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Overwhelming demand as iPad 2 trickles into UAE

Customers give good feedback on new iPad 2 apps as lucky customers nab the first devices

Overwhelming demand as iPad 2 trickles into UAE
The iPad 2 has hit the shores of Dubai and units are selling like hotcakes.

Apple' s new iPad 2 tablet device is now available for pre-order on several UAE-based online websites, with some saying that they have taken their first deliveries, while others say devices will hit on or after 25th March.

There has been no information from Apple as to when the device will be officially launched in the UAE.

Prices on the UAE-based websites range from $870.93 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version to $1,292.85 for the 64GB 3G Wi-Fi version on ALshop.com, while mygsm.me is selling the 16GB 3G plus Wi-Fi model for $980.26 and aido.com is selling the 16GB 3G plus Wi-Fi device for $1,099 and the 16GB Wi-Fi only model for $969.95.

These prices are all considerably higher than the prices being offered by Apple stores in the US, where the 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi is selling at $499, the 32GB at $599 and the 64GB is $699.

For the iPad2 Wi-Fi plus 3G, the 16GB is $629, the 32GB is $729 and the 64GB is $829.

Sheriff Rizwan, CEO of ALshop.com said that the demand for the iPad 2 has been overwhelming and that he has seen more orders for the new version than for the original iPad as many people have been waiting for the second-generation device.

"We have had 300 to 400 units pre-ordered just in the UAE alone, there have also been significant orders from Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi and Oman," he said.

Mygsm.me also reported a great demand.

"Customer response was very good, in fact it was much more than what we expected, we had pre-booking for 200 different types of iPad 2 and we are getting lot of calls and pre-orders each day for iPad 2. We are selling iPad 2 with one year mygsm warranty in UAE and we are the only dealer to provide warranty for iPad 2 now, so more and more customers are coming to buy iPad 2 from us," said Abdul Naushad, general manager, mygsm.me.

ALshop.com received their first shipment of iPad 2s earlier this week. Rizwan said most of the 50 to 60 units they received were not the most-wanted 3G model, but still shot off the shelves. Mygsm.com will be receiving their first shipment of 50 units on Thursday this week.

Before the end of the week ALshop.com is expecting 150 to 200 3G models to be delivered to them for the UAE market.

Rizwan says that the reason the prices are so much higher in the UAE is because of the time and effort suppliers put into getting the iPads.

"We buy the iPads from local suppliers and people who have traveled to the USA to get the iPad 2. I know someone who physically stood for eight hours outside an Apple store waiting to buy. Apple will not sell more then two iPads per person for a new product, so it involves a lot of co-ordination and time, which shows in the prices," he said.

The CEO added that Alshop.com then adds a small profit margin onto the price they purchased the iPad 2s for, but he admitted that he expects the price of the units to drop in a week or two as more iPad 2s become available in the UAE.

Rizwan said that the customer feedback on the devices has so far been nothing but good, with many praising the new Facetime video-calling app.

"Customers have found a great difference in the iPad 2; many have upgraded from the iPad 1 and given the old one to friends and family. The iPad 2 looks and feels thinner and we have had good feedback about the new Facetime, Photobooth and AirPlay music apps," he said.

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