DUBAI // Apple enthusiasts are being urged to line up early as the hugely anticipated iPad 2 officially goes on sale in the UAE today.
Retailers are preparing for lengthy queues when the latest version of the tablet computer, which has sold millions around the world, makes its official debut. Until now, the iPad 2 has been available only at inflated, grey-market prices.
The cheapest 16GB Wi-Fi model will cost Dh2,149 (US$585) - $86 more than the US price, but more than Dh1,000 less than when it first went on sale here unofficially.
"They will be available from 9am and we are urging people who want to buy to come as early as possible," said a staff member at the Apple outlet in the Virgin Megastore in Mall of the Emirates.
"We have had huge interest from people asking us when the iPad 2 will go on sale here, so we are expecting a big response."
The staff member, who declined to be named, could not say how many iPads the store had, but reassured shoppers that it would not run out.
The tablet, which has two cameras, plus a faster processor and a slimmer design than the previous model, comes in Wi-Fi only, or 3G variations.
The Apple store will sell the 32GB Wi-Fi-only version for Dh2,549 and the 64GB for Dh2,999. The 3G models cost Dh2,649 for 16GB, Dh3,099 for 32GB and Dh3,599 for 64GB.
Jumbo Electronics, which also has an Apple outlet, was expecting to begin official sales by tomorrow.
"At the moment I can't tell you what the prices will be, but they will be cheaper than the grey-market versions," a staff member said.
The iPad 2 was officially launched in the US on March 11, but quickly made its way in to UAE stores through unlicensed imports.
"We had about 10 different iPad 2 models here and now there is only one unit left," said Syed Mohammed, who manages the Evo electronics showroom in Dubai's Media City.
Mr Mohammed said he had not been informed of the official sale and could not say when Evo would cut its prices.
"The 64GB Wi-Fi version I have left is currently Dh4,600. The prices have been high because of low stock availability and hopefully when more become available the price will come down as well."
News of the official sale left some nonplussed, however. "I bought a 64GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 a couple of weeks ago for Dh4,800 because the prices had come down," Naveed Zaman, 23, a British estate agent, said.
"I feel like a real mug now. I had no idea that Apple would be releasing it here so soon. I wouldn't have bought it then if I had known."