iPhone 5S Gold Rush: Apple's Latest Nugget in Scarce Supply

0-iPhone 5S Gold Rush: Apple's Latest Nugget in Scarce Supply
1-Apple iPhone 5S: First Come, First Served
2-No Gold iPhone 5S at Sprint
3-No Gold iPhone 5S at Verizon Wireless
4-Gold iPhones, but How Many?
5-Apple Rolls Out the Welcome Mat
6-Gold iPhone Shortage in Manhattan
7-Gold iPhone Shortage Worldwide
8-Online Store Out of Stock as Well
9-Apple's Motives
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iPhone 5S Gold Rush: Apple's Latest Nugget in Scarce Supply

by Michelle Maisto

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Apple iPhone 5S: First Come, First Served

On Sept. 4, Apple introduced the iPhone 5S, which comes in silver, gray and gold models, alongside the colorful and less-expensive iPhone 5C. Apple made the 5C immediately available for preorder and the 5S a Sept. 20 land grab of sorts.

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No Gold iPhone 5S at Sprint

By 7:30 a.m. Sept. 20, a small line had formed in front of this Brooklyn Sprint store, which like its rivals was opening two hours early to sell the new iPhones. Even the first person in line was disappointed. "All we got were 64GB gray phones. That's it," said a manager.

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No Gold iPhone 5S at Verizon Wireless

In Manhattan, a longer line had formed by 7:55 a.m. in front of a Verizon Wireless store, where again there would be no gold iPhone for the first person in line. He told me, not terribly upset, "They said they'd received everything but the gold iPhones."

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Gold iPhones, but How Many?

At the SoHo Apple store in Manhattan, it had been a long morning for patient folks at the front of the line.

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Apple Rolls Out the Welcome Mat

By 8:10 a.m., the line at the SoHo store was around the corner and down the block. Blue-shirted Apple employees gave out numbers and took names—and made clear that there were no more gold iPhone 5S handsets to be had.

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Gold iPhone Shortage in Manhattan

An Apple employee wouldn't say how many gold iPhone 5S units the store had received. "A very limited amount," he insisted.

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Gold iPhone Shortage Worldwide

Strategy Analytics analyst Ken Hyers said Apple had likely underestimated demand for the gold version, expecting it to be more popular in Asia. Though even there, he added, Apple had failed to meet demand, as reports were emerging of shortages in Hong Kong and elsewhere. (Shown here, the beginning of the end of the line at the SoHo Apple store.)

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Online Store Out of Stock as Well

By 10 a.m. ET, Apple's online store was promising to ship gold iPhone 5S units in "October" and AT&T had pushed back its shipment time for the units to "21 to 28 business days."

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Apple's Motives

"Is there a better way to create frenzied demand for the gold iPhone than by announcing no one can get it?" analyst Jack Narcotta, with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK, offering another rationale. "I can't imagine Apple, the consumer king, underestimated consumer demand."

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