'Widely available': Apple smartwatch receives 'grey' welcome in the UAE

Published April 28th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT
 The Apple Watch is now “widely” available in a number of online websites in the UAE. And for those who want to be the first to own one, it will — as expected — cost you. A lot.

For instance, the Apple Watch Sport 42mm silver aluminum case with green sport band — code MJ3P2 — as at Press time, goes from Dh3,999 at Alshop.com, while at JadoPado.com and DealsHabibi.com, it’ll cost you at least Dh5,299.

This model is — for your information — one of the cheapest in the fold; it’s $399 in the US, or only Dh1,466 — that’s at least a 172 per cent mark-up.

“We keep adjusting according to the market. [Other online sellers] may have had some stock come in at a lower price point and are therefore able to sell it at that price point,” Omar Kassim, founder of JadoPado.com, told Khaleej Times.

“Pricing is all over the place due to a lack of availability. Hopefully it will settle soon.”

Pricena.com, a shopping comparison site, lists where you can buy the Apple Watch. However, the prices are — not surprisingly — still steep.

It may be hard to gauge the demand for the Apple Watch at this point in time; potential customers here in the UAE may possibly be doing the rounds online, merely looking around and not making formal queries to retailers on the Web.

'We’ve had very little inventory come through into the market in general and therefore have them on ‘special order’ at the moment,” Kassim said. “It feels like there is some demand, but not at these price points. We’ll have to wait for them to settle a bit further before we really understand what demand is like.”

Kassim is one of the first to boast owning an Apple Watch here in the UAE. He is “sure”, though that “someone had it on launch day [on Friday], if not on Saturday”.

He says his unit — an Apple Watch Stainless Steel — which he ordered from the UK, was delivered to him late on Sunday in Dubai. He paid around £479 (Dh2,660) for it, including shipping.

“A seller on the marketplace had the first unit available on Saturday evening at a price point just north of Dh5,000 and it sold pretty much right away. Prices today start at $1,329 [Dh4,849] versus Apple’s retail price of $349 [Dh1,282] for the same device. You have to keep in mind though that the premium is for stock that’s available versus shipping times of June through to August at Apple, depending on what you’re ordering.”

Still, there will still be reasons — aside from wanting to be the first — that some people may consider snapping up more cash to get a premium device.

“It’s an incredible device for a version-one product... it was incredibly cool being able to ring someone from your phone and hear them right back. I felt like a spy,” quipped Kassim. And when you get the hang of it, it won’t be a surprise it will be part of your daily routine.

Jacky’s Retail chief operating officer Ashish Panjabi, who uses a Samsung Gear 2 Neo and who has been using smart watches for over two years, believes that it is easy for these devices to stick not only onto your wrist, but also to your lifestyle. “The main benefit I’ve found with a smart watch is that for the notifications I get on my wrist, it has often been viewed at a time when my phone has been in my pocket,” he told Khaleej Times.

“I’ve also missed fewer phone calls as it is more difficult to miss out on a vibrating alert on your wrist as opposed to one in your pocket when you are in a loud environment,” he added.

“And with the fitness trackers, I liked the fact that it kept me aware of my daily movements, especially on days when you tend to be behind a desk as you know how much you need to do to catch up... there are some facts you are aware of but don’t like to admit but when you see the data in a graph, there’s no hiding from it,” he added.

Kassim sees that it also won’t be surprising if demand ramps up in the very near future.

“I think early adopters will jump on it and won’t mind some of the early issues, but I don’t see it being ready for the mainstream market in its current state. One challenge at the moment is that all third-party apps are a ‘view’ of what’s on your iPhone and aren’t native to the Apple Watch, this means that they tend to take longer than you’d like them to take in terms of loading up and displaying the information that you want. I can see Apple moving to fix this pretty quickly though,” he added.

And as for the price fix, fret not.“The price will definitely come down as we see more stock being available,” Kassim assured.


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