UPDATE: We were sent some images of the Abu Dhabi store in its current boarded-up state, confirming the grand opening date. Thanks, @7Alsabe:
Apple is set to open its first two retail stores in United Arab Emirates in the next couple of weeks. Apple will host a grand opening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on October 29 for the new Apple Stores, one of which is rumored to be the biggest Apple Store in the world. The company updated its store locations page recently to include the two stores in UAE, announcing the openings of both stores…
The Dubai store is in Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha and will open at 4pm on October 29, while the Abu Dhabi store is in Yas Mall, Yas Island and will open at 7pm on the same day. The launch ties in perfectly with the rumors we’ve heard up until now. Tim Cook himself was reported to have visited the two UAE nations in February 2014, with a plan to launch these two stores.
Launching the stores in UAE hasn’t been without controversy. It’s clearly a market Apple wants to be in, but the popular tech company had to overcome foreign ownership issues in order to have its stores there. The store in Dubai was expected launch in August initially, and may have been delayed — along with the Abu Dhabi store — by legal matters. Of course, that’s just speculation based on what we know about the launch.
If rumors of the Dubai store being 50,000 square feet are accurate, it’ll be 25% larger than the three-level Covent Garden store in London, which was the world’s largest Apple store when it launched at 40,000 square feet. The Dubai store will join several luxury brand stores in what is one of the wealthiest parts of the world, and will surely be a hit among the rich who want to be seen with the latest and greatest tech products.