It's time. It's time - to open an Apple store in Russia.
There are a lot of Russians living in USA who must be tired by now smuggling multiple copies of iPhones and iPads across the border every time they go to visit friends and relatives in Russia.
You might not know, but iPhones are not sold in Russia - and I'm talking about the LATEST VERSIONS of the Apple's gadgets - every single person who owns the latest versions of iPhone and/or an iPad in Russia - are the jaw-broken gadgets brought from USA via various means (friends, families, illegal re-sellers). These iPhones and iPads have been acquired with/without local American phone carriers/services, with/without local Apps - they were just acquired for the interface that was then adapted to the local Apps and needs.
Even an iPhone that was given to the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev by Steve Jobs himself, when Medvedev went on a tour of Silicon Valley, it was locked on AT&T phone carrier. That might have been not really good for the Russian-American relations (The Russia's 'Silicon Valley' - Skolkovo, or i-GOROD as many of the Russian VCs call it - definitely was not happy about it).
This has become known to the rest of the world via a tweet from Arkady Dvorkovich, an Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation:
Moreover, both American iPhone sellers and Russian custom service quickly realized what was happening with the 'iPhone gray markets' in Russia and China and adapted certain policies and regulations as to make it even harder for the Apple's products to enter those countries.
In Russia, for example, custom services at airports ask each single visitor from USA whether he/she is carrying an iPhone/iPad and how many of them. If it's more than a couple - an owner would be charged.
|An Apple store in Tokyo|
Apple stores, on their side, now sell iPhones/iPads that are not tied to any phone services - just as a gadget alone - twice as expensive as the same model/version of a gadget that is tied to a local phone service, so that one would not buy many gadgets and re-sell them twice as expensive in the countries where they're not sold.
Either way, it was all complicated and unpleasant until now.
Rumors say, in the Fall Apple is planning to open a retail store at the Moscow’s historic Hotel Moskva (but isn't it closed for reconstruction?!) and it'd be selling all versions of the gadgets, including the company’s next generation iPhone.
Check out a very cool article from GizmoWatch "What every Apple fanboy want the iPhone 5 to be!".
A Russian newspaper RBC Daily claims the iPhone 5 could go on sale in Russia in November, “almost immediately” after the smartphone launches in the U.S. The publication claims Russian "carriers are particularly keen on adding the device to their lineups as quickly after its official launch as possible to avoid losing revenue to the country’s gray market".