Most of the Gulf's surveyed consumers say they want the device; more than 50% are not sure of its features.
iPad could be a hit in the Gulf
For consumers in the Gulf, the Apple iPad experience may be a case of love from afar ruined by reality. In no other region is there stronger consumer desire to own Apple's electronic tablet - but the device is likely to disappoint those who buy it, a new survey suggests. Of more than 2,200 GCC consumers surveyed by YouGovSiraj, 58 per cent said they planned on buying the iPad, a higher percentage than in Europe and the US, the other areas covered by the survey. Just seven per cent of shoppers in the UK gave the same answer.
But those in the Gulf were also far more likely than their international counterparts to overestimate the power and features of the device. More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said they understood the iPad to be able to make phone and video calls and take photographs - features not offered in the device, which costs upwards of US$499 (Dh1,830). "The problem is that so many, particularly in this region, do not really understand what the device can and cannot deliver, which could leave many disappointed," said Iman Annab, the chief executive of YouGovSiraj.
And despite overestimating the iPad's abilities, consumers in the Gulf significantly underestimated its price. Respondents in the GCC said they expected to pay between $160 and $320 for an iPad, about half of the average prices that those in Europe said they expected to pay. The iPad is expected to reach the UAE by April, although it is unclear whether local mobile operators will sell the device as part of a package, as they do with the iPhone. A basic version of the iPad, which does not connect to mobile phone networks for internet access, will be launched in the US in the coming month.
The hand-held, touch-screen computer, which resembles a much larger version of Apple's iPhone, was introduced by Apple last month. The launch was accompanied by one of the most sustained global media frenzies for a consumer electronics device. "Apple, with the help of Steve Jobs, has the most amazing ability to create buzz when it comes to launching a new product," Mr Annab said. "People all over the world have heard about it."