If Apple is indeed releasing a gold iPhone, it will be the first time adding a color since it introduced the white iPhone 3G in 2008. The prevailing belief is the device will have a white face with an "elegant" gold-tone back plate.
"Think champagne, not ingot," a source said.
The other persistent rumor attached to the new iPhone -- frequently dubbed iPhone 5S after Apple's past naming patterns -- is a fingerprint scanner, placed in the device's home button.
Bring on the "Goldfinger" jokes.
Images of the alleged casing appeared in several places, including in a research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a history of predicting Apple's moves. Some images from the French site MacBoutic showed alleged gold casings, but without the telltale Apple logo and the words "iPhone" from the back of the casing.
Elsewhere, images of "champagne" colored buttons popped up, indicating Apple was leaning more on the subtle side than a gold brick.
The arguments for a gold iPhone are apparently very strong. Not only is gold the among the easiest colors to anodize onto the iPhone's metal casing, but the color gold has special meaning in China and India, two markets where Apple is trying to expand its foothold.
"The market is driven by colors, and gold means prosperity," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, of the Chinese market, where the gold phone would be "huge."
And while the majority of the changes expected for the new device are expected to be under-the-hood improvements to the iPhone 5, would add some pizzazz to rollout that might otherwise seem incremental.
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