updated 07:39 pm EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
Desire for new color option far outstrips supply; Apple making more
[Updated: seller cancelled transaction] Though MacNN has previously reported on the mania surrounding new gold-colored iPhone 5s -- with units routinely selling for between $900 and $1,500 depending on capacity and unlocked status -- a new record was set on auction site eBay on Monday when a 16GB unlocked GSM gold iPhone 4s sold for a record-shattering $10,100. The buyer was a long-time eBay user with a history of buying cellphone accessories.
Prior to the last two bids, the auction for the iPhone was stuck at the $2,500 level, normally the top end for much higher-capacity models in the current auction climate. However a nearly-last-minute bid of $10,000 was topped by sniper who bid $10,100 just as the auction closed. There's been no confirmation yet by the seller that the transaction has successfully concluded, but the item hasn't been relisted since the auction ended at 1PM Pacific time. Another auction sold a three-pack of 64GB unlocked gold iPhones for nearly $5,000.
The iPhone 5s in all three colors may have accounted for more than six million of the nine million iPhones sold during the opening weekend, but Apple clearly underestimated the allure of the gold model. Pundits had been divided on the likelihood of the new color being a success, with many predicting it would not do as well as the other options. Some saw it as a "pandering" to the Chinese and Indian markets where gold coloring is traditionally a sign of status and wealth -- however the gold option proved popular in the US and other regions as well, selling out worldwide within a day of release.
Apple has said it will ask its manufacturing partners to produce up to a third more gold iPhones than the other options, hoping to alleviate demand. The iPhone 5s, sporting a large number of advancements over the iPhone 5 and 5c while retaining the same basic form factor, has stunned analysts with its popularity. Apple was forced to issue a rare in-quarter earnings update to analysts due to the overwhelming success of the opening weekend having an impact on earnings guidance, even though the iPhone will only have been officially available for 11 days during the 90-day quarter, which ends on September 30.
Update: After discovering the $10,000+ bid, the seller contacted the buyer and cancelled the transaction, telling TrustedNerd that it "looks like the buyer did [the bid] by mistake." The seller will be sending a "second chance" message to the next-highest bidders, which were around the $2,500 mark.