Handset will be available in three models

Apple’s iPhone 5, launched in India on Friday, has received a great response with some stores closing the first round of bookings within the first hour.

Most vendors in the country began sales at 5.30 p.m. and closed by 6.30 p.m. “We have closed the bookings for the first lot that will be available to customers in next two days. We have done 500 units for this first lot and bookings for the second lot have started with advance booking of Rs 10,000, but the customers would get the handsets post-Diwali only (November 13),” an iWorld store owner in Delhi told Business Line.

Another store owner also confirmed that the bookings have been closed for the first lot and the second lot of iPhone 5 will come by the middle or end of this month.

The iPhone 5 is available for Rs 45,500 (16 GB model), Rs 52,500 (32 GB) and Rs 59,500 (64 GB).

Apart from iWorld, other retail chains such as Reliance iStore and UniverCell have also closed the bookings for the first lot.

“We had started taking pre-orders on October 29 and in two days we put a stop to bookings. Initially we ordered very few pieces. We will order more pieces in the second week of November,” Arjun Sagar, Store Manager, Reliance iStore in Mumbai said.

Stardust for launch

Some of the retail chains had also roped in actors for the launch of the latest iPhone in Chennai. While Airtel roped in Varalakshmi Sarathkumar, Aircel roped in Amala Paul. UniverCell roped in Jeeva.

According to Satish Babu, Founder and Managing Director of UniverCell, about 300 made advance bookings for iPhone 5 by making full payment with the Chennai-based retailer.

“That's the excitement for the new Apple product,” he said, adding that iPhone5 is likely to change the high-end smart phone segment. He also said an Apple official was in his office monitoring everything before the launch.

He said that the excitement is more because for the first time, Apple is not launching its phone only through telecom operators.

Also, this time, retailers can directly procure iPhone 5 from distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro and sell to customers, who can in turn select the operator.

India rising

“There is a clear verdict that iPhone 5 is going to be big success. This time, the handset is being launched much ahead of countries like China, which also showcases the importance of India. The launch in China would be in December,” E. H. Kasturi Rangan, President, Redington India said.

Redington was distributing the handsets in three cities on Friday and in about 40 cities on Saturday.

Not only the big retailers, small ones have also got good bookings.“We got about 35 units and these would be issued to pre-booked users. There were a lot of enquiries for the handset, but with these limited stocks, which are specific to my store, we will have to await the next lot of arrivals,” Karan Umed Mistry, store manager of Reliance iStore (Warden Road), Mumbai said.

Store owners in Mumbai and New Delhi also got about 25 pieces to despatch.

(With inputs from Rajesh Kurup and Priya Sheth in Mumbai)

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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