Going for the Gold: Why I Lined Up for a New iPhone

Apple employee readies new iPhone display at Cambridge MA store yesterday

Apple employee readies new iPhone display at Cambridge MA store yesterday

First of all, I am not selling my gold iPhone 5S.

As soon as I returned home yesterday morning from the Cambridge, Mass., Apple Store I saw online reports of gold iPhones fetching $1,800 on eBay. It was tempting, but just slightly. I know my new iPhone is not really gold, but it makes me feel like a million.

It was fun to be first in line at the store, which no doubt enabled me to get one of the few gold phones on offer. I’d planned to buy a 32GB Verizon phone, but when the Apple minder brought me the box of cards to choose from before I entered the store, the only option for gold on Verizon was 64GB. Ouch. I reluctantly took a card for a silver 32GB. A couple of minutes passed. I imagined leaving the mall without the gold and knew I couldn’t do it. She hadn’t moved far down the line when I asked if I could return the silver card and get one for the gold 64GB. No problem. Whew, that was close.

Business Insider asserts that the shortage of gold iPhones was intentional on Apple’s part, a black-art hype move designed to create crazy buzz and demand for the new phones. Could be.

The gold phone’s home button has a gold ring around it which reads your thumbprint for unlocking. My wife Darlene has not yet mastered this procedure on her silver 32GB 5S, and it irritates her when I offer coaching on how to touch the ring properly. In case she’s reading this, here is what I would explain:

Once you press the unlock button at the top of the phone or the home button, you see a flashing “slide to unlock” message near the bottom of the screen. If you slide a finger, any finger, anywhere on the screen from left to right, you can the enter your four-digit password, but what’s the fun of that? To use the cunning fingerprint security system, you rest your registered finger on the home button.

You don’t press the home button hard enough to make a click. Your touch of the button needs to be soft as a lover’s touch, a simple resting of the digit on the gold (or silver or gray) ring. It’s a contemplative pause, a mild moment for the pad of your finger, as if you are whispering “Hello, dear.”

As I write this, I suddenly get why Darlene is resisting my offered tutorial on the fingerprint security system. She has no taste for tech worship and foolish gushing over gadgets. She just wants the damn thing to work. She’ll figure it out eventually, or she may just go with the four-digit pass code.

I didn’t leave the house at 4:15 yesterday morning because I was excited about the new security system, though. I PeterPanwanted to be one of the first to have an iPhone 5S, gold or not.

My mother at a gathering of my cousins last night explained that I’ve always been this way.

“Lennie used to love opening a new jar of peanut butter,” she recalled, laughing. “He would take a finger full of it while saying, ‘First of the new peanut butter!'” She is not making this up. I remember the smooth feel of that untouched layer of peanut butter, like dipping into a lake at dawn, and then the wonderful melty, nutty taste of the spread. Pure heaven.

There may have been some sibling rivalry behind this ritual, and I’m sure my younger sister seldom had a chance to taste the first of the new peanut butter. Not that she cared. But mainly I just remember loving the raw newness of a brand-new container of taste. There would be plenty of time after that for Fluffernutter or peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches, the actual using of the food. But there would be only one First Taste.

So yes, this is crazy. And yes, I am a prime candidate for manipulation by savvy Apple marketers. “I’m picturing a kid who can’t stand not to be the first in the peanut butter,” I can imagine a new-product marketer saying at a planning meeting. “What are we going to give him in this next version of the phone?”

Mouth-watering gold goodness, that’s what. Yum!



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One Response to Going for the Gold: Why I Lined Up for a New iPhone

  1. Tojosan says:


    I fully empathize with this. I was once that guy.
    Now I settle for ‘first taste’ instead of first on the block to own an iPhone.

    I expect more tweets and such about your experience.

    Regarding your explanation – true tech lover you are. 🙂

    @tojosan on Twitter

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