iPhone gold rush fails to hit pay dirt [Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.]
(Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 21--Kylee Leonetti simply had to have a gold-colored iPhone 5s as a birthday present to herself. To snag one, she camped out overnight outside Apple's Uptown store in Minneapolis Thursday to be near the front of the line when the new smartphone went on sale Friday morning.
Good thing. It turned out the store had precious few of the golden smartphones being sold to the public -- one, in fact. Leonetti got it.
"I feel pretty cool," the Minneapolis video producer said.
Other Apple customers in the Twin Cities smelled a rat.
Some wondered how the highly touted golden iPhone 5s could be in such short supply at one of Apple's own stores -- especially after the company didn't allow its U.S. customers to pre-order this and other 5s models?
Who does Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook think he is? Willy Wonka?
"They only had one?!?" @LOLOMGblog tweeted. "Color us shocked."
@PHansenDUB added: "They only had one? B.S."
Tech pundit Mike Elgan summed up chatter about the golden iPhone 5s with a Google+ post: "I wonder if Apple deliberately limited gold iPhone 5s manufacturing to create artificial scarcity and demand ... Or did they just screw up?"
Some in the tech media were half-seriously dubbing this alleged conspiracy: "Goldengate."
High demand for the iPhone 5s in China, where pre-orders did occur, could partly explain the golden phone's scarcity in Minnesota and the rest of the United States.
Whatever the reason (and Apple was not talking), the golden iPhone was this week's equivalent of a Wonka golden ticket around the world -- with many lusting after the device but relatively few getting it.
After a surge of golden-phone orders on Apple's e-store in the wee hours of Friday morning, the company pushed estimated deliveries on the smartphone to "October" while vowing to ramp up production. The other iPhone 5s models, in white and "space gray," were more readily available.
Craig Swerdfiger of Otsego, Minn., said he
stayed up until 2 a.m. Friday to order a 32-gigabyte golden iPhone online only to get an e-mail at 10 a.m. saying that the device would ship to him sometime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 30.
"Great, Apple," Swerdfiger said on Twitter.
Some camping overnight outside Apple retail stores were just as unlucky. At Rosedale Center, Apple-store employees materialized at regular intervals to tell queuers no golden iPhones would be available there, just in case any of the campers were hoping to snag that model.
This is the first time Apple has offered its iPhone in anything other than black or white. This week it also began sales of its lower-cost iPhone 5c, which is made of brightly colored plastic in a choice of five hues. Apple did permit 5c pre-orders in the United States.
The latest iPhone release drew the typical lengthy lines at Apple's five Twin Cities area retail stores. Queues at wireless-carrier stores tended to be shorter, but there were exceptions.
Josh Lewis of Forest Lake said he waited 80 minutes in line at a local AT&T store -- and an extra 20 minutes in-store "wading through a dozen up-sells" -- before he could leave with a space-gray iPhone 5s.
The new iPhones were not sell-outs across the Twin Cities on Friday but particular models were hot commodities. AT&T versions of the iPhone 5s sold out in some places and Verizon versions were in short supply. Of the five brightly colored iPhone 5c models, yellow was the most popular -- and the hardest to get.
Leonetti appeared on the evening news on Thursday. And as she left the Uptown Apple Store upon claiming her golden gizmo Friday, she was confronted by a clutch of television journalists with cameras and microphones thrusted in her direction.
So she photographed them -- with her new iPhone 5s, of course.
"Here's the first photo I snapped with my new #iPhone!" Leonetti said on the resulting Instagram post at instagram.com/p/efQLYcw2Au. "#apple #amazing #iPhone5S #GOLD".
(c)2013 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)
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