How do you think the launch of the latest smartphone from the Apple team is going to impact the smartphone market?
Apple has of course been extremely popular in the region and there are a lot of people with older generation iPhone 4 devices that may be looking at an upgrade. Many Apple fanboys (or girls) with an iPhone 4S may also look to move up to a newer device. Apple though has been smart because they’ve also got a big base of iPod Touch customers, particularly kids and teeneagers and you could see many of them move onto the iPhone, whether it be a new iPhone 5 or a hand-me-down iPhone 4 or 4S.
We’ve been getting regular queries for the iPhone 5 in our retail outlets as well as on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We anticipate this will sell well.
The smartphone market will continue to get more exciting as we move into the critical fourth quarter of the year as we expect to see the launch of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices that will have Arabic support and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
Added to this, we have GITEX Shopper, Eid, Diwali, the National Day holiday and the festive season towards the end of the year, we can expect to see a spike in sales during all of these gifting periods.
How is the iPhone5 raising standards for smartphones?
The iPhone 5 will come with LTE in the region and apart from Nokia’s Lumia 920, no one else has yet announced a smartphone that is LTE compatible for the UAE. This will mean in essence you can get faster download speeds on your smartphone than you would from a domestic broadband connection. The battle though is largely fought on the ecosystem field and this is where Apple has been ahead of their competitors. The App ecosystem that Apple spoke of on the eve of the launch (over 700,000 Apps), iCloud, iTunes, etc. has largely been the differentiating factor because on a spec-by-spec basis, most of the competition has either caught up or exceeded Apple.
Is the iPhone 5 available for pre-order? What is the criteria in terms of price for the same?
We have not started any pre-order campaign yet. Once details are finalised we can communicate these but prices would be expensive initially as we’d be buying them at more expensive prices as well. We’d recommend waiting till the official launch if possible, which could be some time during December, if not earlier.
When do you think the phone will officially be available with major retailers?
Grey stocks may roll in towards the end of the month but official stocks like I said would be around December we estimate. Official communication release dates in the UAE though would have to come from Apple and the two network carriers in the UAE
Are you going to be launching any special offers to leverage the significant demand for the iPhone 5?
In the early days, we don’t expect any major campaigns for the iPhone 5 as stocks would be limited. Once the supply chain is stabilised, we would then look to see if and what type of promotional activity needs to be done.