Smartphone makers can't boost processor speeds much faster without melting your phone, more RAM is too expensive to casually toss in, and cameras can only add so much, so where's the next selling point for high-end smartphones? Will a posh paint-job be enough to keep Apple selling iPhones? we'll find out soon enough.
For the High, High End User
There are already plenty of after-market companies that will spray your iPhone with real gold, or sell you a custom model with embedded diamonds and platinum cases (for $35,000 and up). But with device makers struggling to come up with new ways to market their phones, it looks like the rumors are true and Apple has a golden, or champagne, colored model of the iPhone 5S to dazzle buyers with, as photos leaking out of Asia show.
If you want to justify this approach, and assuming its true, consider Apple's future big markets like India where gold is highly treasured and China where decoration is a more common part of their lives, think digital jewelry if you like. You can also compare it to last month's leaks of the budget-iPhone plastic, which will look decidedly low-rent next to this model.
More and more images are leaking out with near complete devices on show, leaving little to the imagination for Apple's likely 10 September launch event. Okay, so some pretty anodised material isn't quite the same as a full gold case, but its a little differentiator that will convince some they are buying premium, even if its no more expensive than the usual casings.
While Samsung took a fairly muted route with its Galaxy S4 models, the challenge has been thrown down recently with executive looking metals, but Apple has upped this with its golden boy look and no doubt the others will respond with titanium and chrome likely popular options.
Where is the True Value?
While that impulse buy or marketing campaign may be based around first looks, the true value from any device comes from the apps. And, as we have Apple buying mapping value-additive companies at speed, suggesting a major update to its Maps app, the fresh look of iOS 7 and new features within. Apple will likely surprise us with a new new treats come the early September reveal.
But, as we've seen with recent branded Android launches, there's a fine line between features, bloat and gimmicks, so any innovation must be carefully considered and its utility assessed. If Apple is going all out on the styling, will it also start throwing more apps out there to see what sticks among users, rather than being consigned to a dump folder, if we still can't delete them?
So, we have a shiny case for show, but what will Apple offer for the pros and users that are after more than just a pretty case. And you can be sure rivals will be reacting with their own takes on this color scheme soon enough.