Apple still won’t give India what it really wants or something

“Apple’s newest iPhones have just cost too much to be a big hit in India, and the company hopes reviving a discontinued model can expand its minuscule market share in Asia’s third-largest economy,” Ananya Bhattacharya writes for Quartz. “Local brands like Micromax and Lava sell dirt-cheap handsets, and the Cupertino, California, giant faces additional competition from Chinese players like Oppo, Vivo, and Gionee, who’ve made a mark in the mid-price rangeWhen Apple tried to reduce retail prices by selling cheaper, refurbished iPhones, the Indian government shelved those efforts, saying it would add to the country’s plethora of e-waste. Apple’s market share has continued to slip, and is now down to a dismal 2%.”

“Apple has finally decided to slash prices in India. It has resurrected a 32GB version of its iPhone 6 — ditched when the iPhone 7 launched at the end of 2016 — with a new retail price of Rs28,999 ($435), CNET reported. When the model was first launched in 2014, the 16GB variant cost Rs53,500 ($802),” Bhattacharya writes. “That’s a big cut. But will it be enough lure more buyers in a country where the average smartphone costs $158?”

Bhattacharya writes, “‘[Apple] needs to develop a new set of (cheaper) products that are geared towards Indian users and have these in multiple languages,’ says [Carnegie Mellon University fellow Vivek] Wadhwa. ‘I give Apple zero chances of success — unless it wakes up and figures out the Indian market.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No, you’re not going to get an iPhone for $158. Not a new one, at least.

Apple is an aspirational brand that sells aspirational products at aspirational prices or, in other words, Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers.

Apple doesn’t want the entire market. Apple wants the profitable part (top) of the market. The wheat. The iPhone knockoff outfits can have the chaff.

That said, India should definitely allow Apple to sell Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products:

The “Make in India” program is supposed to focus on creating skilled jobs and minimizing environmental impact. Blocking Apple from selling Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones and forcing the company to set up factories full of entry-level assembly jobs in order to open brand new retail stores accomplishes neither objective.

Indians can’t have nice, clean stores or real iPhones are great prices (Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones are better than new fragmandroid phones) because your government is “protecting” you against such things in favor of importing pollution and crap, menial, unskilled, low-paying jobs. So, don your face masks like the Chinese to ward off the smog (not that iPhone assembly is particularly polluting, but the requirement forcing 30% of manufacturing into the country will lead to pollution from other industries) and have fun with your insecure, never-to-be-updated fake iPhones!

Or, some portion of the 1.3 billion Indian citizens could demand that the handful of government dullards blocking Apple reconsider their trade ideas. — MacDailyNews, May 26, 2016

India should approve Apple’s plan to sell Apple Certified refurbished iPhones in India. Not only would they be affordable to more consumers in India, Apple’s refurb’ed iPhones are easily better than competitors’ new phones! Why keep the Indian people shackled to inferior iPhone knockoffs when they could have the real thing?MacDailyNews, May 25, 2016

Apple again asks Indian government to allow sale of certified refurbished iPhones in India – February 6, 2017
Indian IT minister says Apple plans to make iPhones in Bengaluru – February 3, 2017
Apple nears deal to manufacture products in India – January 25, 2017
Apple is ready to make iPhones in India, for a price – January 20, 2017
India to consider Apple request for tax breaks and policy exemptions with ‘open mind’ – January 18, 2017
Apple is horse-trading mightily with India – January 4, 2017
India poised to reject manufacturing concessions for Apple – January 3, 2017
Apple doesn’t want India’s government to muddle iPhone’s look – December 29, 2016
Apple is discussing manufacturing in India, government officials say – December 20, 2016
Apple iPhone grabs first place in India with 66% of premium smartphone sales – November 29, 2016
Apple seeks government incentives to set up manufacturing unit in India – November 7, 2016
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch in India: Apple’s latest flagship gets record-breaking response – October 8, 2016
Reports of Apple’s death in India are greatly exaggerated – August 5, 2016
India clears path for first Apple Retail Store – July 21, 2016
Indian government expected allow Apple Retail Stores without any sourcing requirement for 2-3 years – June 6, 2016
Indian government discussing waiver to permit Apple Retail Stores – May 30, 2016
Blow for Apple and Indian consumers as Indian government pushes protectionism – May 25, 2016
Blow for Apple and Indian consumers as Indian government pushes protectionism – May 25, 2016
Apple hits setback in push to open retail stores in India – May 24, 2016
Apple’s U-turn in India: From arrogance to servility – May 23, 2016
Apple finds potential new factory hub – in India – May 23, 2016
Apple’s Tim Cook samples Bollywood, cricket, in bid to woo India – May 21, 2016
India shows Apple CEO Cook the love it’s yet to give the pricey iPhone – May 20, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: ‘We are in India for the next thousand years’ – May 20, 2016
Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook at his first cricket game in India – May 19, 2016
Apple opens Maps development office in Hyderabad, India – May 19, 2016
Apple CEO Cook debuts in India – May 18, 2016
Apple to open first-of-its-kind iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in India – May 18, 2016
Tim Cook visits India: Apple to expand its Indian software development center, build local start-up accelerator program – May 17, 2016
Apple Retail Stores to open in India by end of next year – May 16, 2016
iPhone sales surge 56% in India as Apple eats into Samsung’s high-end share – May 8, 2016
Apple deprivileged as India bows to Washington D.C. consensus on mobile phone import tariffs – May 7, 2016
India rejects Apple’s plan to import and sell refurbished iPhones – May 3, 2016


  1. Well, I see MDN is chiming in with their aspirational crap again, proving the the guys who write their “editorials” know nothing about the world. India is one of the poorest countries in the entire world, and possibly, population wise right now, or shortly, the biggest. For much of the population that can afford any phone, a $250 model is aspirational. A $400 model is sky high, and anything more is for a small wealthy class.

    Apple can build a $250 Phone if they want to. The fact is, they should, even if they limit it to developing countries. In reality, the main reason why Apple’s worldwide marketshare is 14.5% is because while wealthier people in wealthier countries can afford Apple’s products, no one else can. Apple needs to understand that people in these places may want to buy their products, but there’s no way for them to be able to afford to. To say that they’re aspirational is disgustingly elitist. They’re aspirational here, but there, they’re simply out of reach for most everyone. A 2% marketshare should tell us that.

    1. Apples problem is these ridiculous margins “they”must maintain on a product which is now mainstream. Look at the MacBook Pro, I bought and returned, get a touch and get god awful battery life how is this an acceptable trade off. The keyboard is also only slightly better than MacBook which I sold. Sad what they have done to the product line

    2. It can’t be denied that there are a hell of a lot of poor people in India, but it’s also important to bear in mind that the population of India is huge and there is a very sizeable number of Indians who are comfortably off and immense numbers of people who are striving to do better for themselves.

      One thing that you notice in India is that those who are improving their lot do like to display their success. It’s a country where bling is king. You frequently see people wearing extravagant, gold watches and jewellery, while driving luxury cars and not just in the big cities either. It may be only a small percentage of the population, but a small percentage of 1.3 billion people still represents a massive market.

      Luxury car maker Mercedes are going from strength to strength in India, with sales increasing more than 40% YoY in recent times. Apple is regarded as a high status brand in India and having an iPhone is a demonstration that you have done well. Owning an iPhone is an achievable ambition for a very large number of people in India, even if they are only a small minority of the whole population.

      Apple will never gain a large market share in India, but there is a tremendous opportunity for Apple to have a highly successful business in India.

  2. iPhone is better making 75-90+% of the world’s cell phone profits than have ‘dominant’ market share. (note: that number range varies depending on who is counting and whether they take into account the huge number of android phone makers who lose money)

    Make too cheap an Indian iPhone and Indian businessmen would be packing thousands of them into containers and shipping them overseas and wreaking Apple’s market. (The Chinese were shipping phones back to China when Apple had a slower launched date for China in the past. Apple was forced to put a limit to 2 phones per customer in USA and Chinese businessmen then hired thousands of Chinese tourists to line up and buy two phones each… ).

    Chinese lining up outside a USA store to buy iPhones:

    India’s population is so big that there is a large enough upper middle class and rich component to buy higher valued goods and this is what Apple is aiming for.

    1. “white rich kids with no idea how the real world works.”

      a) the USA isn’t all white.

      b) if they didn’t know how real world works : WHY ARE THEY RICH?


      1. Indians can vote me down all they want but facts are:

        for ‘the people who don’t know how the real world works’ seem to do very well ..

        USA economy (with a fraction of the population) $ 2000+ billion
        India : 100+ billion.

        reason why USA makes so much is that USA companies like Apple know HOW TO PRICE THEIR PRODUCTS.
        Reasons why USA people make so much income (per capita average $50000 vs 5000 India is that THEY ARE SMART ENOUGH PAY FOR BETTER PRODUCTS LIKE IPHONES instead scrubbing in the dirt with bug ridden, malware prone cheap Android etc devices. INVEST in your PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS and MAKE MONEY idiots “.

  3. “the Indian government shelved those efforts [refurbished iPhones], saying it would add to the country’s plethora of e-waste.”

    Not sure how using refurbished phones ADDs to the world’s e-waste, and making loads of new, cheap, throw-a-way phones with poorer set of non-recyclable materials doesn’t!

    1. The fundamental mistake that you are making is looking for sense and consistency in a statement by a politician.

      The important priority for them is to look after the interests of local manufacturers in India and to minimise competing imports, therefore importing refurbished iPhones would do little to help local manufacturers, but they can’t simply say no. They have to place obstacles in the way and dress it up to make it more appealing, which is where the claim to reduce e-waste is added.

      Obviously it makes no sense because the proposal was that iPhones would be refurbished and sold a reduced prices instead of becoming e-waste, but instead, the alternative to these refurbished iPhones will be a locally made cheap phone that will end up as e-waste long before a refurbished iPhone would.

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