With Russia from love. Russian tourist Alex Shumilov camped outside New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store to be the first to buy an iPad 2. Image credit: PCMag.com

Fierce competitors Apple and Samsung are once again in each other’s cross-hair as iPhone 4 and Galaxy S II smartphones hit the 1.2 billion people market of India this coming Friday, May 27. According to Business Line, Indian carrier Aircel will sell the 16GB iPhone 4 for 34,500 Indian rupees, or about $760 American dollars (40,900 rupees for the 32GB model, or about $900).

Ouch! Those are exorbitant prices to charge in the country with 41.6 percent of the total population living below the international poverty line of $ 1.25 a day. Aircel in its defense will introduce a new pricing model where buyers “will have the opportunity to recover hundred per cent of their upfront iPhone cost in monthly credits on their service plan over 24 months”.

Meanwhile, iPad 2 will also land on store shelves in Russia and Ukraine on Friday. Retailers in Russia, which has population of 142 million, are tipping “unprecedented demand” for the sough-after tablet. Several major electronics retailers should sell the gizmo, including MediaMarkt, Beliy Veter Cifrovoi, M.Video, ION, Technosila, Eldorado, z-Store and Re:Store which has Nokia, Lego and Apple products in its offering.

“Following unprecedented demand from customers in Germany, Denmark and Norway, where the first batch of iPad 2 was sold inside three days, we are expecting all iPad 2’s to be sold even faster in Russia”, said Re:Store’s PR director Ludmila Semushina. The device won’t come cheap, though…

UPDATE : iPad 2 arrives in Brazil on Friday, too, per our tipster. That’s another 200 million people market to you. Another tipster pinged us, telling: “iPad 2 also hits Chilean market, Ripley.cl is already selling the idevice, other stores will do so on Friday at 00:00” Number 3 says Ipad 2 arrives in Argentina this friday to Garbarino and Maxim stores, and don’t forget Taiwan.


Re:Store will sell you an entry-level 16GB WiFi iPad 2 in exchange for 18.990 roubles, which amounts to about $670. The top-of-the-line 64GB 3G model will carry a hefty price tag of 30.990 roubles, or approximately a thousand dollars. iPad 2 will be available in twenty Eldorado stores in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaluga, Tver, Ekaternburg, Murmansk, Orenburg and Ivanovo. The retailer is spoiling would-be buyers with online pre-orders and payment-on-delivery buying options. Interestingly, iPad 2 was due for a June debut in Russia but has been rushed forward after the Svyaznoi chain “ignored official distribution channels and smuggled the product on to the shelves ahead of schedule”, claims The Moscow News. Analyst Eldar Murtazin expects retailer Yevroset to offer iPad 2 in Russia as well.

The talked-about tablet is also landing in Ukraine this Friday, which our tipster says is “a big win” because neither iPad nor iPhone have been officially available in the country. The UkrainianiPhone blog corroborates the May 27 launch. Sales are said to be handled by third-party retailers iStore, Moyo, Comfy and Foxtrot at 1pm local time and will include “official warranty and support.” The 16GB WiFi iPad 2 should retail for approximately $670 while the flagship 64GB 3G model will cost about $1,100, a 40 percent premium over the US prices. No word on iPad 2 availability through Apple’s official dealers in Ukraine, the site reported.

Apple lacks own retail presence in Russia or Ukraine and typically handles sales through Apple Premium Resellers and major retail chains. When the original model launched last year, Russia was one of the top gray markets. Smugglers sold iPad 2s for twice the US prices to celebrities, politicians and rich people who didn’t spare any expense for bragging rights to the trendy gadget.

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