Gold iPhones: Moving Beyond the Demographic of Me

| Analysis

Here comes the gold iPhoneIt's pretty much a given that Apple is adding gold as a third color option for the next iPhone model. It's no secret that I have been less than enamored with the idea, but based on some of the photos leaking to the Internet maybe the gold iPhone 5S won't be so bad after all. That said, it isn't for me, and that's not a problem at all for Apple.

At first I speculated that the gold iPhone would be part of the rumored new iPhone 5C lineup. Plastic-backed iPhones available in a range of colors sounded like a perfect fit to me. It also made sense because Apple already offers color options on the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle; simply extend those color options to the iPhone 5C and call it good.

As more information surfaced, however, I had to swallow my pride and back down on my gold-is-for-the-iPhone 5C position. Insider sources said gold really will be a color option for the high end iPhone, but that it would be elegant instead of garish.

Bryan Chaffin and I even went so far as to discuss why this could be a good thing on Apple Context Machine. Outside of the middle age white male demographic in the United States there may be far more interest a gold iPhone, especially if it looks classy.

Based on the photos I've seen so far, the gold iPhone 5S won't be all gold. Instead, it'll use the same white body we're already familiar with, but instead of a silver antenna band and back, it will come with champagne gold metal parts. That's not so bad, and sounds much better than all gold or gold-on-black.

Word on the street -- from credible sources, no less -- say we'll get our first look at the new iPhone models on September 10. They say Apple is hosting a special media event that day where we'll get to see the new iPhone 5S and the lower priced iPhone 5C.

ASCII, a web site out of Japan, claimed to have new photos of the gold iPhone 5S body comparing the new color with the current black and white models. It fits with the current colors well, and assuming the glass parts are white, could actually be a nice addition to the iPhone family.

ASCII's photo of the gold iPhone 5S bodyASCII's photo of the gold iPhone 5S body

To be clear: While I can appreciate the gold colored iPhone, I don't have to like it. The color just doesn't work for my taste, and I've always been a black iPhone kind of guy anyhow. My iPhones have always been black, just like my iPads.

Considering the popularity of the white iPhone and iPad, Apple doesn't need to worry about whether or not it should limit its color choices based on my personal preferences. In fact, I can see the gold and white iPhone outselling the silver and white model in many markets, assuming the color matches the photos I've seen.

Gold can be a risky color to work with, but I'm not expecting it to play out like the Dalmatian and Flower Power iMacs. The gold iPhone 5S can look classy -- just don't expect me to be buying one.

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Lee Dronick

If it moves my AAPL price higher then I don’t care what colors are available as long there is one that suits me. However, I almost always have a case on my iPhone so I can customise no matter the color of the iPhone. It just that a black iPhone seems to look better with the case.

John Martellaro

I’m thinking that there will be lots of people who are just plain tired of white and don’t want black—- and people who are tired of black, but don’t want white.  This pale champagne gold may be just what’s needed.


Speaking as an older techno aware guy, I’m all in on the “Champagne/gold” iPhone. I think it looks (in various un-official renderings) spiffy.

Lee Dronick

See today’s Joy of Tech comic


So would you get one, Jeff? Wait, you answered that.    grin

I like the color. I might get it. If it’s big enough. After having tried a Galaxy Note, anything smaller than five inches just doesn’t give satisfaction. (How’s that for a straight line?)
Actually I had that feeling from the start. I got the very first iPod Touch, and after a week I put it in the drawer. Using the web or reading on a 3.5-inch screen is like dancing the tange in a phone box.


White, black or bling.

Although I admire the colour, and the properties of the element, gold doesn’t work for me either (my wedding band is titanium - matches my Breitling and the gold band was unappealing); nonetheless I see it as a potentially huge hit in emerging markets where iPhones are soon to be sold.


Mine goes into an arty protective case anyways, so the color doesn’t matter all that much to me.

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