Gold iPhone Could Help Apple Build Its Fortune

Apple is rumored be working on a low-cost iPhone 5C that will be available in gold. The color, and price point, could help Apple's cause in China.

Rumors of a gold iPhone continue to spread.

Japanese site Macotakara reported Aug. 12 that according to sources in Asia, the Apple iPhone 5C—the lower-end version of two new iPhones expected to be introduced in coming weeks—will come in a "champagne gold" hue.

While Apple rumors tend to rise and disappear with the pace of the workday, this one has stuck around. So has the rumor that Apple will introduce both the iPhone 5C and a higher-end 5S at an event Sept. 10.

There are a few arguments for why a gold iPhone could be a great idea.

"Gold is among the easiest colors to anodize onto an iPhone. It involves simple chemical reaction, with the possible addition of dye, depending on the exact color they want to produce," iMore's Rene Ritchie blogged Aug. 16.

Apple famously had a terrible time with its white iPhone early on, calling the color "more challenging to manufacture."

The same day as the iMore article, French site Macboutic published photos of what it called the iPhone 5S—the expected name of the expected new high-end iPhone.

The better argument, though, may be that the rumored iPhone 5C is expected to be compatible with the 4G network being launched by China Mobile—the world's largest carrier, and the only major carrier in the world's largest smartphone market not currently selling the iPhone.

The timing of a gold iPhone 5C could be in sync with a China Mobile deal, and the phone could have a price point more appealing to mainstream consumers in China.

And, as you may know, gold is a popular color in Chinese culture, as it symbolizes wealth and by extension happiness.

Additionally, in the practice of feng shui, which incorporates five elements, yellow represents the earth as well as food, and so energy and wellness. In a feng shui chart called the Bagua Template, yellow, or gold, is at the center, suggesting it's the center of all things.

Gold is also used to denote prestige and royalty.

Illuminant Partners, a public relations agency that offers cultural guidance for doing business in China, blogged in 2011 that companies should use care with yellow, since there can be a tie to the suggestion of pornography (which is called "yellow pictures"), but gold is rather safe, as there are few cultural faux pas to beware of.

"Gold is a color which has long been used in China as a symbol of nobility and wealth," wrote the firm.