Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddie Cue is on a professional tour in India and is working on Apple's entertainment and services push in the country. Cue announced plans to set up Mac Labs where students of music could learn to use Apple equipment at AR Rahman-founded KM Music Conservatories (KMMC).
"Apple Music and the KM Music Conservatory share a deep love in discovering, sharing and nurturing musical talent and we're proud to be supporting such an institution that is investing in the future arts and music community," Cue said.
In an interview with Mint, Cue indicated that promotion of services in India was a priority for Apple, and that Apple had plans for India specific services that would be rolled out in the country first. There are also plans to increase the number of languages supported. Cue also wants to make Apple Maps stand out, by creating a product that is the best in its class. In terms of content, Cue said that getting more Indian content onto the ecosystem, including music and movies would allow a worldwide audience to consume Indian content, not just those in the country.
Cue told the Economic Times that one of the reasons for his visit was to change the perception that the Indian market is an afterthought for Apple. Cue said that there was a lot of opportunity for Apple to grow in India, especially considering the culture of India that is infused with music, film and entertainment. Cue said that what makes Apple unique is that apart from the hardware and the software, Apple views its technology as more than products, venturing into the realm of art, and recognising the emotional connections users forge with their devices.
A common topic of discussion in the interviews was the impending rollout of Apple Pay in India. Cue said that in China and the US, they have partnered with companies present in the payment space to provide Apple Pay, and that Apple did not care about the exact payment mechanism. In the US, this was Mastercard and Visa, while in China, it was Alipay and WeChat. While Cue mentioned that Apple Pay would be coming to India, he wasn't committing to any timelines. The priority for Apple is to introduce an easy to use service that is well integrated and safe.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, while talking to analysts during an investor call has indicated that he is very bullish about India, and sees India in the same place as China was several years ago. Apple hopes to provide jobs for 7,50,000 iOS developers in India, as well as scale up manufacturing and production.
Apple's plans for India include setting up retail outlets, including ones that will focus on pre-owned devices, investing locally, and developing India centric features in iOS.