Company granted exception to foreign ownership rules
Apple has reportedly been granted a special exception to the United Arab Emirates' foreign ownership laws that will allow it to retain complete control of its operations in the country, and in exchange will finally move forward with two planned stores, the first in the Middle East. Reports say that the iPhone maker will now go ahead with construction of stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the Dubai store possibly opening later this year.
Dubai picked as location
The upcoming United Arab Emirates Apple Store will be the "biggest Apple has ever built," according to men's luxury magazine Edgar, citing an anonymous source. The person also says that Apple has picked Dubai's Mall of the Emirates as the site for the shop, and that it was originally planned to replace a current cinema complex. Based on the timing of Apple's job listings, it's thought that the store could open in the first quarter of next year. Currently, there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
Exact location still a mystery
Apple has posted job listings for its first store in the United Arab Emirates, reports note. The company is hiring for every level of retail position, and also makes references to the Apple Store Leader Program, a 24-month initiative aimed at people that have just graduated from college or university. At the moment there are no Apple Stores anywhere in the Middle East.
Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong among new places
Apple's Volume Purchase Program is coming to 16 more locations in the near future, according to pages on the company's Business and Education sites. Most of the new regions are in Europe, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Also joining in are Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Apple first among smartphone makers, fourth when all mobile phones counted
Specific (and more importantly, accurate) country-by-country statistics when it comes to smartphones and "feature" cellphones are often hard to come by, but not in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The country keeps detailed records on its telecom providers, providing complete records of mobile phone statistics. Apple has emerged as the top smartphone seller, though it runs far behind Nokia when all types of cellphones are counted.
Apps, educational systems discussed
As a part of his tour of the United Arab Emirates, Apple CEO Tim Cook today met with Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi and other government officials in Dubai, says the Khaleej Times. The ensemble reportedly discussed developing next-generation educational apps, and the potential of creating an entirely new educational model that other nations might adopt as well. Al Gergawi is said to have lauded the potential of a public-private partnership with Apple.
PM says Ireland is 'participating fully' in EU corporate tax debate
In his meeting with Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny on Friday, one of the topics Apple CEO Tim Cook ended up discussing was corporate taxes, says local newspaper The Journal. Kenny explains that he mentioned Ireland is "participating fully" in European Union discussions about its corporate tax rate. He notes that the country has a statutory rate of 12.5 percent that applies to all businesses; Apple is among a number of companies, though, that have been accused of exploiting loopholes to pay minimal taxes on international revenue.
Israeli models launching on November 3rd
(Updated with UAE info) Israel's Cellcom, Orange, and Pelephone have announced plans to launch the iPhone 5s and 5c on November 3rd, according to local business publication Globes. The carriers were previously expected to debut the new phones on November 7th. Cellcom will sell a 16GB 5s for NIS 3,700, and a 16GB 5c for NIS 3,000. Pelephone is asking NIS 3,680 and 3,220 for the same models. No Orange prices have been announced; sources say that HOT Mobile is also expected to get the new iPhones, but no dates or prices have been hinted at.
Argentina, Brazil among major launch regions
Apple is bringing the third-generation iPad to 30 more countries this weekend, the company has announced. The bulk of launches will happen on May 11th; for that day the list includes Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Vietnam. Several Middle Eastern countries will get the tablet on May 12th, those being Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Brazil, Russia, South Africa among major regions
The iPhone 4S is now available in over 20 more countries, checks show. A list includes Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. The expansion coincides with expansions of the iTunes Store and iTunes Match.
Reduces dependence on resellers
Apple has expanded the reach of its online store to four more countries. Of the group, all but one are European, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The sole exception is the United Arab Emirates. For each country, welcome graphics have been edited to reflect colors of the national flag.
LTE version generally considered unlikely
A United Arab Emirates carrier, Etisalat, is claiming that the iPhone 5 will be shipping later this year, according to Gulf News. "We are in talks with most smartphone manufacturers including Apple on the rollout of the 4G handset, iPhone 5 later this year," says the carrier's chief corporate communications officer, Ali Al Ahmad. "As the first telecom organisation to roll out the 4G network, LTE, in the Middle East, we have already started talking to them for the handsets and chipsets in them."
Region mostly devoid of full-scale Apple Stores
The first Apple Shop in the United Arab Emirates will open at 5PM on March 16th, Virgin has confirmed. In particular, the shop will actually be located within the Virgin Megastore at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. An Apple Shop is notably distinct from an Apple Store; instead of a full-scale operation, a Shop is simply a dedicated Apple section within a third-party outlet.
Top-end UAE option costs in excess of $1,000
The iPad is now officially available in the United Arab Emirates, Apple has announced. As the region lacks online or retail Apple Stores, the main way of buying the tablet is through an authorized reseller. One vendor, iStyle, is selling Wi-Fi models at prices running from 2,199 AED (about $599) for 16GB through to 3,099 AED ($844) for 64GB. The cost of a 3G iPad scales from 2,799 AED ($762) on up to 3,699 AED ($1,007), imposing a high premium versus the US, where the most expensive iPad is still only $829.
Apple blamed for preemptive action
Apple allegedly holds sole responsibility for restricting FaceTime access in countries throughout the Middle East. An unnamed source has told The Next Web that Apple preemptively omitted the feature, unbeknownst to the regional carriers. The company reportedly believed the technology would face roadblocks with local VoIP regulations.
Government cautious of using RIM's networks
The United Arab Emirates is currently mulling the possibility of restricting or monitoring BlackBerry handsets. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority reportedly informed the government that the devices fall outside the jurisdiction of local laws related to mobile phones.
Shufflegazine grows in UAE
In the UAE a new, Apple-based magazine called Shufflegazine has launched at a time when many magazines are closing down. Omran al Owais, the founder and creative director of Centimetercube, based in Dubai, believes that Apple is a product that is recession-proof, and that Apple coverage will generate enough interest to allow the magazine to survive and hopefully grow.
Saudi, UAE iPhones
The Saudi Arabian version of the iPhone is doing unusually well, claims a local newspaper. The phone went on sale Sunday through some 500 Mobily outlets, and is said to have already accumulated over 25,000 subscribers, in spite of the relative poverty of most of the country and a lack of Arabic support in text messaging or the web browser. The region does have considerable oil wealth however, and the Saudi Gazette cites a Mobily spokesman as saying Arabic support is due within three months.