Apple and the iPhone 5S: As good as gold?

The company is expected to unveil a gold or champagne-colored iPhone 5S, which will likely be in short supply and the most coveted by thieves.

Rendering of a champagne-colored, or gold, iPhone 5S. Shop Le Monde

With the speculation moving from unsubstantiated rumor into the zone of credibility as manufacturing ramps up and the product launch nears, it appears that Apple CEO Tim Cook will unveil a gold or champagne-colored iPhone 5S. Several sources are confirming the gold-toned iPhone 5S will be part of the September 10 event.

Gold is not an entirely new color for Apple products, but the iPhone has been cast in black and white since its inception. The company produced a gold iPod Mini, and the latest batch of iPods includes a yellow version that borders on gold.

The more playful iPod is available in a kind of yellow/gold color. Apple

But why gold, and why not red or green, yellow, coral, or sea foam blue? There could be some manufacturing issues related to integrating some colors with the iPhone's materials composition, but the likely reason is classiness. Unlike the iPod, which is about music and fun and expressed in a variety of colors, the iPhone is the embodiment of elegance and simplicity for Apple, as well as a more expensive brand than most of the competition.

Gold, not the bright yellow kind, will also appeal to those who value their smartphone as a status symbol -- bling for the digital age. And as VentureBeat pointed out, in China gold is a popular color for digital gear, and Apple is very focused on growing its market in Asian countries.

A gold iPhone could also be the most coveted by thieves. In San Francisco, almost half of all robberies involved a cell phone in 2012, and theft of iPads and iPhones in New York accounted for 14 percent of all crimes in 2012. Fortunately, the new iPhones will have an "activation lock," a new feature in iOS 7 that locks stolen phones even after thieves wipe them.

 

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