Info-tech

India still does not feature on Apple launch map

Varun Agarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018

As many as 60 other countries will get the new devices before India   -  REUTERS

“With Tim Cook coming to India, Apple had raised hopes on the company’s focus on the Indian market. Yet it was disappointing to see that India was not on the list of top 30 markets that will initially get the iPhone 7.”

India may be for one of the fastest growing markets for Apple but when it comes to launches it does not figure on the iPhone maker’s map. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available to customers in India beginning only from October 7 onwards.

As many as 60 other countries will get the new devices ahead of India. This includes countries such as Andorra, Greenland, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kosovo and Liechtenstein.

While a one-month delay may not mean much in terms of sales for Apple, analysts say that the company could used this launch to show that India matters.

“With Tim Cook coming to India, Apple had raised hopes on the company’s focus on the Indian market. Yet it was disappointing to see that India was not on the list of top 30 markets that will initially get the iPhone 7. They have done rather poorly for the Indian market especially after talking so much about India. This was their chance to turn the ship around and make India feel important,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst, Greyhound Research.

Nearly 10 years after Apple launched the iPhone, India is beginning to figure as a key market for the iconic brand. A stronger distribution network in tier-2 and -3 cities, cheaper financing schemes, and a focus on the enterprise segment have ensured that India has become one of the few markets where the American brand is seeing high growth of 50-60 per cent.

But in the overall scheme of things India’s contribution to Apple business is still very small.

“Apple was going to send in VoLTE enabled phones for RJio as promised by Tim Cook and that hasn’t happened even when Jio is already live. Perhaps the next launch of iPhone will have India on the radar and come equipped with VoLTE,” said Faisal Kawoosa of CyberMedia Research.

Market watchers said the new devices could add to that growth rate. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at ₹60,000

“The good thing is iPhone 7 is seen as incremental upgrade over 6 in India. In India, Apple is already selling two-year-old devices. Between 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus and 7 and 7 Plus, Apple has 6 devices in different price ranges with minor differences. That makes their portfolio quite rich in India. By leveraging on pent up aspirational demand, I expect the sales to go up here,” said Jayanth Kolla, Founder & Partner at Convergence Catalyst.

Lack of innovation

But analysts are disappointed with the lack of innovation coming from the Apple stable. In the last few years, for the entire mobile industry, innovation has only been incremental.

Innovation is plateauing and Apple is also succumbing to that. “Apple to some extent is struggling to hang on as a product innovation leader. The competition is catching up and Apple is not able to do anything drastically different,” said Kolla.

Kawoosa, however, said that the smartphone’s capability as a product has reached a level where one cannot add too many breakthroughs anymore.

“Apple 4 was phenomenal, 5 was phenomenal, 6 had a couple of features that excited people. But the time has come where we’ll see incremental changes instead of breakthroughs,” said Kawoosa.

Published on September 08, 2016

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