Dubai: If you've been waiting for the official UAE launch by Apple of its new iPhone4S, wait no longer.
Major electronics retailers are now officially carrying the latest Apple smartphone for sale with a complete one-year warranty, Gulf News has learnt.
Up until the new offering by licensed retailers of the new iPhone4S, consumers were forced to purchase grey market versions of the phone in the Emirates from distributors not authorised by Apple as official re-sellers of their products.
Gulf News wanted to confirm the actual official launch date of the iPhone4S but Apple officials didn't respond to phone and email queries by press time. Earlier analysts' predictions figured the iPhone4S would go on sale at approved UAE retailers in either late November or early October.
Sales staff, however, at electronic retail distributors across Dubai told Gulf News that the iPhone4S was delivered to their retail outlets in late November for display and sale — complete with warranty — with approval from Apple.
Again, whether that qualifies as an official launch definition in the UAE is difficult to confirm because Apple's officials declined to answer requests by Gulf News.
In its last statement on the iPhone4S issued on November 1 from Cupertino, California head offices, Apple said at the time that the phone was available in "29 countries around the world and will be available in more than 70 countries by the end of the year".
Meanwhile, at a Jumbo Electronics outlet in Dubai this week, a prominent mini-poster mounted on the smartphone counter offered the iPhone4S "w/Warranty" with a list of prices.
The sales clerk told Gulf News the smartphone has been on sale "for a couple of weeks now and sales have been good".
The prices are far lower than the extreme high prices first demanded by grey-market vendors in the UAE that were as high as Dh8,000.
Jumbo is offering the new iPhone4S 16GB for Dh3,699, the 32GB for Dh4,099 and for the 64GB, Dh4,499.
At an Axiom Telecom outlet, the store display showed only the dated original iPhone4 model but sales staff said that the iPhone4 wasn't being displayed because the phones' housing is virtually identical.
Axiom is asking Dh3,799 for its 16GB version of the iPhone4S with complete warranty, Dh4,199 for the 32GB model and Dh4,599 for the 64GB version.
Other longtime approved sellers of Apple products, however, are still not selling the new iPhone4S, leading to some confusion among sales staff.
For example, one Carrefour outlet visited by Gulf News had no iPhone4S smartphones for sale despite the fact that it was part of the official sales launch in the UAE of the iPad2 earlier this autumn.
Store sales staff confirmed that no new iPhone4S were for sale by Carrefour and they had no idea when the retailer would offer the units officially for sale.
The new iPhone4s is also still not available through etisalat either, staff at an etisalat customer centre confirmed.
"Customers keep asking every day for it but we don't have it yet," said one etisalat staff member. "Maybe we will make it available next month."
Buying smartphones from telecoms such as du and etisalat is usually a little easier on the bank account because the subsidised phones are sold at a lower upfront price in exchange for signing a long-term one-year subscriber plan in which payments are made each month to offset the less expensive purchase cost.