Apple strikes gold with latest iPhone color, but joy is in short supply

Apple strikes gold with latest iPhone color, but joy is in short supply

Summary: More people want the gold version of Apple's new iPhone 5s than the company bargained for. It has already asked suppliers to boost production, according to a new report.

Photo courtesy Apple

When Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan tells a customer who was waiting for two weeks that he can't have a 64-gigabyte, gold-colored iPhone, you know there's a problem.

Reports of the Cupertino company's lacking supply of its high-end iPhone 5s have littered the news cycle in the last week or so. Now, a new report from Juro Osawa and Lorraine Luk of the Wall Street Journal indicates that Apple is already working to beef up supply in response to stronger-than-anticipated demand.

"Apple Inc. has asked its suppliers to increase production of the gold-colored iPhone 5S by an additional one-third after seeing strong demand, people familiar with the situation said," the pair write. "It isn't clear whether there are currently supply constraints manufacturing the new iPhone."

That is precisely the narrative that plagues the company on opening day today, where various television news reports have shown customers walking away empty-handed after waiting patiently for the atypical metallic model. (In Apple's online store, shipping estimates range from 7 to 10 days for silver and 21 to 28 days for gold.)

It's an unusual result for the company, which in 2011 resisted offering a white-colored iPhone 4 for sale after production issues derailed its ability to deliver on the first day of availability. (It went on sale 10 months later.)

For the iPhone 5s, several reports suggested reduced supply across all three colors (gray, silver, gold); why the company decided to make it available despite this has customers and analysts scratching their heads this morning.

No doubt we'll soon find out what the real hangup was. In the meantime, we can only wonder: will the excitement over the gold color hold out, or is it merely preferred among zealous early adopters? We're betting that "Space Gray" wins out over the long term.

Topic: Apple

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Cases

    It is an attractive color but since almost everyone puts a case on their phone does the color really matter?
    • this point get said every dopey ihpone article

      the writers and idummies just don't get it.

      If apple wants to copy Nokia and having colors, how about making a phone that doesn't need a case like Nokia does.
      • ...and still some people don't get it.

        Possibly because people don't want a phone that is 35% heavier then iPhone 5.
    • Colour

      Gold is a refreshing change from the usual military grade silver and grey. Apple need to look at increasing the memory though, I have an iPhone 5 and won't be going near another iPhone until they are offering 128 or 256GB......why buy another 64GB unit just because its a bit flasher and faster?? - seems a lot of hype over aesthetics.
  • I've got a new iPhone, and you can tell at a glance.

    Having the gold is a clear statement that you have the newest version of the phone. The other colors look too much like last year's model. There are a large number (clearly in the millions) of people who care about this kind of thing.
    • what a truly great way to differentiate yourself from the rest

      Wow, just, wow! What a statement!
    • true and

      Very important for the Apple pickers, as they grab and dash off with your new golden toy. Yesterday's sized screen ( actually more narrow than last years other offers of phones ) at today's pricing. Wonderful indeed!!! And now available in plastic for only a hundred or two hundred more than the competition, with larger screens -- such a great deal ???
  • Supply and Demand

    Artificial supply and demand. Oh, no! We are out of a shiny objects that displays colors and sounds to idiots....and it will be obsolete in a year.
  • No surprises there. When a tech pundit disses something

    (remember how many articles by the punditry loathed the gold), you can make book that it will be a hit with joe sixpack. Yes. Tech pundits are that out of touch.
  • launch Readiness

    Hard to defend Apple from claims that the lack of gold, lack of pre-orders, etc. weren't a cheap attempt to create a buzz. Either your supply chain is ready - and you have sufficient product based on historical sales figures (not AAPL's first smartphone rodeo) - or you're not and you cancel.
  • gold

    Gold has significant meaning to Chinese. I imagine gold iphones will sell very well China market. Very smart marketing on Apple side
  • I like gold on a phone just as much as

    gold on a wrist watch, bracelet, on a snickers or a heavy gold chain around the neck..
  • Re: Gold iPhone 5s....

    It would seem the Gold iPhone 5s is little more than a fashion statement likely to be reserved to making appearances at cocktail parties.