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iPhone 8 Arrives in Tehran 24 Hours After Int'l Launch

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Less than 24 hours after official sales of Apple iPhone8 was globally launched, the device was available in Tehran
iPhone 8 Arrives in Tehran
iPhone 8 Arrives in Tehran
Depending on the hand sets’ memory capacity, iPhone8 is offered for 50 to 59 million rials ($1,280 to $1,500) and the 8 Plus is sold for 65 to 69 million rials ($1,660 to $1,770)

Apple’s new handsets iPhone 8 and 8 Plus arrived in Tehran on Saturday, less than 24 hours after official sales of the two devices were globally launched.

Depending on their memory capacity, iPhone8 is offered for 50 to 59 million rials ($1,280 to $1,500) and the 8 Plus can be bought at 65 to 69 million rials ($1,660 to $1,770). The devices come with two internal memory capacity options 64GB and 256GB and are selling for $699 to $949 in the international market.

A shop owner at Paytakht Computer Center — one the main technology malls in Tehran — told the Financial Tribune that the devices are imported from Hong Kong and the latest US-made iPhone8s will be available in the market today (Monday).

Muted Reaction, Small Queues

As the new iDevices went on sale globally, questions remain over the demand for Apple’s latest offering following smaller crowds outside stores and a muted customer reaction.

The two handsets’ sales started in Australia on Friday, where hundreds of tech enthusiasts have usually gathered outside Apple Sydney city store for previous launches. But instead of queues winding down the street there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday.

A similar level of interest was seen across Asia and in Europe. Queues outside Apple’s Regent Street store in London were modest compared to previous standards. The devices received a similar reception in the US.

Mentions of iPhone 8 on popular website Weibo, considered China’s Twitter and an indicator of consumer interest, were fewer than before the previous two launches. A similar level of interest is also expected in the US when stores open on Friday.

In Iran, users have shown little interest in upgrading their iDevices as well, since the 8 series does not have much to offer compared to its predecessor. Furthermore, the unprecedentedly high price of iPhone X ($999 to $1,149) has put the device out of consideration for many users.

Price Gouging

All Apple iOS devices have a specific ‘Model Number’ which looks something like this: MC605LL/A. The MC605 is an iPhone 4, black, 32GB. You can find these numbers on the packaging. The two letters behind it, LL in this case, specify the region code. 

The region code specifies for which market the device has been produced. For instance, LL means that the device has been sold in the US or Canada.

The iDevices, marked with LL region code are vastly popular with Iranian users simply because they believe that they are of better quality. Such handsets cost higher compared to iDevices carrying codes of other regions.

This is while supposedly there should be no difference between the devices, since Apple has factories around the world and devices sold in the US can also be produced, say, in China just like devices sold in eastern Europe or Dubai.

Furthermore, Iranians have to pay extra for some of the more popular colors. For instance, among the different colors of iPhone 7, Jet Black has been the most popular. The dealers charge some 1 to 2 million rials ($25 to $50) more for this color compared to other colors.

iPhone 10 Presales

According to market insiders, some dealers have started ‘presales’ of Apple’s new flagship device iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10). This is while the device will go on sale on October 27, and will be shipped to the US on November 3.

Dealers are charging customers a whopping 130 to 250 million rials ($3,330 to $6,400) for this handset offered in two colors, Silver and Space Gray and two capacity options 64GB and 256GB which are priced at $999 and $1,149 on Apple’s official website.

At the time of arrival in the Iranian market, iDevices are priced significantly higher than in the international markets, but charging customers such outrageous amounts for presently nonexistent goods has been unprecedented.

Head of Tehran Telecommunications Union Gholam Hossein Karimi called on users to be patient and “wait till the phones are brough legally into the market.” 

He says 20 Iranian businesses have been given import permits for the new Apple phones. Importers are required to offer after sales services on the new devices. 

Apple’s Troubled Presence in Iran

Apple does not have an official representative in Iran. This is while according to the US Treasury’s General License D-1, the company is not legally barred from selling its products in Iran.

The California-based company’s reluctance to work with Iranians goes well beyond setting up office in Tehran or selling devices. Last month the company started removing applications of Iranian businesses from its App Store service.

Through an official email, the company informed Iranian developers that “We are unable to include your app on the App Store. Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute, or do business with apps or developers connected to certain US embargoed countries.”

Apple reportedly has 6 million users in Iran. According to Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi Apple iPhones’ share in Iran’s smartphone market is the region of 11%.

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