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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

iPad Mini: Black, White but not Grey

Some things are worth waiting for. 

This is the philosophy we've taken when it comes to the launch of the new iPad Mini.  Instead of indulging into importing the product from the grey market at prices that were relatively more expensive, we've decided to wait and start selling the product when it is officially available in the United Arab Emirates.

We've made no secret of our displeasure with the Apple supply chain in the past but what we have seen with the last few product launches has been a significant improvement from Apple.  For example, with the iPhone 3GS a few years ago, consumers in the UAE had to wait for over a year till the stocks were officially available in the country.  We're now at a stage where this has come down to a few months and hopefully in the future will move into weeks or even days.

The iPad Mini during it's launch event.
Image: perezhilton.com
This is encouraging because various brands in the tech sphere like Samsung and RIM (BlackBerry) have often times planned global launches for their smartphones in the United Arab Emirates or have categorized the UAE as a "Wave 1 country," meaning we've had the products here at the same time as most major countries.

With the waiting period for products to be officially available is reducing in the case of Apple, the need to rely on the grey market has also been gradually reducing to the point that we've decided to call it a day.  With the iPad Mini, we took a conscious decision to wait it out as we found it very difficult to justify why consumers should pay significantly more for a product than it's advertised launch price.

By purchasing from the grey market, we were not only selling the products at higher prices but also buying them at inflated prices.  In most cases in fact, our buying price for a product would've been far higher than Apple's advertised selling price because we were literally buying them from brokers who bought them from Apple Stores in different parts of the world at full retail price.  We would then have to factor in their margin, shipping, duties and a cost of warranty once the products landed into our warehouses before we could determine a selling price.

Going forward, this will change.  By waiting and selling the iPad Mini when it is launched in the UAE, we hope to be in a position to provide better value to our customers as the product would then be more reasonably priced.

If you can't wait, there are options of where you can buy it, whether it be online through various local websites or from kiosk operators in various malls, but understand that you will be paying more.  We don't see the reason in charging more but if you'd like to pay significantly more than the global pricing for the iPad Mini, the choice is yours.

7Days also covered this story in the newspaper today and more can be read at the following link: UAE retailers rule out iPad Mini sales before official launch.

Posted by: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics LLC