Most of the retailers have gone out of supply as Apple fans queued for the midnight release of the iPhone 6 at major malls in the UAE overnight on Friday. Top retailers -- Jacky’s, Jumbo, Emax, Sharaf DG and Plug Ins -- and the telco operators kept their outlets opened for the Apple aficionados as some of them (retailers and telcos) had started pre-bookings from September 18. Now here's the bad news, say retailers, the new devices will not be available at the opening of Gitex Shopper which kicks off Saturday. All the major malls like Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Deira City Centre, Oasis Centre, Emax’ Sharjah Big Box, Dalma Mall, Virgin Mega Store, iStyle and Mirdiff City Centre were open till 2.30am for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus' Dubai launch.
But retailers said they got very limited quantities compared to the robust demand, Gulf News learnt.
An industry source said that iStyle and Virgin Mega Store got decent numbers while the retailers got much less.
"Our units were completely sold out in 45 minutes and the next consignment will come in three to four days time,” said Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax.
He said that Emax got more than 500 units. Many people are pre-booking for the next deliveries.
Fans' unbending spirit
Among those who formed a beeline to the retail shop on Friday night was Rafique Iqbal, 35, from Pakistan.
He said: “I had been waiting for the official launch (in Dubai) as it was only a matter of nine days (from US launch). If Apple had delayed the launch (further), I would have bought from the grey market for double the price.”
Despite the “bendgate” controversy, he said: “I just want the new device as it is more powerful and the new iOS 8 user experience is really good.”
Daniel Martin, 38, from London, said: "I came to the Dubai Mall at 10pm hoping to be the first to stand in the queue at Jumbo Electronics. But when I arrived, there was already a long queue."
But Martin was not disheartened. “I heard that the allocations for the UAE was limited so I told my wife also to stand in the queue at Jacky’s but I was lucky to get the iPhone 6 Plus much before my wife. It is a sexy device,” he said.
Osman Sultan, CEO of du, inaugurated the sale at Al Salam Tower in Media City.
The telco operators have priced the iPhone 6 without contract at Dh2,749 for 16GB; Dh3,149 for 64GB; Dh3,549 for 128GB while the iPhone 6 Plus at Dh3,149 for 16GB; Dh3,549 for 64GB and Dh3,949 for 128GB.
Etisalat offered its contract packages for the buyers with zero down payment but du will offer its plans on Saturday.
"We are equally excited to offer our customers smartphone plans designed to give them the ultimate experience and at a great value,” said Khaled Al Khouly, chief marketing officer at etisalat.
“Du’s Al Salam Tower will be opened throughout and there will be a shift change at 8am. Over 1,000 people – pre-order and walk in – got their hands on the device,” a du spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Dubai-based retailer Jumbo Electronics said they ran out of stocks.
“All our four stores are completely sold out, except for pre-booked customers who will come in the morning to pick it up,” said Nadeem Khanzadah, head of retail at Jumbo Electronics.
He said that Jumbo is assured to get good quantities in the next shipment.
"But we don’t how much. Tomorrow we will come to know how much we will get. At the opening of Gitex Shopper, we will not have any piece to sell,” he said.
The official Apple Store in the UAE will start taking orders for the new phones from Saturday.
The new iPhones come in gold, silver and space grey, and the iPhone 6 is available for Dh2,599 for the 16GB model, Dh2,999 for the 64GB model and, for the first time, a new 128GB model for Dh3,399.
iPhone 6 Plus for Dh2,999 for the 16GB model, Dh3,399 for the 64GB model and Dh3,799 for the new 128GB model.
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