Expected to come to UAE by September 20; estimated price Dh3,100
The Apple iPhone continues to evolve. With the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 launched today in California, shoppers in Dubai can expect to get their hands on Apple's latest great as soon as September 20, according to one UAE based online retailer. So what can we expect to see? With Apple's personal - and very vague - launch invitation leaving literally every detail about the new product under wraps, speculation has been rife amongst the world's tech-heads.
From reinforced crystal sapphire screens (meaning no more texting between the cracks) and increased gigabyte space, consumers are keeping their fingers crossed that the new feature rumours are true.
But will iPhone lovers have to dig deep for the privilege?
Not necessarily said electronics e-commerce retail site JadoPado founder Omar Kassim. Kassim said "I'd expect a bit of a price premium for the first week or so, around eight to 10 per cent over Apple's retail US prices, but I don't expect it to change versus their current iPhone 5s prices."
So with an estimated US price tag of $750, buyers here can expect to hand over about Dh3,100 according to Kassim's forecasting, although the additional margin is "unfortunately all in the supply chain" he said, as wholesalers and other scalpers always "look to capitalise".
And the new phone could be available online here within just 10 days, he said.
"It is likely the iPhone 6 will be available in launch markets 10 days after the announcement. This takes us to Friday, September 19, then add one day for us to be able to get them in, and we should be ready for deliveries."
But for those looking to buy in store, Emax CEO Neelesh Bhatnagar said consumers may have to wait till the end of the month.
"As September 9 is the international launch, distributors in Gulf countries have no idea when iPhone 6 will be available in the UAE. Looking at past launches I would say within three weeks of this date," he told Khaleej Times.
With the UAE typically seeing products go on sale in the second wave of launches, Bhatnagar said it was difficult to comment on new features and pricing because Apple tend to keep every detail under lock and key. "Typically, Apple doesn't give away any information in advance, not even to retail marketing teams. The same goes for the price, it's just not shared beforehand."
Though official information regarding the newly launched products has only been released today, numerous online leaks have promised not just one new model, but three, including the ‘wearable' iWatch.
So what's new?
As if time almost seems to be running in reverse, things are not only getting bigger with the iPhone, but its main design will mimic Apple's original iPod, with a thinner body and rounded edges on the cards.
Nostalgia seems to be the driving force behind the new look with the iPhone 6 upsizing its previous four inch screen to a more usable 4.7 inch frame. A feature which is sure to be a hit among consumers, Bhatnagar said.
"Phone designs have gone full circle. They've gone from big to small and now small to big again. These large screens are very popular at the moment so Apple knows exactly what it is doing." And Kassim agrees.
"I think the screen size will be the biggest draw as the iPhone's form factor hasn't changed since the release of the iPhone 5 a couple of years ago."
Talk is also abundant that Apple will be launching - or at least unveiling - an even larger, tablet-esque (or phablet) product with a screen measuring 5.5 inches, according to Kassim.
"The only question is whether both the 4.7 inch and the 5.5 inch will be announced and be available a few days after the announcement, or whether the 5.5 inch will be delayed due to what is rumoured to be production delays."
But whether released alongside the 4.7 inch model or not, will the 5.5 inch model - thought to be dubbed the iPhone 6L - propel the iPhone 6 into ‘has been' status before even touching the shelves?
As well as an increase in screen size, Apple is said to be offering a 128GB version of both phones, although Dubai Resident James Lee says this may be "a little too much". "128GB of space is insane. I know we live in a world where heads are glued to phones, but I don't even think the 24/7 businessman could use up that much space."
With official UAE launch dates for the iPhone 6 still unknown, Bhatnagar said Emax is already preparing for a midnight launch across its high profile stores and he is expecting the turnout to be huge. But, as Dubai readies itself for one of its biggest product launches of 2014, the dawn of the new iPhone could spell trouble for rival Samsung.
With news earlier this week revealing a seven per cent loss of its global smartphone market share in 12 months, things could get worse as Apple prepares to unveil its large-screen iPhone 6 and iWatch, so let the sparring commence.
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