Leaving aside, for a moment, what selling a gold iPhone means to Apple as a company, there’s also the unavoidable fact that it’s tacky as hell. True, taste is subjective, but this thing is an eyesore. An eyesore that, apparently, Apple can’t keep on the shelves. Yes, it’s selling like meth at the Crossroads Motel.
Word is coming in from all over that we, as a species, have no taste. The phone that only a Movado designer could love is already sold out, and will be for a while. And it’s not just Asia, which was supposedly the real market for this, either:
The initial supply of the phone, which went on sale online just after midnight in the US, slipped to a ship date of 7 to 10 days within 10 minutes, and to October in less than half hour. That happened with all three varieties of the phone, with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of storage space. The situation matches what buyers in the UK, France, and Germany experienced. After an initial rush, Apple’s online store pushed back gold iPhone 5S ship dates to 7 to 10 days, then to October a few hours later.
Apparently demand is so high Apple is ramping up orders for the gold iPhone by one-third. Which just leaves me with one question: What the hell is wrong with people?
There’s no denying that smartphone ownership is as much about conspicuous consumption as it is anything else. There’s a reason Twitter blew up with rage and racist comments after Apple dared, dared, to sell the iPhone prepaid. Apple has built a lot on the idea that their phones make you a special snowflake.
That said, there’s simply no way to make a gold smartphone tasteful. There just isn’t. No matter what you do, it’s going to cross the line from the typical conspicuous consumption you see at a Starbucks to the kind you see on a Kardashian, to the point where it’s actually a marker of insecurity, emotional or financial.
Apple built its cred on a foundation of, among other things, elegant design. As much as I’ll happily fry Apple for refusing to just install a damn micro-USB port like everyone else and call them out on their pretensions, there’s no denying the company has been a bastion of innovation in industrial design. Making their objects gold really is leading, not following, in that respect.
So putting out a phone that looks like grandma’s compact is kind of appalling. That said, clearly there’s a market for it, but one hopes that this is limited to the iPhone. If there are gold iMacs, I’m out.