Indian man travels thousands of miles to Dubai to buy latest iPhone

·2-min read
Dheeraj Palliyil with his iPhone 14 at an Apple shop in Dubai (Supplied by Dheeraj Palliyil)
Dheeraj Palliyil with his iPhone 14 at an Apple shop in Dubai (Supplied by Dheeraj Palliyil)

An Indian man from the southern state of Kerala covered a distance of over a thousand miles to reach Dubai so he could buy the latest Apple phone hours before it went on sale in India.

Dheeraj Palliyali, who describes himself as a “hardcore Steve Jobs fan”, spent Rs 40,000 (£439) on his flight tickets so he could purchase the brand new iPhone 14 from a premium reseller in Dubai’s Mirdif Centre, he tells The Independent.

“I started travelling to Dubai to buy the latest iPhone from 2017 when iPhone 8 was launched,” he says.

Explaining that earlier the latest models were released in Dubai weeks before it went on sale in India, the director of Dare Picture digital consultancy in Kochi city, confesses to undertaking the journey for the subsequent models, including iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

And though the latest model, priced at Rs 129,000 (£1,416), was released the same day in India within the gap of a few hours, it did not prevent the iPhone enthusiast from boarding the flight.

“I am now emotionally connected with the trip. It gives you a special feeling to be inside the showroom, purchasing the phone as the first customer when thousands are still waiting to buy,” he says.

“It has sort of become a ritual now as I buy the iPhone from the same store,” Mr Palliyil says, as he describes it as his “way of commemorating” Jobs, the former chief executive of Apple who died in 2011.

While his family used to earlier reprimand him for “wasting money on luxury goods”, they have now relented.

“They used to tell me that it is not worth spending so much money as the latest model will be released in India within 10-15 days. But now they realise that this is passion and that this my way of honouring Steve Jobs.”

"In fact, they are the ones who alert me about new phone launches and ask me when I’m going to fly to Dubai to buy it. They are all supporting me very well and it’s cool!"