It looks like EmiratesMac’s blog has got its knickers in a twist about the iPhone launching in the UAE, and the rippling rumour pond has spread as far as this morning’s Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye, which pinned the date at February 14. Stuff put in a call to the BB team, which admitted its speculative source had been an anonymous text message (in fairness, they didn’t claim it as fact on the show). A call to Apple’s Middle East distributor, Arab Business Machine Ltd, threw up few more clues. The company’s marketing manager, Nathalie Khouri, said she was not ready to comment ‘just yet’. ‘There is no news on the iPhone,’ she added, and said she would consider further questions by email only. We’ve sent it off and will let you know what she says. Here’s why we think the iPhone won’t launch in the UAE on February 14.
1. There is still no indication that the iPhone even exists on the local website.
2. Apple’s international site mentions forthcoming launches in Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia and Qatar – yet no mention of the UAE. And Qatar’s been on there since June last year.
3. For a product that has thrived on advance publicity, it would be an odd decision not to publicise the launch well ahead of time. Let’s face it, you don’t run a viral campaign off EmiratesMac. (Sorry, guys.)
4. February 14? So the announcement can be buried in Valentine’s Day hype, then trodden into the mud by the slew of new phones expected at Mobile World Congress, which starts on the 16th. Great plan.
5. Even though Apple’s spokeswoman was tight-lipped with the details, she also wouldn’t tell us whether the iPhone was being considered (the old line was that ABM had ‘no plans’ to bring the iPhone to the UAE). And she avoided questions about the government decree saying that both carriers would have to offer the phone to avoid a monopoly. In other words, it didn’t look like she was trying to hide anything. She just didn’t want to comment; it’s a regular event in the Middle East.
6. EmiratesMac puts it in a section called ‘Unconfirmed Rumours’, which is a tautology. Do we trust sources who think a rumour can still be a rumour once it is confirmed? We do not.
UPDATE: Whoops – wrong link for the blog. Apologies, and here’s the one we should have put up. We seem to have stirred up some opprobrium in the EM camp. For the record, this post was not intended to be (a) an attack or (b) anti-Apple. We don’t do that.