Asia snaps up Apple’s first gold-coloured iPhone

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People purchase the Apple iPhone 5 at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue September 20, 2013 in New York. Some people waited as long as fifteen days in line outside the store to be the first to buy the phone. AFP

SINGAPORE — Asian consumers have snapped up Apple’s first gold-coloured iPhone, but many were left disappointed and frustrated at missing out during Friday’s highly anticipated global launch of the 5S.

From Japan to Singapore, China and Hong Kong, there was a particular clamour for the gold-coloured version, closely associated with wealth in Asian cultures.

It was not clear how many of the golden 5S — also available in silver and “space grey” — were available.

Some people had been able to pre-order, if they were fast enough, but those who had not queued early — or even overnight — to get a piece of the “gold rush”.

“Our gold-colour iPhones were completely sold out within four minutes when we opened online reservations on September 18,” a spokesman for market leader Singapore Telecom told Agence France-Presse.

Long lines snaked through SingTel’s launch event at the cavernous Marina Bay Sands convention centre as thousands of Apple fans who had made online reservations trooped there to pick up their new gadgets.

John Yap, the first in line, said he decided to buy the golden iPhone because it was “refreshing and a welcome change from the look of all the previous models”.

The 24-year-old accountant queued for nearly 12 hours before he got his hand on a 64-gigabyte version, but said the wait was well worth it.

“I think it’s worth the time especially when it is something you cherish. It is just like queing for concert tickets,” he told AFP.

A spokeswoman for StarHub, another Singaporean carrier, said the gold iPhone 5S was sold out within an hour in its 10 outlets across the city-state.

Singapore’s third carrier, M1, also ran out of the golden phones, according to a chart on its website.

There were similar scenes elsewhere in Asia.

In China, state-run news website sh.eastday.com reported Wednesday that the gold iPhone 5S models were quickly bought up after online pre-orders began Tuesday morning.

Those looking to get their hands on Apple’s much-coveted latest offering said they did not mind the cost of the 5S — at least 5,288 yuan ($864).

In Beijing, Apple customer Yao Guibing said: “I’ve been using iPhone since its first generation.

“The colour is very special.. I believe in Apple’s idea of design, so golden colour must be excellent.

“Though some people on the Internet say the golden colour is for nouveau riche, I don’t think so.”

Favoured by emperors and representing wealth and luxury in Chinese culture, gold has become a badge of the country’s newly wealthy.

In status-conscious Hong Kong, the golden version was almost nowhere to be found.

“We were able to acquire the 16 gigabyte models, we’ve gotten around 30 to 40 of the gold ones,” Lau Chi-kong, of G-world Mobile in the commercial district of Mong Kok, told AFP, which he described to be a small number.

“I think Apple released a limited amount of the gold version,” Lau said.

Lau will sell the 16 gigabyte version of the gold coloured phone for HK$10,800, almost double its retail price, he said.

“There is demand for it, everyone wants it,” he added.

Some customers who were left empty-handed vented their frustration online.

“What’s the point of having priority to purchase when (companies don’t) even provide sufficient phones for us?” asked Lipingg Jaimelody on M1’s Facebook page.

“Launches at 8 a.m., and (at) 8:40 a.m. gold was all sold out,” she ranted.

“Should sack Tim Cook who ain’t cook enough gold for the consumer,” customer Teo PC also wrote on M1’s Facebook page, referring to the Apple chief executive.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • cris_badz

    Trolls…hahaha., haters will be haters… ang hindi maka afford., doon nlang sa Cherrymobile…

  • 56u4puvv

    The only difference is the gold back case which actually elegant, but in terms of function as the older 4s and ip5, its likely equal. It’s merely the colour is attractive nothing more. My family is a fanatic of apple but this time we are not attracted to the new one. Usually people from walks of life prefer shiny object such as diamond, gold, silver n stainless as I speak to myself . Therefore the timing of Apple to change the colours is nothing but just a fancy products wherein the innovation is slowly fading. The new OS is a fact that creativeness of the apple is blowing apart. This is just my opinion, consider others..

    • graveh

      kalokuh ang ingles mo day. mag tagalog ka na lang. nakuhkuhilo noh.

      • 56u4puvv

        Thanks, for your comments. Hahaha!!!!

  • Tambakol

    Mga iHate…..bakit kayo nagpopost dito? Kung masaya kayo sa Samsung…good for you. We love Apple products, you love Samsung…why the name calling?

  • NoWorryBHappy

    My nephew wanted to be one of the first to have this new gold iPhones.
    I told him to wait 2 months until all bugs and glitches are fixed. It sucks to be a
    guinea pig, you know. Patience is a virtue even in business. I saw this gold plated case for the old iPhones online. Now, the only problem is the touch screen feature. I have unlocked many smart phones with routines available online. I wonder if Apple has a downloadable firmware for the touch screen, er, “fingering” feature or if it is even possible to just upgrade the screen. Now, that’s a geeky project.

  • Diepor

    asians an gold…

  • garuteEagle1

    Tang ina naloko n nman kyo ng mansanas pinalitan lng kulay ng blat ok n sa inyo…

  • Barak_O

    duped by 5same and 5cheap

  • Tambakol

    APPLE IS DOOMED! The ANALysts are right. Go Android Go!

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