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A set of photographs from a Japanese website surfaced on Thursday, supposedly showing a widely rumored gold colored "iPhone 5S" shell in various comparison shots with two current generation iPhone 5 handsets.
From the photos, it appears that the supposed "champagne" iPhone 5S casing has no significant design variations compared to the iPhone 5, including button layout, speaker holes and SIM card lot position. Everything from the rear antenna windows to the highly polished chamfered edges are identical.
Rumors are heating up with an expected launch date close at hand. The latest hot topic is a new gold color option for the next generation iPhone, which some sources have described as a more elegant "champagne" hue, not a gaudy "ingot." Parts hinting at the new color choice have been circulating for some time, but not much attention was paid until a supposed shell appeared last week.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a reliable track record in predicting Apple product announcements, said last week that the gold case color will be offered alongside the traditional black and silver options currently seen with the iPhone 5. He also sees Apple introducing a new 128GB storage option for the 5S, which is expected to feature revamped internals and a fingerprint sensor.
It is speculated that if Apple is indeed planning to introduce a gold version of the iPhone 5S, the move may be a play at the booming Chinese handset market. Recent research has shown that color preference is trending toward gold and orange in the Asia-Pacific region.
Apple is rumored to announce its next iPhone model at a special event on Sept. 10, with a rollout to follow shortly thereafter.