DUBAI// Apple enthusiasts in the UAE are counting the hours to the official unveiling of the eagerly awaited iPhone 5 tonight.
However, fans desperate to get their hands on the new handset have been warned they can expect to pay up to Dh12,000 for the phones once they arrive on the Emirates' grey market.
"It's a simple case of supply and demand," said Sheriff Rizwan, the chief executive officer for the online retailer ALshop.com.
"Certainly, for the first 15 days after the release import prices will be very volatile and I wouldn't be surprised if they hit around Dh12,000."
No information about the new phone's specifications have been released by Apple, but based on unofficial reports the consensus is that the new device will be slightly longer and feature a more powerful A5 central processor.
It will also have version six of Apple's mobile operating software installed and come with a smaller dock connector and newly designed headphones.
"We don't know the full details of the new specifications and I think that will be a big thing for people," said Mr Rizwan.
"There has been talk that Apple might get rid of the 16gb version and introduce a 128gb model."
He said the store had directly contacted its highest spending customers to ask if they wanted first choice on the new phones.
"We have about 200 or so premium customers. These are the people who bought the iPad 2 and 3 as well as the iPhone 4 and 4S.
"All of them said they want to buy the new phone and most of them want phones with a 64gb memory."
He said the company will be able to get the phone into the country within 24-hours of its official release.
Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer for Jacky's electronics, said the UAE should recevied an official launch just a few months after North America and Europe, as was the case with the iPhone 4S and the new MacBook Pros.
"The supply chain is a lot better now than when we had to wait six months for a new iPhone to be officially launched here," he said.
"In that respect, I would imagine most people will probably wait a few weeks after the frenzy has died down and buy when they are at a more reasonable price."
The Apple's iPhone 5 announcement is scheduled to take place in the US at around 5pm GMT.