Customers look at Apple watches on display on Thursday at Sharaf DG in Dubai Mall. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Dubai: Apple has officially launched its watches in the UAE and Saudi Arabia through official channels on Thursday.

The device, available in three variants — Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition — started shipping globally on April 24, 2015.

The watches were available in the grey market from April 25. It quickly became the second best-selling wearable device, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), with shipments of 3.6 million as of second quarter this year and with a market share of 20 per cent. Fitbit shipped 4.4 million devices.

More sales numbers are expected to come when Apple is releasing its fourth-quarter earnings on October 27.

With the watch launch, some consumers are willing to buy one immediately and some are waiting for the Apple Store to open. Apple is opening its first Middle East stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on October 29.

Madhukesh Thampi, IT operations manager at Dubai-based All in Travel, said on Thursday that he was waiting for the Apple store at the Mall of Emirates to open, and wanted to be the first to buy the watch.

“I am not a hard-core Apple fan but after using the iPhone 6, which I got as a gift, I am slowly moving from Windows to Apple,” he said.

Models and prices

According to Apple’s local website, the Apple Watch Sport is available in 12 models. The 38mm watch is available for Dh1,399 and the 42mm watch for Dh1,599.

The Apple Watch is available in 20 models. The 38mm watch is available for Dh2,199 and the 42mm watch for Dh2,399. The prices go up to Dh4,399 depending on the strap.

The Apple Watch Edition is available in eight models. The 38mm 18-karat rose gold case with sport band for Dh37,000 and the 42mm 18-karat rose gold case with sport band for Dh45,000.

Prices increase with more complicated bands such as the Leather Loop and the Milanese Loop. The prices go up to Dh64,000 depending on the strap.

Most retailers are not selling the high-end models.

Apple is also expected to sell its different kinds of stand-alone straps ranging from Dh199 to Dh1,799.

Mohammad Al Saleh, procurement manager at an Omani IT company, said that he came to Dubai not only to attend Gitex and but also purchase the watch.

“I like the premium design of the watch and the continuous monitoring of heart rate as I jog and play football regularly,” he said.

Connectivity

The new Apple WatchOS 2.0.1 software update has fixed many of the previous issues and improved the battery life.

The device connects wirelessly with iPhone (5 and above) and is running on iOS 8.2 and above via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Martin Lewis, a Dubai-based resident, said that he uses an iPhone and an HTC phone but may consider buying one (the watch) after getting the device.

“It is a bit expensive for a watch. I am waiting for my friends or colleagues to buy and then I will test the device. If I am quite convinced with it, then I may decide to buy it,” he said.