Everything you need to know about Apple’s love-hate relationship with India

Ramarko Sengupta May 17, 2016 2 min

As Apple, maker of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more, readies to set up its own iconic retail stores in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai within the the next 18 months, here’s a look back at the California-based firm’s journey in India.

    • Apple’s connection with India started early — even before it was founded — when its founding father, the late Steve Jobs, came to the country in the ‘70s seeking enlightenment (he went back disappointed).
    • That wasn’t the first or the last time India would disappoint Jobs. In 2006, Jobs shut down Apple’s only India office in Bengaluru, two months after it had opened, citing poor service quality.
    • Apple did not release the first iPhone in India. They released the iPhone 3G in India in August 2008 (which was the second iPhone).
    • “Times have changed since Apple said India is not a significant market for them to now, when they are clearly becoming aggressive,” said Faisal Kawoosa, general manager for Research & Consulting at Cybermedia Research.
    • However, the love-hate relationship continues, as authorities have put a spanner into Apple’s plans of launching refurbished or used phones certified by the company. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, is likely to make a pitch for selling refurbished phones in India again.
    • However, industry experts say that competitors are going to do everything in their power to stop Apple’s plans from materialising.
    • During the financial year ended March 2015, Apple, for the first time, crossed $1 billion in revenue in India, a 40% increase from the previous year.
    • Apple, which is a spot behind Samsung in terms of marketshare in the premium smartphone segment (₹ 30,000 upwards), is likely to gain significantly, “as mobile phones have now almost reached everybody, so there’s nothing much left in the first time buyer market in terms of numbers, it’s all about upgrading now, and that’s where the game is,” Kawoosa said.
    • With the Chinese market close to saturation, experts believe India is a country that Apple just can’t afford to ignore anymore. It is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world and Apple is likely to gain from the 51% growth expected in 2016, Cybermedia said.
    • The company recently elevated country sales director Sanjay Kaul to fill the top spot at Apple India, which was lying vacant for a few months since Maneesh Dhir’s exit.


Image credit: Nikhil Raj