nonsense posted above? Get a life.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 12:11 PM, skippywonder wrote:

    " It only proves that the infamous computer company isn't above reversing its position and using hype to market its products."

    It seems the article was written so that you could call Apple "infamous" and blast them for (gasp) marketing with hype.

    The only companies who don't hype their products are the unsuccessful ones. Is this why Apple is "infamous"? Because it is successful?

    Did you know my smooth glide gel pen is not actually any smoother than any other pen. But I guess that's just "infamous" Bic and their marketing hype. I don't want to break the news to you about "mountain grown" Folgers, but it's more of the same ugliness...

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 1:11 PM, Jaro65 wrote:



  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 1:59 PM, Superstef wrote:

    The reason the white iPhone was withdrawn was the white material originally used could not be made to specification in the volume required. It proved fine during development and pre-production, but the material manufacturer could not meet Apple's spec on light leakage around the camera, which caused images to appear over-exposed, once production quantities were made. We should applaud Apple's decision to delay the white phone until this problem was fixed.

    It seems to me the attention given to first, the non-appearance and then the likely shipping of the white model had little to do with hype from Apple and much to do with journalists finding something, anything, to write about. You can't blame a company for riding publicity coat-tails. It's what people do!

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 1:59 PM, bsimpsen wrote:

    "Apple, in contrast to Indian ideals, is praying that its white iPhone 4 ploy will generate more wealth"

    Have you any evidence Apple prays? Have you any evidence Indians do not pray for more wealth? Have you any evidence that the white iPhone is a ploy?

    "No one is saying whether the color or the technology posed a problem." Wrong. The problem has been well explained. The white pigment was not opaque enough to stop bleeding of the flash into the lens, causing fogged image.

    If you fancy yourself a reporter, you should do your homework. If you fancy yourself a storyteller, you should also do your homework.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 2:38 PM, gslusher wrote:

    "White is good. Tatanka, the buffalo, and especially the rare white buffalo, is wakan, sacred, in American Indian legends."

    There is no such thing as "American Indian legends." There are hundreds of tribes and clans of Native Americans, each with its own legends. Some may be shared or derived from neighboring tribes/clans, but each culture was (and, in some cases, still is) its own. Would you say, "Asian legends," or "African legends"? You're speaking of people who populated an entire continent.

    You treat all Native Americans as if they are/were from the Great Plains. What about the many who lived in the East and probably never saw or even heard of buffalo? The same would apply to the natives of the Pacific Northwest, the desert Southwest, the Southeast (including the Seminole around Florida), what is now Mexico and Central America, and so on?

    There's not one "American Indian" language, either. To many Native Americans, the words you used would have been as foreign as Italian.

    It appears that you haven't moved beyond the Hollywood "cowboys-and-Indians" stories.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2011, at 4:00 PM, midnightmoney wrote:

    there are though animals, especially coyote, that figure in legends of tribes from the east coast to the west, so you can talk about a common thread and shared common reverence for certain animals. If you were to put together an anthology of Native American legends, what would you call it?

    On the other hand, whether those animals or any native american tribes of the past have anything at all to do with the iphone, however tongue in cheek and gropingly the writer may be handling the whole issue, isn't even close to debatable. Fact is we should all--the fool included--be kicking ourselves for wasting time on the colour of a phone.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2011, at 3:29 AM, nealjking wrote:

    The author missed an obvious "white" example: Moby Dick, the white whale, target of Captain Ahab's vendetta.

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