Mystery surrounds the release date of Apple’s official launch of the iPhone 5 in the UAE. Phone fans have been able to phone home on an iPhone 5 in the UK, US, Japan or Hong Kong - as well as host of other nations - since September 19. India started selling the handset last Friday.
Despite repeated attempts by 7DAYS to seek confirmation from Apple as to when the phone will be on sale in the UAE, the world’s most valuable brand is remaining tight-lipped.
7DAYS has spoken to the TRA, the UAE’s telecoms authority, and the country’s two phone providers Etisalat and du - and none of them have been given any inkling by Apple as to when the gadget will be on sale.
Major electronics retailers in the UAE have also been switched off in their attempts to dial up a line as to when the phone’s arriving.
Vishesh Bhatia, CEO of Jumbo Electronics, told 7DAYS his company is Apple’s official authorised re-seller in the UAE - but he isn’t even sure the iPhone 5 will be on sale in the UAE this year.
“I think, I hope, it will be here before the end of the year - I expect it will be - but I really don’t know,” Bhatia admitted. “Apple are saying nothing officially to us.” Jackys CEO Ashish Panjabi said he had “honestly no idea” either as to when the iPhone 5 would officially be on sale in UAE stores. “They’re not saying too much,” he said. It may have been hyped as the best thing since sliced bread - but Panjabi admitted to 7DAYS that sales of the iPhone 5 on the ‘grey market’ have been “slow.”
“A lot of people don’t want to pay the premium prices,” Panjabi said. Could the delay see buyers get tired of the wait and simply snap up other handsets? “It’s so difficult to say,” said Panjabi.