Goldfinger: The Next iPhone

September 13, 2013

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‘Gold? All over?’ M asks James Bond upon hearing how Jill Masterson died in 1964′s Goldfinger. While Bond goes on to explain that the gold covering on Ms. Masterson triggered her to die of ‘skin suffocation’, the exact same fate won’t befall the next iPhone. But only because the iPhone won’t require oxygen.

Yes, there will be a gold iPhone.

That’s the most recent I am learning through numerous sources after numerous weeks of reports and possible component leakages recommending the exact same thing. In the beginning, I could not think Apple would break from the custom of offering the basic option: black and white (or ‘slate’ and ‘silver’ if you choose for the iPhone 5) for their flagship gadget. Gold just seemed too ostentatious, maybe even tacky. But a couple of compelling arguments countered my disbelief. And now, upon checking, sure enough, there will be gold.

On Friday, Rene Ritchie of iMore, made the most compelling argument for the golden iPhone yet. After learning through his own sources that the gold iPhone seemed to be genuine, Ritchie checked with his colleague Ally Kazmucha, who noted that gold would be among the ‘most convenient colors to anodize onto an iPhone’. Much much easier than state, black (which is most likely why the present black iPhone 5 has even more of a ‘slate’ back color).

But merely doing something due to the fact that it’s easy isn’t good enough– certainly not for Apple. A lot more convincing is the argument that gold is one of the most popular after-market color adjustments for existing iPhones (including gold cases). And gold has been in the middle of a renaissance in design after years of being eliminated to ‘gaudy and tacky’ hell, as I kept in mind above.

Perhaps most notably, I am informed that the golden iPhone won’t be a completely blinged-out gold. Originally, Ritchie included a mock-up on the top of his post that looked like an iPhone with a golden shell comparable to a brick of gold bullion. I was informed this image was inaccurate and that the actual gold iPhone would be much more subtle in color. Think: less ‘gold’ and more ‘champagne’.

In other words, even more like the old gold iPod mini. (By the way, this model of the iPod mini was the shortest-lived, probably since it was less popular.) The gold tone likewise apparently changes relying on how light is hitting it.

Ritchie actually stated he heard the exact same feedback on his blinged-out golden iPhone and has because upgraded his mock-up to be much more subtle. Maybe it’ll be more marketed along the lines of ‘champagne wishes and caviar dreams’– though I doubt it.

Anyway, I like the idea that this new iPhone (widely assumed to be called the ‘iPhone 5S’, though it’s unclear if that’s set in stone yet) could’ve 2 unique new physical functions: a gold color and a fingerprint scanner. Thus, the Goldfinger references.

On the topic of the fingerprint scanner, after hearing a number of whispers a number of months ago, there has not been much recently. This could suggest that strategies have been changed or, possibly more likely, that Apple has actually efficiently quashed the leakages of what’d be the flagship brand-new feature of the device. Rarely do code leakages lie, and this was a quite substantial one a few weeks back.

While I at first asked yourself if such a fingerprint scanner would be made use of for payments along with security and recognition, I think this post by Geppy Parziale clarifies why that’s most likely not in the cards, at least initially. Naturally, fingerprint confirmation joined the iCloud Keychain charge card sync attribute in iOS 7 could be the first logical step.

Finally, I think another reason we are seeing this golden iPhone now could be associated with the reported ‘iPhone 5C’ gadget– that is, the lower-cost iPhone. While I’ve no concrete details about that device, there appears to be way too much smoke around it both existing and introducing in numerous colors, for there not to be fire.

(I likewise ask yourself if the recent push by Apple to offer more iPhones from their own Apple Stores relates to the method for the iPhone 5C roll-out.)

On his The Talk Program podcast this past week, John Gruber and I spoke a bit about how Apple might differentiate the reported iPhone 5S from the rumored iPhone 5C. Past rate and price, color promises to be an essential differentiator. It’s entirely possible that Apple chose to keep the focus on white and black (again, silver and slate) for the high-end model, while selecting more spirited colors for the lower end. But some people, tired of black and white, could’ve chosen the 5C just to include some color to their iLives. So the gold iPhone 5S (with a white front plate, one would presume) would seem to be a decent compromise in that situation.

Also, naturally, a gold option may serve to placate some of those who feel an iPhone 5S is not enough of an upgrade from the iPhone 5 simply because it mostly looks the same.

Or possibly those making such calls at Apple are merely more Johan van der Smut, aka Goldmember, than Auric Goldfinger. ‘I love goooooold!’

Update: A variety of individuals have kept in mind that a gold iPhone would likely do well in the Chinese and Indian markets too, where the color is preferred. This is particularly interesting given the talk about the ‘iPhone 5C’ being key in these markets also, with an assumed unsubsidized lower price-point. One line of thinking was that the lower-cost iPhone would all-but change the greater cost one in these markets. But possibly the gold choice would still be attracting enough for some purchasers to draw them to the greater end model. That’s all pure speculation, naturally.

Another thought: given Apple’s recent push to play up their California affiliation (the new OS X calling scheme, the ‘Made by Apple in California’ advertising campaign, etc) perhaps the gold iPhone can continue this trend. California is, after all, ‘the Golden State’.

Less this:

More this:

[images: MGM and iMore]