A Steve Jobs masquerader with a Macintosh from the 90s, a young man with the iconic Apple logo shaved onto the back of his head, a child brandishing a hand-drawn portrait of Apple CEO Tim Cook, and the usual coterie of selfie seekers were queuing up at the Apple BKC storefront since 7 am on Tuesday for the launch of the tech giant’s first dedicated retail outlet in India.

While India contributes a diminutive portion to the iPhone maker’s worldwide sales, the Indian fandom for the tech giant is no less enthusiastic. Hundreds of Apple enthusiasts gathered in front of the lavish storefront at the upmarket Jio World Drive Mall to be the first to get the “Apple experience”, and a chance to meet the man of the hour, Apple CEO, Tim Cook.

In the hours leading up to the launch, the air was charged with excitement. For years, Apple’s Indian customers have had to make do with online retailers or third-party stores to get their Apple fix. For a brand as aspirational as Apple, a brick-and-mortar establishment right at the heart of luxury in Mumbai is much-needed to complete the experience. 18-year-old Shrey, who has been avidly following the brand since his childhood, could not wait to experience the Apple store.

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“I have been following the brand since my dad bought an iPhone 5 in 2012. Since then, I have watched all the annual keynotes, I have wanted the true retail experience of Apple for many years,” he said. 25-year-old Jay was hoping to commemorate this moment with a surprise for his sister, a brand new iPhone bought from India’s first Apple store, on the launch day. 

RIght on the dot at 11 am, Tim Cook opened the doors to Apple’s first store in the country, and the crowd erupted in cheers. Cook, who had spent the previous day in Mumbai meeting some of the country’s top industrialists and celebrities, from Mukesh Ambani to Madhuri Dixit, personally welcomed the first customers of the store. From selfies to hugs to a genuine exclamation of appreciation for the gentleman carrying the vintage Macintosh, which he hoped would be autographed by the Apple CEO, Cook warmly greeted the enthusiastic patrons.

This is Cook’s first visit to India after seven years. Cook had visited the country in 2016, when Apple first announced its intent to be bullish about the India market. Riding on the crest of rapidly growing sales numbers in India, Apple is opening retail stores in BKC and subsequently the Saket, Delhi. Cook’s visit therefore, comes at a time when everyone is keenly watching Apple’s India story. Cook’s visit is not likely to be limited to Apple’s retail aspirations in the country, as he is set to meet the Prime Minister on Wednesday. 

Whether Apple will sustain its consistent rise in sales in the country and, more importantly, if the company will set up deeper manufacturing roots in India are themes that experts will watch out for in the coming years.