Hunting For a Gold iPhone At the San Francisco Apple Store [Gallery]

Only a few are lucky enough to get a golden ticket.

One of the few golden tickets for a gold iPhone 5s.

SAN FRANCISCO — The gold iPhone 5s is rarer than, well, gold. If you wanted to snag a gold-colored iPhone 5s this morning, you had to start lining up outside the Apple Store at 7:30 p.m. the night before. Apple had only 20 or so at the flagship Apple Store, which was a lot compared to most outlets.

At about 5 a.m. this morning, Apple staffers handed out tickets to everyone in line reserving them an iPhone. But there were only 20 tickets for gold iPhones, people in line estimated, and they were snapped up instantly by those at the front.

By the time I arrived to the Apple Flagship store on Stockton Street at 6:30 a.m. this morning, all the gold iPhones were gone. The line was already two blocks long though but I wasn’t worried because Cult of Mac.com had someone from Task Rabbit holding a spot.

There was only one problem: I couldn’t find her.


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This is Thanh and his family. They are originally from Vietnam but now live two blocks away from the Apple store. Thanh isn’t a sitter. He’s just a fan who wanted to make sure he got a gold iPhone. The company Gazelle asked them to wear hoodies promoting the company. In exchange, Gazelle gave Tranh a free iPhone, plus some backpacks, blankets and food. Not a bad deal considering he and his family were waiting since 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

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This is Molly and she is bitter. She’s been waiting in line since 7:45 p.m. last night for a gold iPhone. She just missed it. The tickets for gold iPhones on AT&T ran out just before her. She really wanted a gold iPhone because she’s a huge 49ers fan, and the team colors are red and gold. She already had a red case picked out and everything.

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This is Ryan, number 18 in line. He could have snagged a gold iPhone but opted for a black one instead. When I asked him why, he responded: “It’s just not my thing. My thing is my thing.” And then I noticed his bright pink nails.

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This is Nicole. She was lucky enough to get a gold iPhone after a 12-hour wait in line. It’s just like getting a Willy Wonka golden ticket, I told her. I think she was feeling pretty lucky but tired.

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This is Ricardo keeping warm with an Angry Birds blanket. He was the 25th person in line and the last to get a gold iPhone, or so we thought.

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But there was one more golden ticket! Here it is.

Asking further down the line we found the very last gold iPhone ticket. Daniel Eran Dilger from Apple Insider scored it. He got it because it was a Verizon iPhone — and apparently one of the few gold Verizon iPhones in stock. Daniel was #56 in line. His Task Rabbit line-sitter had been in line since 11:30 p.m. last night. Lucky bastard!

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On the other hand, there were plenty of donuts and coffee. This Apple employee was handing out sustenance to waiting customers.

I was hoping for champagne to promote their new champagne color. But it didn’t happen. They could at least had mimosas!

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Apple decorated the store window with a display of tiny gold bubbles. They look just like champagne bubbles! It made me want a drink — or take a bubble bath!

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Here are the Geniuses getting ready for the grand opening.

I couldn’t find our Task Rabbit line sitter. Her phone went straight to voicemail. I left her a slightly bitchy message. I was starting to get worried. The doors were about to open and I didn’t have a place in line.

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Finally she called me back acting all cool and secretive. “I’ll have to call you right back,” she said. I thought that was very weird.

She did call me back but asked, did I still want the iPhone?

Of course I still wanted the phone. Just as I was about to ask her where she was, the phone went dead.

It was starting to feel very strange, like a drug deal going bad. I called her back and found her in line in front of Molly, the 49ers fan. She wasn’t there before. She turned over the ticket to me after I asked her for it.

Turns out our Task Rabbit was also holding iPhone tickets for other folks. I didn’t ask her what her racket was, I didn’t want to know. There wasn’t even time to take her picture because the hyper-excited Apple employees came out and the line quickly started moving.

I was just happy to get the Space Grey iPhone 5s. When I asked an Apple employee why they only had 20 gold iPhones, he acted surprised that there were so few and had run out so quickly. I find it annoying that Apple employees pretend to know nothing, but they do know, they just can’t say anything.

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At 8 a.m., the doors to the Apple Store were thrown open and customers started streaming in.

Everyone was cheering and excited except Molly. She was still bitter.

  • Jason Bartlett

    In 365 short days you’ll think it’s crap. Guaranteed. Shoulda stayed in bed :)

  • jmiah28

    I am a little mystified by the craze for the gold iPhone 5s. A lot of people will likely slap an ugly case on it and you won’t see the gold anyway!

About the author

Traci DauphinTraci Dauphin is the office manager and all round organizer at Cult of Mac. She keeps the trains running on time. Traci also writes product reviews and shoots great galleries of events like Macworld.

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