iPhone 5S, 5C Hunters Hit up NYC, but 64GB Gold is Elusive
Long lines awaited the launch of the iPhone 5S in NYC but many customers soon found out the stores had shortages of the gold version.
The first people in line at Apple’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue waited 15 days for the 64GB gold iPhone 5S only to find out the store had no supply of that device available.
“They’re trying to work with us,” said Brian Ceballo, a musician who was first in line.
But for now, it’s not looking good. Ceballo, who planned to buy the 64GB version of the iPhone 5S in gold, said he’ll settle for the gray version.
Many other people toward the front of the line expressed frustration with the lack of the gold iPhone. The 5S launch marks the first time Apple has offered its flagship phone in that color, and customers haven’t been able to preorder the device. To get the iPhone 5S on launch day, they have to stand in line. However, the gold color was rumored to be in short supply ahead of the launch, something confirmed by the lack of the device at one of Apple’s biggest stores in the country.
As usual, the first people in line at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue were sponsored by iPhone trade-in sites, app makers, and other companies. Sell Your Mac sponsored Ceballo, the first person in line, after arriving at the store only to find they weren’t first, as they had expected. Ceballo has stood in line for every iPhone.
Greg Parker, meanwhile, a 49-year-old retired highway maintenance worker, got in line Monday. BuyBack World is sponsoring Parker, paying for his iPhone — the 64 GB white 5S — in exchange for wearing a shirt with its company name and talking about the organization.
“I’ve done previous iPhone launches, and we reached out to each other,” he said. Parker declined to say whether he will be trading in his iPhone 4S.
Friday’s launch marks the first time that Apple has offered more than one new iPhone and the first time it has offered a wide variety of colors. It’s also the first time since the introduction of theiPhone 3GS in 2009 that Apple hasn’t touted the number of devices it presold in the first 24 hours. And this year, only the lower-cost iPhone 5C was available for presale, rather than also offering the high-end flagship version.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Many outlets have reported that iPhone 5S supplies are constrained, and carriers are also reportedly facing supply issues.
Even online, initial supplies of all three configurations of the gold iPhone 5S sold out within a half-hour. Apple promised a ship date in October, whereas with white and gray iPhone 5S models, ship dates slipped to 7 to 10 days only after hours on sale.
Apple’s store will opened at 8 a.m. ET. About 600 people crowded onto the plaza in front of the store, and countless others circled the block. Unlike previous years, Apple limited access to the people at the front of the line. Reporters were asked to leave the line at the plaza area when workers started handing out cards specifying which model the buyers would get. It was at that same time that many people waiting realized they would not be getting the 64GB gold model they wanted.
The iPhone 5S includes updated components, comes in three colors, and includes a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device and make purchases. It will retail for $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, or $399 for 64GB, all with a contract. The iPhone 5C, which is made of plastic, starts at $99 for the 16GB version or $199 for 32GB with a two-year contact.
Adding multiple colors to a once more monochromatic product line can cause inventory problems for retailers, at least until they get a handle on what customers prefer. The original iMac debuted in 1998 in only one color, “Bondi blue,” but then Apple freshened its color palate with colors it called strawberry, blueberry, tangerine, grape, and lime in 1999.
Some retailers grew angry, though, because Apple required the stores to buy the models in equal quantities even if customers had different opinions. That can leave retailers stuck with models that don’t sell
There can be other ripple effects from cosmetic changes, too. When indigo, ruby, snow, and sage iMacs arrived in 2000, accessory makers were stuck with color-uncoordinated supplies.