What’s the status of iPad
in UAE?

APPLE ROLLED out the first model of iPad on April 3rd and the 3G model followed on April 30th. It reached some countries in Europe, Japan and Australia on May 28th. With the first model you can connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi, with the 3G model you can also get online from wherever you are through a mobile data plan and a SIM card.


Published: Sun 30 May 2010, 12:14 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

By any measure, the iPad has been a great success for the Cupertino-based company with 1 million units sold by May 3rd. How is it then that it’s still not officially available in the Middle East and when can we expect it?

First, let’s make it clear that any iPad sold here until there is a launch by Apple or their authorised distributors is gray market, meaning outside of the official channels. For customers, who either buy it straight from the US or from vendors in the UAE who have imported it, this means there is no Apple warranty valid in the UAE and there is no service and support available.

Recently it was reported online that 65% of iPads sold on the online auction site eBay.com since the iPad was introduced have been sold outside the US (see shuffle.to/ipaduae). Apparently buyers in the UAE are more willing to pay dearly for their iPad compared to any other country, with some paying more than double the original US price to get their hands on an iPad. Interest in Apple’s slate device is certainly at fever-pitch in the Emirates. That’s also evident by the prices that some online sellers in the country charged for the gray market iPads they sold when they first started offering them. Now pricing is more reasonable but still above US levels, which is to be expected.

There is still no word on when the iPad will arrive here officially and by some accounts it’ll be after summer or even later. Apple premium reseller iStyle as well as electronics-chain Virgin have both issued statements urging customers to wait for the official launch before buying iPads. Apparently customers who have already bought iPads have approached their stores for service and support and they’ve been unable to offer either because of the unofficial status of iPad.

One thing that has just recently improved for UAE iPad owners is that Apple has opened up the UAE App Store for iPad apps. Now you can, with a UAE iTunes account and credit card, download free apps as well as purchase paid-for apps. You still cannot get any music, movies or TV however. At least this is a step forward for the market even though iPad is not officially here yet.

In terms of getting online with the 3G model of iPad, Etisalat is offering Micro SIM cards compatible with iPad. You can even get one in addition to your regular SIM card and pay them together as one bill under their Tawa’am scheme. So far, du has not announced a Micro SIM card but is widely expected to do so in the near future.

(Magnus Nystedt is Managing Editor of Shufflegazine.com, Tech Lifestyle Magazine based in Dubai. With an aim to educate, inform and entertain consumers, he reports on what’s happening in the world of tech, gadgets and gaming with a local and regional perspective. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt.)

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