Apple Has Its Box Design Down to an Art. It Even Scientifically Measured the Time It Takes to Open Them

87% of customers tend to keep the boxes their Apple products came in.

No comments Twitter Flipboard E-mail

Apple is known for being one of the most thoughtful and iconic companies in Silicon Valley when it comes to its products. The reputation extends to its packaging, which has led device owners around the globe to keep, and collect, the boxes their Apple products come in. Now, with the elimination of plastic from the unboxing experience, the interaction between the user and their Apple box holds even greater significance than you might realize.

The seconds leading up to the unveiling of the box, the sound and sturdiness of the cardboard flaps—every detail is meticulously thought out. There’s a dedicated team at Apple solely focused on designing these moments.

The Experience With a New Apple Product Starts Long Before You Use It

Apple is skilled in marketing and creating user loyalty. This process begins well before the user even turns on an Apple device. I spent seven years working closely with Apple in its marketing department, and there’s a lot of depth behind their products.

Apple Watch box The Apple Watch Ultra box is one of Apple’s most immersive packaging experiences.

The first step is creating a desire to make a purchase, which can be achieved through various methods including advertising campaigns, building anticipation for a new product throughout the year, or creating an appealing website. In the end, there are numerous factors that contribute to making users want to buy Apple products.

In the Apple Store, customers are made to feel comfortable and welcomed, receiving assistance and advice without feeling pressured to make quick decisions or unnecessary purchases. This is a distinct difference from other stores where people may feel like they're being chased as soon as they enter.

Apple Store The Apple Store experience is meant to be full of freedom.

And Then It’s Time for Unboxing, a Simple Gesture That Triggers a Neural Reaction

One of the most important steps of the buying experience has arrived. You’ve already made the purchase and you can’t wait to start using your new device. Although it may not seem like it, this is where the Apple magic happens. Have you heard of “controlled friction”? This is the incredible marketing strategy Apple and other luxury brands use in their product packaging.

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to open an iPhone box? This is due to a packaging feature called “air packing,” which Apple uses to slow down the box-opening process and create “a moment of suspense” for the user. This sets their products apart from cheaper options that are typically easier to open.

87% of customers tend to keep the boxes their Apple products came in.

This is similar to the behavior seen with luxury watch and handbag brands. As such, keeping these boxes becomes a way for users to hold onto a special memento.

Opening an iPhone Box Takes an Average of 7 Seconds

Apple conducted studies in a secret laboratory dedicated to its boxes and found that seven seconds is the ideal amount of time to build anticipation without frustrating the user. In fact, it’s important for the box to have continuous movement and never get stuck. As a result, the box should slide open smoothly while allowing air to enter.

This is such a crucial fact that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and former chief design officer Jony Ive patented the original iPhone box. Since 2007, Apple-style boxes are protected with intellectual property rights. Jobs and Ive aimed to create a three-step opening experience, as if it were a play:

  1. Seeing the box.
  2. Feeling the opening as you “fight” against the friction of the air.
  3. Discovering what’s inside and feeling a little “relief.”

At that moment, the idea is that our subconscious will pipe in: “Wow, if they spend this much time on packaging, the rest of the product will be just as good.”

iPod boxes The iPod box is patented by Apple.

The Box and Its Size Should Match the Product

The iPod Nano box also had its own patent. As readers may recall, it was transparent, allowing you to see the product itself. It was a small, compact box—just like the iPod Nano. In fact, the box was so small that it directly displayed the product with no layers in between.

We now have the Apple Vision Pro. It comes in a large, tidy box and is presented in a luxurious, jewel-like manner on a stand, allowing you to pick it up directly. It’s like winning a trophy.

As you can see, there’s a lot of thought put into an Apple product. This isn’t just about being a fan, it’s about the application of science to human psychology. And it's a strategy that's been applied countless times in other industries, such as those dedicated to sports, automotive, and jewelry.

Related | I’ve Tested All the iPhone 15 Models: This is the One to Buy

Home o Index