for our list of August’s hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone fared against the competition, or
for our top 10 list of best smartphones in 2013 (so far).**
Apple has been criticized for a perceived lack of innovation in the new iPhone 5s, but maybe all it took was some new colors to sell as many iPhones at launch as last year if not more.
Apple’s new flagship device, on sale today, debuts with three new color options gold, silver and space gray. It didn’t take any time at all to push the ship date for the gold version into October for buyers in the U.S. and much of Europe. You’re still likely to wait a week to 10 days if you want the other colors, and that status is fluid. Check Apple’s website for up-to-the-minute details.
The flashy new colors might be getting the most attention, but the 5s does come with a faster processor and a better camera than its predecessor. The screen size is the same (four inches), but the handset also comes with a nifty new fingerprint sensor that beefs up personal security.
Thousands of people started lining up at Apple stores around the U.S. on Thursday, or even earlier, to be among the first to get their hands on the 5s. Fewer were lining up for Apple’s other release, the iPhone 5c, but that’s expected to be a bigger hit in emerging markets with fewer people who can afford the pricier version. The 5c has a plastic casing and is roughly equivalent to the year-old model under the hood. It comes in a variety of colors blue, green, pink, yellow and white.
Analysts from RBC Capital Markets and Piper Jaffray believe Apple will sell between 5 and 6 million iPhones in the first weekend. By comparison, the Silicon Valley giant sold 5 million last year and that was for a flagship that delivered a four-inch screen for the first time.
Look for official sales numbers from Apple on Monday.
Follow senior online managing editor