Ban on FaceTime may soon be lifted in United Arab Emirates

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Facetime
FaceTime has been banned in the UAE for years.
Photo: Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr CC

Apple may have been voted consumers’ favorite brand in the United Arab Emirates, but one of the iPhone’s most popular features — FaceTime — still isn’t allowed in the country.

That could soon change, however, because Apple is in talks with the UAE federal government to lift the ban on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as far as it affects FaceTime.

Apple’s first Dubai store is a desert oasis of tech

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Apple's 50,000-square-foot retail space will be the first in U.A.E.
Photo: Gulf Business

In advance of the opening of Apple’s massive 50,000-square-foot retail space at the Mall of the Emirates this Thursday, Gulf Business has gotten a sneak preview of the company’s debut United Arab Emirates store — showing a leafy open-plan oasis carrying the new Jony Ive-designed Apple Store interior.

Check out more pictures below.

Apple voted top brand in the United Arab Emirates

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A location fit for an Apple Store? We think so.
The site of Apple's upcoming Dubai Apple Store.
Photo: Longhornsandcamels

The United Arab Emirates hasn’t even gotten its first Apple Store yet, but that hasn’t stopped Apple from ranking no. 1 in a list of the “Top 10 Most Intimate Brands in the UAE.”

In doing so, it didn’t just beat tech rival brands like Samsung and Google, but also auto-makers Lexus and Mercedes, chain coffee shop Starbucks, and a variety of others.

Get A New Perspective On An Arabic City – Play ‘Dubai Delivery’ On Your iPhone

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Dubai Delivery screenshot
Dubai Delivery screenshot

When Peter Saghegyi lost his position at gaming developer Rockstar Vienna, the Hungarian native decided it was time for a change. He headed to London, and then ended up in Dubai, one of the more influential United Arab Emirates. He spent the boom years (2006-2008) trying to sell real estate visualizations to companies in the city, and later joined a branding agency to build an interactive content team from friends he had worked with at Rockstar. Unfortunately, that’s when the bust happened, and opportunities in Dubai became scarce.

As they had nothing to lose, the group decided to create a game about the city they now lived in.

iPhone 4 hits UAE and Qatar, but without FaceTime installed

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saudi-iphone

China wasn’t the only country to get the iPhone 4 this weekend. Denizens of both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also got their hands on Cupertino’s latest handset, packed with all the features separating it from its predecessor the 3GS save one: FaceTime.

According to The National, iPhone 4s sold through UAE carriers Etisalat and du as well as those sold by Vodafone in Qatar are missing the FaceTime software, although the forward-facing camera is obviously still there. According to the carriers, they’ve had no hand in stripping the video chat feature out, and they are petitioning Apple to reinstate Facetime soon.