Apple betting that a golden touch can entice an iPhone upgrade this fall

Choosing an iPhone is usually a simple decision between black or white, but that could soon be set to change. A rumored third flagship color is said to be coming by way of a gold iPhone. Could such a golden touch be whats needed to not only entice upgraders this fall, but also appeal to luxury seeking buyers in Asia?

Apple is supposedly “doubling-down” on secrecy, yet we seemingly have a pretty clear picture of what to expect at Apple’s (s aapl) upcoming annual iPhone event, believed to be taking place early next month on September 10.

Among all the rumors comes multiple whispers strongly suggesting that Cupertino is in fact gearing up to introduce a gold iPhone. Traditionally Apple has only ever offered its smartphone in one of two reserved choices: black or white (the debut of the latter in 2010 wasn’t without its own issues).

In addition to this purported gold iPhone ‘5S’, speculation and various leaks would suggest that an array of more vivid multicolored iPhone ‘5C’ models are also on the cards.

Following years of offering just two simple color choices, where do these rumored devices fit within Apple’s upcoming smartphone lineup refresh?

The custom in recent years has been for Apple to introduce a new iPhone, moving older models down on a sliding scale towards a free-on-contract handset. Last year the iPhone 5 became the top model, the 4S became the mid-range choice, whereas the 4 moved to become the free option.

You may expect for this successful format to be repeated again this year, with a new 5S introduced, the 5 sliding down one spot and the 4S becoming the bottom choice. Yet, one key aspect interferes with this — if the 4S was to remain available as the low-end choice, it would still be dragging with it the veteran 30-pin port. Apple’s product line has quickly been updated to move away from the decade-old port, moving over to the new Lightning standard. Any opportunity to move away from producing 30-pin products is one Apple is definitely going to want to take — not only that, but an all-Lightning line up would give accessory makers the nudge to move towards the new standard.

With this in mind the rumored budget-friendly 5C is looking to be the replacement for the low end of Apple’s smartphone lineup; doing away with the 4S and the 30-pin port in one move. All Apple smartphones, all Lightning.

So, with the low-end covered by way of a desired new device the attention turns to the high-end. The expected 5S will no doubt tout a range of the usual improvements, including an enhanced camera and upgraded processor, but is that enough?

Previous iPhone reveals have given the spotlight solely to just one device. This time we can’t expect the same.

With the 5C presumably set to arrive with an attractive price point and plenty of fun color options to choose from, the 5S (beyond the expected spec boost) needs an extra bullet point to sway upgraders in its direction. Apple once again find itself in a position where the introduction of one product could cannibalize another.

The option to go gold may be enough to win over some current iPhone 5 owners into upgrading to a 5S, instead of heading for a 5C ‘downgrade’ simply for a change of shade. This could be especially true in China, where gold is an extremely popular color.

Its looking increasingly clear that color is set to be the main differentiator for this year’s refresh — the gold option is simply the peacock of the group.