Apple Wants Input on How Third-Party Vendors Package Products

Apple is seeking a say in how third-party product packaging fits in with its own products being sold in Apple stores, according to reports.

third-party packaging

Apple wants to streamline and standardize the appearance of product packages in its Apple Stores by having third-party vendors use new packaging that has been designed in cooperation with the company.

The push to standardize product packaging for customers was revealed in a July 7 article by Silicon Angle, which said that the move is being made over the coming weeks and months. Apple's own product packaging is often elegant and spare, with stark white or black backgrounds, thickly coated and durable cardboard or paperboard materials and designs that fit the products like a carefully constructed puzzle.

The third-party product packaging redesigns are aimed at making components and accessories from other companies meld better with Apple's own products on store shelves, the article said. "As a result, the new packaging has the same white minimalist look and feel as Apple's Mac, iPhone and Apple Watch packaging, and has less text on the front than traditional third-party packaging."

The new third-party packaging will also include product images and be manufactured from higher-quality materials than product packaging current aftermarket vendors use.

The first group of third-party accessories that will include the Apple co-designed new packaging will be from Tech21, Incase, Sena, Logitech, Mophie and Life Proof, according to a leaked Apple memo that shared the news with Apple employees, reported Silicon Angle.

Additional accessory makers are also expected to change their packaging to meet Apple's request, while Apple apparently also "intends to phase out accessories that do not comply with the new look and feel," the article said.

It will be interesting to see how consumers feel about the coming changes, which could make it more difficult and confusing to determine which accessories and add-on products are made by Apple and which are made by third-party vendors.

In March, eWEEK reported that Apple has been looking at the idea of allowing third-party vendors to engineer, build and offer a wide range of accessories that would work with the new USB-C ports on the company's latest MacBook computers. The USB-C ports allow the same connection point for battery charging, USB devices, VGA connectors and data transfer.

For years, Apple has held tight controls on its existing proprietary MagSafe charging port connector, which uses small, powerful magnets to keep a MacBook's charging cord attached to the device. The MagSafe design allows the cord to quickly detach itself from the MacBook in the event a user accidentally or carelessly trips over the power cord, preventing certain damage and expense from a dropped and smashed MacBook.

For MacBook users, this is significant because it will open up a world of accessories that they could not use in the past, including external batteries that can power their machines after the built-in batteries run out of juice, extending the usefulness of their machines during long work days.

The port change is reminiscent of the changes Apple made back in 2012 when the former 30-pin connector on iPhones was changed to a smaller and simpler new eight-pin Lightning connector, starting with Apple's then-new iPhone 5. For iPhone owners, that meant that the accessories they had bought, collected and used for their previous iPhones would now not plug directly in to their new phones.