Score one for Apple (AAPL) fans! In a burst of enthusiasm that seemed unthinkable just weeks ago, customers are lining up at Apple stores worldwide in hopes of being among the first to buy the latest iterations of the iPhone. Despite initial skepticism to the new 5C and 5S iPhones, the hands-on reviews have been glowing and the consumer frenzy is on.
No one doubted Apple's ability to build a great high-end product. The question was whether the iPhone 5S's faster processing speed, improved camera and thumb-print security would be enough to create another buying frenzy.
The answer is a qualified yes. I stopped to speak with the folks camped out in front of the Apple store in New York's Grand Central Terminal this morning. The overwhelming consensus is that the most exciting feature of the 5S isn't the internal technical specifications, but the color of the case.
"It's all about the gold!" shouted a shopper near the front of the line who asked to remain nameless because they said "I'm going to be late for work." He wasn't alone. The iPhone 5S is the first new edition of an Apple smartphone to be offered in a distinctive gold color along with the more traditional black ("space gray" in Apple speak) or silver versions.
On Apple's website the gold version was the first to be back-ordered. Buyers were informed they could get the gold "in October" compared to delivery in seven to ten days for the less ostentatious versions. By 10am/EST delivery for all three versions of the iPhone 5S was delayed until next month.
"This iPhone is a category killer!" says Todd Schoenberger, an Apple shareholder and managing partner at LandColt Capital, in the attached video. "It's setting the tone for mobile commerce. You're going to be able to go to your fancy phone and buy whatever you want with your fingerprint."
Not every iPhone color was as good as gold. In addition to the 5S Apple is also releasing an iPhone 5C in 5 different colors ranging from off-white to hot pink. The plastic exterior of the 5C and a $100 drop in price are the only differences between the 5C and the original iPhone 5 that came out last September.
Customers are apparently unimpressed with that version. None of the shoppers outside Grand Central expressed any interest in the 5C, regardless of color. As of mid-day all hues of 5C are available for shipment in one to three days.
Analysts think Apple will sell at least 5 million iPhone 5C and 5S models by the end of this weekend, comparable to the demand seen last year.
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