Apple recently announced that the iPhone 5S will be available in slate, silver and what else but gold, and not surprisingly people are already prepping their tents for the pre-launch campout at Apple stores across the United States. There are no substantial changes to the new iPhone nor does the gold version have any extra features. It doesn’t even contain any real gold, for that matter (truth be told the phone looks more like champagne than gold to me).
The last time Apple released a gold-colored product was nearly a decade ago when the original iPod Mini went on sale, and it was a sales giant. Apple isn’t the only company to do this. It is fairly common for companies to attach the word “gold” to their product to increase sales. Dante D’Orazio recently wrote an article about Apple’s golden iPhone offering and he said that “humans just have an unnatural attraction to gold.”
I disagree. Humans’ attraction to gold is very natural. It is in our blood and has been part of global finance for thousands of years. Even today as the gold/silver ratio is poised to shrink due to the likelihood that silver will outperform gold for the next couple of years some people stubbornly stick to gold with no other diversification simply because it is gold.
The connotation and implication that comes with owning gold (or a gold-colored item, for that matter) is undeniable. Gold is wealth. Gold is a store of value. And a brand new iPhone is a status symbol, so for Apple’s marketing department, the choice was easy.