Gold: Apple Really is Making Smaug’s iPhone

| Analysis

I haven't been too keen on the idea of Apple making a gold version of the iPhone and instead have been thinking that's a better option for the rumored iPhone 5C. Based on the word on the street, I'm flat-out wrong, and that instead of being garish, it'll be a product that Smaug would be willing to fight for to keep out of Hobbit's hands.

Dragons of Middle Earth love gold, so they'll be first in line for the next iPhoneDragons of Middle Earth love gold, so they'll be first in line for the next iPhone

First, TechCrunch has sources saying the the gold iPhone is real, but that it will be more of a champagne color instead of a blinged-out gold. Then there's AllThings D with sources that back up TechCrunch's, and they're calling the gold color elegant.

I said last week that gold isn't a color Apple has used in the past and that it won't likely start now. I had forgotten about the gold iPod mini, so Apple does have a limited track record with gold colored products, and now it seems that gold is a popular color in large emerging markets like China.

Adding a gold option would expand the iPhone's color lineup to three, or at least two with a variation. The black model includes black glass pieces, too, where as gold will be an option in addition to silver for the white iPhone model.

Apple does have experience with multiple color options for its mobile devices. The discontinued iPod mini, along with iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPod touch all come in several colors, and the iPhone and iPad are available in black or white versions.

AllThings D along with The Loop have said that an iPhone introduction media event will be happening on September 10. That's as good as a confirmation from Apple, and that's were we'll get to see the gold iPhone for the first time. Apple will use the event to show off the iPhone 5 replacement -- presumably the iPhone 5S -- and introduce the lower priced iPhone 5C.

Preorders will probably start a few days later with product shipping shortly after that, most likely the 20th at the latest. My personal aversion to a gold iPhone aside, it will probably sell well in markets like China which has been part of the reason why I think it'd be a good option on the lower priced iPhone model.

Gold isn't currently an option in Apple's color lineup, and despite what I'd like to see, it looks like we're about to see it show up on the next iPhone. Start watching for one to show up in a dragon horde near you.

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Lee Dronick

I have doubts that this is real. However, perhaps the gold colored iPhone is not meant for the Western market, maybe it is meant for the Asian market. In particular the Chinese market. “Ore” it just a protype iPhone that doesn’t have a black or white finish.


I keep thinking of the Flower Power and Dalmatian iMacs. When a design is getting tired companies tend to turn to colors to jazz them up. That said though, I could see a gold iPhone doing well in Asia. For me, I want my phone, my iPad, and my coffee just one way: black.

Bryan Chaffin

Oh, it’s real. It’s also designed for markets outside the U.S. with different tastes than mainstream Western tastes.


When you consider “mainstream Western tastes” just means “things middle-to-upper-class white people like” you find there is quite a large market for this even within the United States. Perhaps that is what post-Steve Apple has done.

Bryan Chaffin

Words of wisdom, dhp.


If jony Ive is sending Asia golden iToys, wouldn’t jade ones be at least as welcome there?



Gold trumps jade outside of mainland China. All of South and SE Asia, Central and most of NE Asia (outside of China, but including the mainland as well), have historically invested and kept their money in gold, although I suspect you know that.

Bryan et al:

I suspect that the novelty of these new iPhones (the 5C series) will be enough that, particularly for younger purchasers (a euphemism for ‘parents’), there may be greater movement even in high income countries in that line during this first release than might be expected. Undoubtedly, Apple and investors alike will be watching this performance indicator closely in trying to gauge production, in the case of the former, and margins, in the case of the latter.

Both my daughter and I are eligible for upgrades on this cycle (everyone else in the family is on the whole number cycle). If the option in the West exists for the 5C and the 5S, I’ll be curious as to which she’ll choose; although given the calibre of her tastes to date, I’m anticipating high end. Sigh.


Apologies, Jeff. I saw Bryan responding and assumed he was the author. Should have looked again at the author name.

Also, I’m impressed that you know the name of the dragon. I never managed to read ‘The Hobbit’.


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