Local gadget geeks will have to wait only a couple of months more before getting their hands on Apple's latest iPhone. And with a front-facing camera capable of making video calls, snazzy aluminium casing and a state-of-the-art high-resolution screen, the wait until September will hopefully prove worth it. Since the original iPhone was launched in 2007, the device has been a rockstar among electronic gizmos. Few other gadgets have inspired so many to camp outside stores for days to make sure they got hold of one as soon as possible. What is more, the iPhone almost single-handedly ushered in the mobile application industry, a market that many believe will be worth US$30 billion (Dh110.19bn) by 2015.
Farid Faraidooni, the chief commercial officer for du, confirmed that the telecommunications operator would carry the iPhone in September but could not provide a specific date when the device would become available to the company's subscribers. "The data has not been confirmed yet as Apple dictates the markets they release the phone in," Mr Faraidooni said. "We have an agreement with Apple, and as soon as they decide on the date, we will make it available to our customers."
Khalifa al Shamsi, the senior vice president for consumer marketing for Etisalat, confirmed that the operator would also offer the next-generation iPhone in September but declined to say how much it would cost or when it would be available. In the UK, the 16 gigabyte version costs £499 (Dh2,765) and the 32Gb version £599. Matthew Reed, a senior research analyst with Informa Telecoms and Media, expects consumers in the UAE to pay close to the recommended retail price for the iPhone 4 when it becomes available by Etisalat and du.
"Operators here in the UAE are very reluctant to get into subsidising handsets, as is the norm in the UK," Mr Reed said. "So although the iPhone 4 will probably be offered here with a choice of payment and data plans, there will be little or no subsidy." When Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 this month, the company said it would be available in five countries including the US and UK from June 24 while 88 other countries would have to wait.
Apple has already sold more than 1.7 million iPhone 4s in its first week on the market. The iPhone 3GS was released in the UAE last October during the Gitex technology conference in Dubai by Etisalat and du, two months after Apple said it would be available in the country. However, it seems there are some domestic Apple fans who cannot wait until September. Reports from several local Twitter users say they have already shipped their iPhones in from the UK and are now using them in the UAE.