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The pink iPhone 13 is real, but I liked the fan art better than Apple's version

The pink iPhone 13 rumors from earlier this year were false, but Apple delivered us a rosy hue anyway.

iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 in Apple's new pink color.

Apple

It was only a matter of time before the great algorithm in the sky brought millennial pink and iPhone buzz together in capitalist matrimony. The iPhone 13 lineup is finally here. After Apple's virtual announcement event, which saw not only the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max but also the Apple Watch 7 and new iPads, the internet is abuzz with excitement over the phones' expanded storage options (up to 1TB!), extra battery life, camera upgrades and more. But what I'm most excited about are the new colors -- specifically, the pink iPhone 13 of the collective internet's dreams.

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This fan art render of a pink iPhone 13 was posted on Instagram before going viral on Twitter.

@aliartist3d

Murmurs about a bubblegum pink iPhone 13 all started with an Instagram post. Artist and Instagrammer Ali Sayed Ali, who specializes in 3D models and renders (mostly of iPhones), posted a photo back in February showing a very ~aesthetic~ pink iPhone surrounded by what appears to be other pink Apple accessories (AirPodsAirPods Max and an iPhone case). "Should we start seeing these colors more often?" the caption said. 

Read more: CNET's iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max reviews

Now playing: Watch this: Review: The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini check all the boxes
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Then on May 5, a Twitter account called Peng Phones created a frenzy when it tweeted the same photo without sourcing, referring to it as a "Rose Pink" iPhone 13 Pro Max render and teasing a December 2021 release date for the color option. (Subsequent tweets from the same account also mention November 2021 releases for "Pink," "Rose Pink" and even "Rosegold Pink" iPhones.) The tweet netted over 40,000 likes and more than 30,000 retweets, causing searches for "pink iPhone 13" to spike. The photo has since been removed from the tweet for copyright violation.

Much of the Twitter reaction was of the skeptical variety:

But still, many Twitter responses expressed hope (or at least a capitulation to capitalism that one could interpret as buying intent): "Capitalism is bad but the pink iphone is so sexy," one person tweeted. Another just tweeted "manifesting" between two candle emoji with an image of not only a pink iPhone 13, but a pink Nintendo Switch, too. 

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Another render of a pink iPhone that had been going around Twitter.

@itsleighchan

This rumor was definitely more of an iPhone wish list item since the original creator of the image says she created it just for fun. But that didn't stop us (and the aesthetic devotees of social media) from wondering about its plausibility anyway. Could Apple actually make the pink iPhone happen? Turns out, yes. Check out the official iPhone 13 color options below.

iPhone 13 and 13 Mini colors:

  • Starlight
  • Midnight
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Product Red

iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max colors:

  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Gold
  • Sierra blue

The veracity of the alleged release dates (here's the official iPhone 13 release date) and color names tweeted by Peng Phones was pretty hard to vouch for, not having originated or been corroborated by notable leakers with solid Apple-leak track records, and especially because the photo in the tweet was merely fan art. But what the Twitter account got right was the fact that Apple would announce different colors for its iPhone 13 and 13 Mini phones compared to the 13 Pro and Pro Max. This is not much of a surprise, because Apple varied the colors similarly in its iPhone 12 lineup last year. 

Apple Event new iPhone 13

Tim Cook at the September 2021 Apple event.

Screenshot/CNET

Read more: Why the iPhone 13 Mini could be Apple's last Mini for a while

The odds of a pink iPhone 13 coming out in 2021? They weren't terrible. First, this wouldn't have been the first time Apple released a pink iPhone. The iPhone 5C, released in 2013, was available in pink. 2018's iPhone XR came in coral, and the iPhone 6S from 2015 was sold in rose gold. Pink has been a popular color for tech ever since. Just this past February, Samsung also released phantom pink and phantom violet models of its flagship Galaxy S21, with a more metallic sheen than the iPhone 13 render.

Purple iPhone 12

Apple's purple iPhone 12, unveiled in April alongside a colorful array of iMacs.

Sarah Tew/CNET

And Apple released a new purple color option for the iPhone 12 in the spring, another bone thrown to the aesthetic crowd. In fact, Apple also unveiled a redesigned iMac at its April event available in a variety of throwback hues to match the company's rainbow logo of yore. One of those iMac colors is, you guessed it, pink.

pink Apple iMac 2021

The pink iMac, unveiled at Apple's Spring Loaded event in April.

Screenshot/Apple

Apple does usually swap out one iPhone color from generation to generation, leaving the rest consistent. So it was always possible that a candy-colored pop of pink could oust the iPhone 12's deep blue or mint green. 

While Apple certainly delivered on our pleas for a pink iPhone 13 (the name of the color is literally just "pink"), the hue is not quite as bold as the original Instagram render. Would I call it bubblegum pink? Based on Apple's marketing images, no way. CNET's Patrick Holland says the pink is so pale it looks almost white in certain lighting. But millennial pink? Maybe. Still, no one can argue that their pink iPhone manifestations didn't technically come true, even if the fan art looks a lot prettier. But if you're still disappointed by the muted pastel shade, you can always just buy a pink phone case.