Apple enthusiasts in India will be able to get the latest iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus from September 29 — a week after they start retailing in the US — while the top-end iPhone X will debut here on November 3. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available for Rs 64,000 onwards whereas the iPhone X starts at Rs 89,000. Consumers have more reason to cheer as the Cupertino- based company has also slashed prices of previous generation handsets — iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus — by as much as Rs 8,300. The latest instalment from Apple will compete head-on with the ‘Note 8’ of Samsung that will be available in India from September 21 for Rs 67,900. The iPhone X, which marks the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the first iPhone, will make its way into India from November 3 — the same day as the US.
Packed with features like facial recognition and super retina display, the iPhone X is the “biggest leap forward since the original iPhone”, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. “With iPhone X, Apple has added a new category where it can target loyal users to upgrade to a ‘premium plus’ segment, while users of older generation iPhones – iPhone 5 or 6 – can still upgrade to iPhone 7 or 8 series,” Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak told PTI. He added that in India, he expects initial sales to be high with Apple loyalists upgrading to the new devices, irrespective of pricing or value addition from the previous generation iPhone.
Consumers looking for more affordable options in the Apple ecosystem can opt for iPhone 7 (32GB) that will now be available for Rs 49,000 (cheaper by Rs 7,200) or iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) for Rs 59,000, a reduction of Rs 8,300. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (available in 64GB and 256GB variants) will reach countries like the US on September 22 but will be available at Apple resellers in India from September 29, Apple said in a statement. The Mac and iPad maker has sold over 1.2 billion iPhones till date. Apple, the world’s second largest handset maker, is bullish and optimistic about India, a key growth market where it is bringing all of its “energies” to expand footprint.
During the company’s earnings call last month, CEO Tim Cook had said Apple is investing in India. It has set up an app accelerator centre in India and is working with channel partners and expanding its go-to-market roadmap in the country. It has also started producing the iPhone SE in India during the June quarter. However, Apple has its task cut out in acquiring Android users in premium segment as Samsung’s S8 and Note 8 are likely to give strong competition, according to Pathak. Samsung is betting big on Note 8 to consolidate its position in the Indian premium smartphone market (Rs 30,000 and above), where it claims to have 68 per cent share (GfK data).
As per Counterpoint Research data, Apple had a 2.3 per cent market share (in volume terms), ranking at the 11th spot in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market. Its global rival, Samsung ranked numero uno in India with 24 per cent share. However, in value terms, Apple was at the fifth spot with 10 per cent share of the Indian smartphone market in the June 2017 quarter. Pathak noted that Apple now has its highest ever line of SKUs — 8 models in its official line up excluding the iPhone 6 series which is still active in India. “This means Apple now has more portfolio of low-end iPhones which it can use to acquire new users in emerging markets,” he said.