iPad-crazy UAE residents head for Singapore - Emirates24|7

iPad-crazy UAE residents head for Singapore

Construction manager David Tarasenko (R) purchases the first iPad3 from a store in Sydney, moments after midnight, March 16, 2012. Apple Inc's new iPad went on sale in Australia early on Friday, greeted by throngs of fans hungry to get hold of the U.S. consumer giant's latest, 4G-ready tablet computer. (REUTERS)

The much-awaited new iPad finally launched in stores across the world as fans continued their midnight vigil to lay their hands on the new machines.

In Singapore where stores started selling the new iPad more than 12 hours prior to stores elsewhere in the United States there were long queues as early as Thursday morning.

Emirates 24|7 was present at one of the stores, and can confirm that there were many others from the United Arab Emirates who had travelled all the way and lined up to purchase the new iPad.

Queues started as early as Thursday afternoon. By midnight on Thursday, there were several hundred people in front of the retailer M1 at Paragon.

It was a similar scene at most other retail stores. Singapore was among the first 10 countries to get hold of the new iPad.

Among those who had queued up were college students, young developers, and fathers who wanted to buy it for their kids.

“I came here specifically to buy the new iPad. I got my leave approved by telling that I was travelling to my home in Pakistan for an emergency visit. I also had to exchange my faulty iPad2 that I had purchased just a few months ago from Singapore,” said Ahmed (name changed) from a Sharjah based firm.

He and two other friends had lined up in front of the Epicentre at Bugis for the 10am launch.

“We did not want to take any chances. So we came straight from the airport, to the shopping centre, as one of us went and checked into the hotel. What followed was a 14 hour long wait. The store staff even helped us out with some refreshments,” said Ahmed.

Phuong from Indonesia said he had to stand in line on behalf of his 12 year old son. “My son wanted the iPad on the very first day. I was anyways coming to Singapore on a business trip and had promised him that he would get his new iPad,” he said.

With limited stocks it was indeed a mad rush for the new iPad.

“Most stores had only received about 200 to 300 units of various types of models.

“Here in Singapore the 32GB wifi only model continues to be the most sought after,” said a sales staff at Epicentre. The store also said it had just two units of the 64GB wifi plus 4G iPads.

“We are expecting fresh stocks to arrive with a week,” added the Epicentre staff.

Grey market gets busy in UAE

Grey market prices for the new iPad in the United Arab Emirates has soared and is selling at more than twice the original price.

Prices are especially high for the models with 4G. The new 32Gb wifi plus 4G model is selling for as much as Dh5,100 as per some of the classified advertisement on Dubizzle.

“Fresh stock from London. Be the first to pick it up,” said one of it.

The seller had priced the 32Gb model at Dh5400.

Meanwhile, the popular Groupon deal that is selling the wifi only models at a more reasonable rate of Dh2298, Dh2398 and Dh2698 for a 16Gb, 32 and 64GB models has become an instant hit. The deal that launched on Thursday at midnight had already had about 75 buyers.

Emirates 24|7 had earlier reported that the new iPds would be available for sale in the grey market in the UAE as early as March 19.

Bittu Jethani of Sheeba General Trading had told Emirates 247 that the new models would be on sale from Monday (March 19) onwards.

“We are getting stocks from both the US and UK.” Although he did not reveal the exact price structure, he said the wifi plus 4G models would start selling from Dh4,000 onwards.