If you had to pick a symbol to represent life during the pandemic, the mask is the most obvious choice. A close second, however, might be Amazon's iconic brown box

Millions, if not billions, of those brown boxes have landed at the front doors of Americans as they shifted their shopping habits online during lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions over the past year. Amazon became the place where you went for everything from shoes, to hand sanitizer, to toilet paper, to a Chromebook for your kids to use for virtual school--all of which arrived in one of those brown boxes.

For Amazon, I'm not sure there's any question that the brown box is its most recognizable brand asset. That's why I think it's brilliant that the company's newest version of its iOS app uses a new icon inspired by the box.

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Previously spotted by The Verge, the new logo appears to be rolling out at different times in various regions. Users on Twitter have also mentioned that the new icon has appeared with the most recent update to the app on their device.

The icon is brown, with the Amazon smile, and a small blue square of tape at the top. 
It helps that the brown color stands out in comparison to the white background of its current app, which features the company's name and a shopping cart. It's also nice to see Amazon bringing a bit of personality and design--two things the site has never had a lot of, focusing instead mostly on functionality. 

Here's the thing I think is most brilliant about this--the metaphor for shopping on Amazon isn't the cart. No one goes to the Amazon app to fill their cart. For that matter, most of the time you can bypass the virtual shopping cart altogether. 

As you go through a physical store, browsing the aisles looking at products on the shelf, you fill your shopping cart with the things you need, as well as whatever else you discover along the way. Filling your shopping cart is the tangible experience. It's the thing you get excited about because it is the culmination of the excitement and anticipation you feel toward shopping.

That isn't true online. You search for something on Amazon, and you might add it to your virtual shopping cart. It's called that only because it tried to mirror the experience of gathering things you then purchase when you "check out." Except, on Amazon, most of the time you can simply "Buy It Now." 

Sure, you might find other things to buy, but you don't pick them up and put them in a shopping cart. That isn't the physical thing about shopping online. 

No, the thing about shopping on Amazon is to get the box. That's the physical experience. Opening your front door, bringing a brown box with blue tape, and opening it up. The box is the experience because it represents the thing you want to have. 

The point is, you don't use the app to fill a shopping cart, you use the app to get the box. Everyone likes getting a box from Amazon. The new app icon sort of says, "Want that feeling? Tap me." 

That's brilliant.