Every year, one of the big, recurring complaints that we hear about the Apple iPhone (besides the price) was of the late availability of devices in India. Apple has long been launching its new iPhones in India several weeks after it becomes available in the US. Not only did this lead to the phone selling at absurd high prices in the black market but also added a notion that India was not a priority market for Apple.
Things took a turn last year. For the first time, the new iPhones (iPhone XS/XS Max) arrived in India within a week of its launch in the US while the iPhone XR arrived at the same time as the rest of the world.
What changed Apple’s view of India?
A big reason for the change in Apple’s outlook towards India was the booming sales of iPhone in 2017 — the company sold 3.2 million units. This clearly made Apple take notice of the growing India market.
Now in 2019, Apple has just announced three new iPhones (iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max), a new Apple Watch (Series 5) and a new iPad at its yearly iPhone event in September. Just like last year, these devices will be available in India a week after they are available in the US, on September 27, 2019. That Apple is working towards getting the majority of its new device portfolio in India indicates that the company has started treating India as an important market.
What further cemented Apple’s focus towards India is the announcement of the new services from Apple at the iPhone 11 event. Apple had showcased two new services in March 2019 — Apple Arcade (video game subscription service) and Apple TV+ (OTT video streaming service).
At the iPhone 11 event, Apple announced details about the pricing and availability of these services. Not only is India amongst the first wave of countries to get these services from November 1, but the services are also priced the lowest in India.
What is Apple’s pricing for India?
It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Apple has priced each service at just Rs 99 a month in India. In other countries, the services cost $4.99 each which is roughly Rs 360 a month.
The aggressive pricing in India shows how much importance Apple is giving to India. It’s a clear indication that the company not only is treating India with a priority but also did thorough research in understanding the Indian market before deciding the price of these services. Majority of the India media and consumers appreciated this pricing on social media.
Furthermore, Apple has also reduced the price of its new and existing iPhone in India. The iPhone XR now starts at Rs 49,900 (original launch priced at Rs 76,900). The iPhone 11, which is a successor of the XR, has been launched at a starting price of Rs 64,900. Remember you get the latest hardware, tech, and features at a lower price than last year. There are already rumours of some cashback offers in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10000 on the new iPhone, which further sweetens the pricing for Indian consumers.
iPhone in India has always enjoyed a unique flaunt value. While the Android market grows exponentially with a new brand launching every few months in India, Apple needed to take steps to gain back its market share. In my opinion, the decision to not only make the devices available in India faster but also price the subscription services competitively and launch the cheaper iPhone at a lower price than last year will definitely help the brand in gaining market share in the coming months.
Karan Bajaj is a senior tech journalist based in New Delhi.