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Gold iPhone 5s most popular new iPhone color; iPhone 5c maybe not so much

Sections: iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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iPhones and iPads have only ever been offered in black and white, but that’s now passé. Color is back at Apple with the release of the iPhone 5s and 5c, which is cool with me. I don’t dislike the traditional black, white, and aluminum enclosure livery, but I also appreciate a little color in life, and I think Apple was well advised to proceed with alternately colored iPhones, and hopefully even more color options for iPads and iPad minis.

Given my partiality for the 5c’s new “gold” color livery, I’m gratified it’s the one that sold out first and is reportedly shaping up to be the most popular iPhone 5s color option. I’m hoping the gold theme will be carried over to the iPad 5, as well, since I’m in the market for an iPad system upgrade. I still like the look of my white iPad 2, but a “gold” one would be refreshingly different.

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If the rumor mills are accurate, there’s a chance I’ll get my wish. Tapscape’s Ronald Carlson reported last week that a new rumor claims the new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will indeed be available in the same gold, white and space gray color options as the iPhone 5s, based of leaked reports that iPad replacement parts in gold, white and space gray are showing up in Apple’s Asian supply chain, and photos of bags of what are alleged to be iPad 5 and iPad mini case components in three different colors.

On the other hand, Carlson notes that SlashGear is predicting the iPad mini 2 will come in the same two colors (black, white) as the original, but personally concurs with the rumor that iPad 5 will be available in the three new iPhone 5s colors. 9To5 Mac’s Ben Lovejoy says that French site NWE, which has a photo of what it believes to be a space gray casing for the iPad mini, has a decent track-record in leaked parts report accuracy, and that it seems likely that Apple would adopt the same colors for the new iPads as for the iPhone 5s. Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile, the iPad 5c, essentially a repackaged iPhone 5 with a new plastic enclosure, is available in five different colors: green, yellow, blue, white, and pink. Reportedly, it’s being somewhat eclipsed by its upmarket stablemate in terms of interest and sales, but it’s nice to see color back at Apple anyway. Not to suggest the iPhone 5c is any sort of a market failure. It had to be restocked in its first weekend. However, the iPhone 5s sold out entirely, the gold model being the first to run out, with delivery times slipping into October.

5ccolors

Apple enthuses that color is intended to permeate the entire iPhone 5c user experience, from the way it looks to the way it works, and it appears that the chosen five colors were picked from hundreds Apple says were considered to harmonize with the new iOS 7 color theme. It’s hard to say why the iPhone 5c takeup hasn’t been more robust, but perhaps part of it is that while these bright fluorescent pastel shades work just fine (IMHO) in iOS 7, maybe not so much as enclosure colors on the plastic-bodied device itself.

The Register’s Simon Sharwood observes that the iPhone 5c is strikingly colourful, and indeed might be too bright to match the kids’ furniture he bought at IKEA; so bright that they invoke the impression of being “toys for the under-five crowd, a slightly unsettling association for something that is expensive and fragile,” although he hastens to add that the 5c does not feel plasticy or cheap, and is much better built than a toy, hefting well and conveying pleasing weight and density. iFixIt’s weekend teardown of the 5c found that the plastic case is anything but flimsy, and demonstrated robust torsional rigidity in a bend attempt. However iFixIt, whose iPhone 5c teardown unit was blue, couldn’t resist quipping in their notes that the teardown photos “may look like we are performing painful dental procedures on a Smurf.”

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Ouch! Those color commentaries have to sting. Maybe a colored plastic iPhone that looks like the colors were chosen by Fisher-Price just doesn’t entice as much as it might’ve with more understated tones when checked out alongside the more powerful, elegant-looking, and solidly metal-cased (although very light) 5s that only costs a hundred bucks more in the base 16 GB configuration. Color preferences aside, there’s tangible satisfaction in handling any metal-cased Apple idevice or recent aluminum-bodied Macs—laptop or desktop—that no plastic-bodied device can match.

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