DUBAI // Less than 24 hours after the official launch of the new iPhone 5 in the United States and Europe, it is already on sale in Dubai's shops.
"Grey market" stock was flown in yesterday and is being snapped up by excited Apple fans, despite the near Dh5,000 starting price.
"We had people in queues for the launch on Friday in the UK and fortunately managed to get a couple of hundred units into Dubai," said Mohammed Sadiq, the managing director of Siasa Telecoms, a mobile phone wholesaler headquartered in the UK but with outlets in Dubai.
"At this stage, the prices will fluctuate as it's a case of demand outstripping supply."
The vast majority of the units had already been reserved by the firm's customers in the UAE, although another shipment is expected today.
The company is charging up to Dh4,700 for the 32GB version of the phone.
But Mr Sadiq warned that, with few iPhone 5s available, the price could go up.
"The reason these prices are higher than the UK is because we have very tight margins in terms of having to pay for freight," he said. "But I would expect prices to stabilise at about Dh3,500 in the next month or so once supply catches up with demand."
Elsewhere in Dubai, prices for the new phones were much more expensive -about Dh6,000 for 16GB, Dh7,000 for 32GB and Dh8,000 for the 64GB version in electronic outlets atthe Mall of the Emirates on Saturday.
This compares with Dh3,155, Dh3,572 and Dh4,169 for the respective versions in the UK.
The phones are in very short supply,having sold out already in the US and UK.
The new iPhone features a slightly longer screen, a faster processor and a 4G network connection, although that feature may not be compatible in the Emirates.