UAE residents queue through the night for iPhone 7
It was the first year that fans of the iPhone could buy the latest models at official Apple stores, which opened in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in October last year. Telecoms companies Etisalat and du were also offering the phones to customers who had ordered them online.
A customer service representative at the Apple store at Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall said that the first batch of phones in the UAE had been sold out and the devices had only been given to those had ordered them online in advance.
Ahmed Al Hajri, from Saudi Arabia, waited in front of the Apple store at Mall of the Emirates starting at 10pm on Friday to be the first in line for the iPhone 7. He had ordered the phone online and spoken with store employees the day before to confirm the time of the opening.
"I worked hard to be the first and get the phone as well. I am so glad that I was the first and got it," the 22-year-old said. "I love the iPhone because it always has updates, has many applications and high security, and its accessories are available everywhere. And the thing that attracted me to the iPhone 7 is its camera."
Ranjit Jose, an Indian sales director, was the second who entered the store, which opened at 8am, to get both an iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2.
"I am a crazy Apple fan, and I have every Apple phone since it was launched," the 40-year-old said.
"I bought the new Apple Watch because I have never had a sport watch in my life and there are so many features in it, as it gives me the complete update on my heartbeats and breath from time to time, so I can take care of my heart."
Diana Ahmed, a Syrian business law student, came to Dubai to buy the phone after ordering it online in Syria.
"I arrived yesterday and this is my first time here in Dubai. I usually order online and on the first day of launching the iPhone, I get it even from France or New York," the 26-year-old said.
"I am an Apple lover and I like the fact that the iPhone 7 could go in water with no damage, as I had two iPhones before, and both fell in the water and did not work anymore, and I lost all my photos.
"But with this one I would not face the same problem."
Rawan Batniji, a 26-year-old Palestinian housewife, found that when she went to buy the device for her sister at about noon, it was already out of stock at the Etisalat headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
"The employee explained that the number of devices they received for the Middle East were fewer than the number they ordered, and the ones they received they gave to those who ordered it," said Ms Batniji.
"Whoever went to buy it on the spot was turned down." Even though she is a loyal iPhone user, Ms Batniji decided not to get one for herself.
"I did not like it because it is exactly the same shape and size as the iPhone 6," she said.
She also did not like that the latest model has no headphone jack, and users without wireless headphones must instead plug them into the charging port with an adapter, which Ms Batniji called impractical.
"I always have the headphones on, and sometimes I put the charger in at the same time," she said.
* Additional reporting by Haneen Dajani
Published: September 17, 2016 04:00 AM