Customers check the Iphone 4s at a store in Dubai. The iconic handset’s latest version was officially released for sale in the UAE on Thursday. Image Credit: Oliver Clarke/ Gulf News

Dubai: Apple officially launched the iPhone4S in the UAE on Friday, offering the handset on its website at prices far below local retailers.

The site offered the device for Dh2,599 for the 16GB model, Dh2,999 for the 32GB model and Dh3,399 for the 64 GB model. Delivery of purchases on the site (www.apple.com/ae) is also free.

Those prices require patience, however, as Apple was offering a delivery time of one to two weeks. Stock was an issue at two stores that were supposed to begin offering the smartphone today. A Carrefour salesperson at the Mall of the Emirates said the phone would not be available until today or tomorrow, while the iStyle store at Dubai Mall said it would not have the device in stock for at least a week.

However, a number of local retailers who began to offer the new iPhone last week still had the devices in stock. Many did not move to immediately match Apple website prices released yesterday for the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Comparison shopping by Gulf News found that retailers kept to their own market views on the mobile handsets, often charging hundreds of dirhams more than the Apple.com/ae website.

Jumbo Electronics was selling the unlocked iPhone 4S yesterday at its own list price, higher by several hundred dirhams than Apple.

Matching prices

A Jumbo salesperson said yesterday afternoon that his store had received no official word from the head office whether it would be matching prices.

Jumbo prices are Dh3,599 for the 16GB model, Dh3,799 for the 32GB model and Dh4,199 for the 64 GB model. He said the store has ample stock on hand and would have enough models for the days ahead if sales surge.

Jacky's Electronics was also selling the new iPhone 4S yesterday, but the retail chain is only selling phones with telecom du at lower initial prices as an incentive to sign up for a one-year data package.

Phones at Jacky's were selling for as little as Dh2,749.

He said it is unlikely that the lower Apple website-advertised prices would force data-package phone prices lower.

Both du and etisalat also launched the phone iPhone 4S yesterday at a variety of prices packaged with data and voice plans.

Du said it will join the iPhone4S frenzy with a limited offering only to existing post-paid du customers who have already been notified that the phone is available at UAE outlets. "For the first few days, only post-paid du customers or those who received an invitation by du can purchase the new iPhone 4S models," said a du customer outlet staff member. "The iPhone 4S will not be offered by us to the general public for another week or two."

The prices for selected du customers are Dh2,749 for the 16GB iPhone4S, Dh3,199 for the 32GB model and Dh3,599 for the 64GB model.

Competitor etisalat has already gone public with its official iPhone4S deals available through pre-order sales which are slightly cheaper in some cases than du.

Etisalat's prices, as released in a statement, are Dh2,749 for the 16GB model, Dh3,149 for 32Gb model and Dh3,549 for the 64GB device.

— With inputs from Scott Shuey, Deputy Business Editor