UAE retailers expect iPhone 5 to go for as much as Dhs10,000
As the UAE is gripped by iPhone 5 fever, retailers have blasted unscrupulous sellers who stand to make a killing from people desperate to be among the first to get the gadget.
Tomorrow - after an agonising wait for phone fans across the world - tech giant Apple is heavily tipped to unveil its latest line of the iconic handset, which has proved astonishingly popular with consumers.
But with Apple planning to continue their policy of rolling the product out in the West before bringing it here, UAE customers who can’t wait face astronomical prices.
One retailer told 7DAYS that prices for imported iPhone 5s will start in the UAE from “Dhs4,700” the day after the gizmo is officially launched. Others, however, say they still have no idea how much it will cost to get one first.
And that’s led to major retailers hitting out at other sellers seeking bids of Dhs10,000 for the new Apple phone - which could see them pocket more than Dhs5,000 a handset.
“It’s a rip-off,” said Jackys CEO Ashish Panjabi, who said he still had no idea how much he would have to pay to get the first batches of iPhone 5s to the UAE or how much it would cost customers.
He admitted, however, that a lot of the sourcing for the phones was from “middlemen” in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“We buy from middlemen who send people into stores,” Panjabi said. “It’s 10 to 20 people getting paid $10 an hour to stand in line and get 40 phones.”
Adding he had been inundated with requests for the Apple gadget, Panjabi said: “It’s all about the iPhone and it’s all about supply and demand - and there’s just not enough supply.”
Julien Pascual, CEO and founder of online retailer Emirates Avenue, went even further in his condemnation of sellers prepared to rack up prices for the iPhone 5 - saying it would be bad for business to do so as word would spread.
“Never - I’d definitely never sell it for Dhs10,000,” Pascual said, adding he’s been receiving 30 to 40 pre-order requests per day.
“I’ll be selling (the first batches) to regular clients at a decent price - even if they can afford to pay Dhs10,000. Some people think it is better to make Dhs4,000 on one handset. That’s their strategy - not mine.”
Meanwhile, anyone short of a spare Dhs10,000 who fancies going retro need only nip onto Ebay - where you can pick up a first generation iPhone, circa 2007, for the princely sum of Dhs381.