Let me preface my statements by saying that I am not a trained scientist. I am also not a scientist. But I have developed a scientific hypothesis that promises to shatter everything you think you know about the world and humankind and maybe even the universe. My hypothesis is this: people want whatever color iPhone Apple wants people to want.

Think about it.

The first iPhone came in one flavor and sported an aluminum back with an unusually unattractive black plastic strip at the bottom. (We can safely ignore this early model for the purposes of our thought experiment).

Apple offered the next iteration, iPhone 3G and 3GS, in two varieties: white and black. The white color confined itself to the plastic backside of the device, however for both options the front of these phones was the color of an old coal miner’s lungs.

I suspect that Apple strongly favored the black version because it was FAR better looking and matched Steve Jobs’ snappy mock turtleneck. Conveniently, every 3G/3GS commercial that I watched while researching this post featured a black phone. Looking back, I have the sense that most people wanted the black model. (I wanted the black model).

So then things got a little bit more intense. Apple came out with iPhone 4, and for the first time white phones on offer were white all over – front and back. While at first Apple touted their albino product as highly desirable, the pale white phones presented manufacturing challenges that created significant delays. It’s just conjecture, but I think that Apple changed course and marketed the black iPhone 4 HARD.

As a result, when the 4S emerged and so many of the hardware kinks had been smoothed out, most of the commercials and marketing images featured a white phone. I don’t know about you, but by then I wanted a white iPhone like paparazzi want to snap a topless photo of the Duchess of Kent. I thought it was because I was tired of black (which is just crazy talk, when you think about it – who would ever get tired of black?) but no: IT WAS BECAUSE THEY WANTED ME TO WANT IT.

And that brings me to iPhone 5.

The new iPhone is available in white and black with a back-to-the-future aluminum backside (it’s also thinner, taller, lighter, and better). Right away, I found myself coveting the black phone, blithely assuming that I had grown tired of white for the same reasons the Roman army grew tired of Caligula. But then I looked at apple.com/iphone: the black iPhone is out in front again!

Now if I were Apple, and I can’t be – I’m a person not a corporation – but if I were, I’d want people to buy the black iPhone 5 for one simple reason: letterboxed screens. The black bands at the top and bottom of a screen that appear when users run old apps on the new hardware will blend in ever so much better on a black phone. And so I’d take lots of sexy photos of the black phone and background the white phone as an alternative option.

I predict that after developers have caught up and updated apps for the new form factor, we’ll see a white iPhone 5S featured next year. IT’S JUST SCIENCE!

(originally published on BAD YEWEX)