Students of Birla High School pore over the iPad during a demonstration on Tuesday. (Pabitra Das)
City tech buffs can barely wait to get their hands on the iPad, much to the delight of grey market operators who are charging a premium for the hottest selling gadget in the globe.
The day after the millionth iPad flew off the rack in record time in the US, the 16GB version of the tech tool was being sold in Calcutta for Rs 40,000, the 32GB one for Rs 50,000 and the 64GB variant for Rs 55,000.
Imported legally by paying customs duties, a 16GB iPad would cost Rs 31,000, a 32GB one Rs 36,000 and a 64GB one Rs 41,000, said a city retailer on condition of anonymity.
But most iPads making it to the city are being brought by “trippers”. “Those selling the gadgets are getting them shipped to Singapore and then carrying the gadgets to Calcutta without paying taxes,” added the retailer.
And since there is no MRP, the price quoted by the seller to a customer “often depends on his desperation to flaunt the iPad”.
Keeping the business booming are early adopters, some still in school. “I wanted to buy a laptop but decided to go for an iPad instead. I had to buy mine from the grey market because there is no other option in Calcutta. By the time it’s launched officially, it will become too common,” said 17-year-old Harsh Agarwal of Heritage School.
That Steve Job’s touch toy has captured the imagination of the young was in evidence at Birla High School on Tuesday, when boys in the computer club got their hands on the iPad during a demonstration organised by AC market gadgets’ shop Bang Bang.
“The fun and entertainment applications were what bowled the boys over,” said Babli, the owner of the shop.
Grown-ups are putting iPads to other uses.
“I have a client who has turned his iPad into an universal remote that he uses even to control his AC. I will use my iPad for research and development and presentations,” said Tejas Doshi, a 30-year-old lighting consultant who has requested a friend to get him a gadget from the US.
Such is the demand that standalone stores have also started stocking the iPad. “We sold 40 iPads in April. The demand is increasing so the prices are not going to fall,” said Vikram of The Masterjee Shop, an electronics shop on Chakraberia Road.