New Delhi: The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will launch in India on 29 September—a week after they go on sale in the US—while the top-end iPhone X will debut on 3 November. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available for Rs64,000 onwards whereas the iPhone X starts at Rs89,000.
Consumers have more reason to cheer as Apple Inc. has also slashed prices of previous generation handsets—iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus—by as much as Rs8,300.
The latest instalment from Apple will compete head-on with Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that will be available in India from 21 September for ₹ 67,900.
The iPhone X, which marks the ten-year anniversary of the launch of the first iPhone, will make its way into India from 3 November—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 said, adding 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 Rs49,000 (cheaper by Rs7,200) or iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) for Rs59,000, a reduction of Rs8,300. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (available in 64GB and 256GB variants) will start retailing in the US on 22 September but will be available in India from 29 September, Apple said in a statement.
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 also started assembling the iPhone SE in India during the June quarter.
The Cupertino-based firm, however, has its task cut out in acquiring Android users in premium segment as Samsung’s S8 and Galaxy 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 (Rs30,000 and above), where it claims to have 68% share.
As per Counterpoint Research data, Apple had a 2.3% market share (in volume terms), ranking at the 11th spot in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market. Its global rival, Samsung ranked Number 1 in India with 24% share. In value terms, Apple was at the fifth spot with 10% share of the Indian smartphone market in the June 2017 quarter.
Pathak noted that Apple now has its biggest ever iPhone line-up—eight models, 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.