It's official: Apple's got the Midas touch. The company's abrupt decision to break away from its classic black-and-white models and turn everything gold, gold, gold is reaping unexpected rewards. A gold iPhone 5S sold for $10,000 (yup, we meant to put in that many zeros) on eBay Monday evening. Bidding was hovering around a paltry $2,500 until one user made a desperate, last-minute bid of $10,000. (No word yet on whether the anonymous bidder misunderstood "gold aluminum" with "sold gold.") Some analysts believe that Apple's tremendous weekend sales of 9 million models were supplanted by China's high demand for gold-colored products.
Meanwhile, retailer GoldGenie is selling a 24-karat gold edition of the iPhone 5S, which will set you back a casual $2,850.
Or, if you're a really big spender, you can go for their rose-gold version — just $2,930. And in China, buyers who haven't been able to get their hands on the model are shelling out more than the equivalent of $1,000 for the model. Of course, Samsung is belatedly trying to get in on the action — they've just introduced a brand-new gold version of their Galaxy S4. What a staggering coincidence!
Still, even if they're more expensive than your annual rent, these phones are worth every penny, right? Sure... except it actually costs Apple less than two hundred bucks to make the iPhone 5S, the same as it cost them for the iPhone 5s. For an off-contract 64GB iPhone 5S, you'll pay $849... but it'll cost the company about a quarter of what it costs Apple to actually make the phone. That's a hell of a profit margin.
Meanwhile, German hacker group Starbug has officially won the $10,000 booty for being the first hackers to break into Touch ID, the new iPhones' fingerprint-recognition technology. Though Apple's original announcement of the technology initially sparked rumors of a new era of biometrics, analysts are now predicting that this won't be the case, mostly because fingerprint technology at present is notoriously unreliable. In other words, said one expert, it'll stop your family members from logging into your phone — but any thief or Web hacker worth his salt will still be able to get hold of your information. (This is your cue, NSA!)
The NYPD feel differently. They've launched a campaign to educate smartphone users about the "added security" of iOS7... even though Google brought out a similar update a month ago. Which is weird.
It also looks like there's a dark-business-plot side to Apple's new iPhone 5C cases, neon-bright and shiny as they are. Namely: they make the phone safer if you drop it, which early tests indicate is a pretty dangerous thing to do with these new iPhones. The thinking here is that, by making those Croc-like cases appealing to buyers of the new phones, Apple will face less claims of people dropping and instantly smashing them.
And in other gadget news, Kindle announced a new line of Kindle Fire devices on Wednesday, snappily named "HDX" tablets. The HDXs are faster, more affordable, and greater digital support — so it's easier than ever to watch TV and movies on it. The glowing Washington Post overview of the new line quotes Amazon chief Jeff Bezos at length ... and then ends with a grumpy acknowledgement that the paper has just been bought by him.
(Images: Samsung, GoldGenie)