Apple’s iPhone 5 could be sold for as much as double the recommended retail price on the UAE’s grey market prior to its official launch in the Gulf state, electronics retailers told Arabian Business.
The much-anticipated redesigned iPhone, expected to be unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday evening, is anticipated to be officially released in the UAE months after its US release date, retailers said.
No official price has been set for the new device in the UAE as of yet, but the current Apple iPhone 4S model retails for AED2,599.
“If you don’t need it immediately, don’t buy it immediately as it will be unjustly expensive. It’s always better to wait until the official launch in order for the price to come into line,” said Ashish Panjabi, CEO of electronics retail Jacky’s Electronics.
Panjabi denied reports that devices could be sold on the grey market with ludicrous price tags. “Prices should hopefully stabilise a lot quicker than they have done in the past. You might find the odd person that has paid AED10,000 (US$2,700) but they are going to be in the minority,” he added.
The premium commanded by grey market retailers will depend on the global supply chain, said Nadeem Khanzadah, head of retail at Jumbo Electronics. “It’s usually market dynamics of supply and demand which decide the premiums and it should follow a similar trend this time too.”
Analysts said the new iPhone, which is expected to have a new hardware design, a bigger screen and thinner body as well as a speedier next-generation data networks, could be among the biggest consumer-electronic releases in history.
Apple, whose last iPhone launched in October 2011 surpassed expectations, could sell up to 10m of the next generation of iPhones by the end of September, analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray Cos said.
JP Morgan on Tuesday said sales of the new smartphone could boost US GDP by up to 0.5 percent based on Apple selling 8m units in the fourth quarter at a price of about US$600.
“Calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost annualised GDP growth by US$3.2bn, or US$12.8bn at an annual rate,” JP Morgan’s chief economist, Michael Feroli, said in a note to clients.
Customers in the UAE have already started to make enquiries about the release date, said Khanzadah. “Consumers in the UAE are very tech-savvy and educated about the latest technological trend around the globe [so] going by our past experience we anticipate a very good take-up for the new product in the UAE. We have received a lot of queries on the new products.”
The time period between the iPhone’s US release date and its regional launch has significantly shortened, said retailers. “We hope a few months only, which is a marked improvement on the times when it used to be a year or more,” said Panjabi.
“Typically the iPhone has been in the second and third wave of launches whereas for many other brands the UAE has actually become a wave one market for them,” he added.
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