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Source: iPhone 4 will launch in UAE by year end

But online retailers will start selling Apple’s latest smartphone early next month

Hundreds of people in the UAE have booked pre-orders of the iPhone 4 through online retailers.
Hundreds of people in the UAE have booked pre-orders of the iPhone 4 through online retailers.

The new iPhone 4 won't be officially available in the Middle East until the end of this year, says the CEO of online store EmiratesAvenue.com

"Like for the iPad which is still not sold by Apple in the UAE, the iPhone 4 should be sold only by the end of the year or maybe even later, from the information we have now," Julien Pascual, CEO of EmiratesAvenue.com told itp.net.

EmiratesAvenue.com is presently accepting early orders for iPhone 4 smartphones, sourced from the United Kingdom and France, for AED 3,499 (16GB) and AED 3,999 (32GB).

"Currently we had over 200 pre-orders for the iPhone 4. We should receive the first pieces on the first week of July," said Pascual. "The iPhone 4 has more pre-orders than the iPad for the same period of time so we can expect a higher demand".

EmiratesAvenue.com's iPhone 4 prices are more than double the $299 and $199 launch prices announced through contract with AT&T Wireless in the United States. Pascual however say they closely match the $915 price tag (AED 3,360) of unlocked units announced by Apple, especially after factoring in customs and shipping costs. If the phones come unlocked from the factory it can essentially be used with any carrier, including UAE mobile operators Du and Etisalat.

Online retailers AlShop.com, who witnessed ‘crazy demand' for the iPad tablet in the UAE, are also accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 4 but have not divulged exact pricing as yet. CEO Sheriff Rizwan estimates the iPhone 4 16GB will cost around AED 4,000 to 5,000, with the 32GB costing a few hundred dirhams more.

"We've seen roughly around 200 to 300 pre-orders in the first week itself," revealed Rizwan. "Our suppliers are selling it to us at a very high premium but we are committed to offering it to our pre-order customers at a very very minimum margin."

AlShop.com guarantees it will be one of the first retailers in the country to have the iPhone 4 by the end of the month.

Rivals Nahel.com have a different take on the situation, saying it is still too early to talk about availability in the Middle East especially since Apple have halted sales of the phone in the U.S. temporarily.

Apple and its carrier partners took in record pre-orders of more than 600,000 for the new iPhone 4 on the first day. The demand was ‘far higher than anticipated' and resulted in online ordering systems getting overloaded and supplies running out.

"If a store here is already accepting pre-orders, we think that is premature. We (Nahel.com) will position ourselves very well as soon as the phones are available through our suppliers and fulfill customer demand. This is one of our specialties," stated Saeed Hamideh, business development manager for the Consumer Electronics division at Nahel.com.