Hundreds of people queued from the early hours of Friday morning to be among the first to take home the latest iPhone 15 that went on sale at Dubai Mall.
Extra security was drafted in to manage the huge crowds that gathered inside the mall, waiting for shops to open their doors.
Many had already queued to reserve their slot to visit the Apple Store, which opened for a special launch event at 8am.
With each of the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max devices priced from Dh5,099 ($1,388) – it is an expensive passion, although some shoppers were looking to sell on their devices for inflated prices on the secondary market.
Flying in for a phone
Sofia Tarasova, 15, from Moscow, was visiting Dubai with her brother for a week with the main intention of buying Apple products.
“I bought these four iPhones as I want to sell them in Russia,” she said. “The iPhone 15 ProMax will sell for around $4,500 there.
“We can't buy these iPhones in Russia because we have many sanctions and so we come to Dubai to buy.
“Apple is very popular in Russia as well, many people like an iPhone and they are more comfortable using them.”
Each year when Apple launches its latest products there is a huge rush to become the first to pick up the devices that have become a status symbol for some.
Die-hard Apple fans were given a QR code to join the front of the queue, but due to high demand for the devices, they were restricted to buying a maximum of two new phones per person.
The race to be first in line
Sayed Fawas, from Kerala in India, was the first though the doors of the Apple Store in Dubai Mall, a long held ambition for the 34-year-old sales supervisor.
“Every year, I've been trying to become the first person but every year it's very tough for everyone – trying to get in is very difficult,” he said.
“I cannot compare Apple with any other brand of phone, the flexibility, the operating system, everything is totally different.”
Mr Fawas bought two iPhone 15 Pro Max devices for himself and then two more for a friend.
“It's an investment,” he said.
“I already have an iPhone 13 Pro, I have a 14 and I even have 11 Pro.
“I'm very happy but the queue is the biggest and there is a big difference from last year with many more people.”
Shoppers were also queuing at Virgin Megastore and Sharaf DG that were running similar systems for early buyers of the latest devices.
Apple was also launching its latest version of the iWatch.
Crowds gather in Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile at the Galleria Al Maryah Island, a shopping centre in Abu Dhabi, similar queues were building as Apple fans waited in line.
"In my country, iPhones are very expensive because we don’t have any Apple Stores there, and the tax is very high – the difference in price is more than $500,” said Munar Nurkazy, from Kyrgyzstan.
"I arrived yesterday at 12am, I didn't even go to the hotel and went immediately to Galleria Mall.
“It was closed but we stayed outside until they opened the doors."
Like many others, Mr Nurkazy was looking to sell his extra devices for a tidy profit.
"I came for my business as I own an electronic store,” he said.
"Almost all the countries around us don’t have any Apple Stores. That’s why we come here and buy and then sell it on in my country.”