The India launch of the iPhone X coinciding with its global release hints at Apple's increasing focus on the country

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were both available five days after the initial rollout, while last year's iPhone 7 saw a gap of more than 20 days.

The iPhone X is going to be available in India for pre-booking from today, the same date as 56 other countries. For Apple fans, this is great news as usually, users have to endure agony as consumers from other markets get their hands on one of the most anticipated flagships of the year. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were both available five days after the initial rollout, while last year's iPhone 7 saw a gap of more than 20 days between the release of the phone and its availability in India. This is one of the widest single roll outs for an iPhone, and the first time since the 20 September, 2013 release of the iPhone 5s that an Apple smartphone is available in India at the same time as the first round of releases.

Apple iPhone X. Image: Apple

Apple iPhone X. Image: Apple

For a long time, Apple fans have been complaining that India was not a priority market for the company. This seems to be changing, particularly after the aggressive roll out of 4G services across the country, providing the connectivity necessary to support the content rich ecosystem that Apple devices offer. 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.

Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddie Cue visited India earlier this month, and announced plans to set up labs in partnership with AR Rahman-founded KMMC, to teach students how to use Apple technologies to create music. During the visit, Cue indicated in media interactions that the promotion of services in India was a priority for Apple and that the company was even considering the introduction of India-oriented services in the country first. Cue also said that the purpose of the visit was to change the perception that India was an afterthought for Apple. Cue indicated that Apple was in the process of rolling out Apple Pay in India.

In the presentations of the financial results for the two previous quarters of the company, the question of Apple's plans for India was brought up by analysts. In the Q2 2017 earnings call, Tim Cook was positive about the prospects of Apple in India, saying "We set a new March quarter record for India, where revenue grew by strong double digits. We continue to strengthen our local presence across the entire ecosystem, and we're very optimistic about our future in this remarkable country with its very large, young, and tech-savvy population, fast-growing economy, and improving 4G network infrastructure."

As a response to a question on how many iPhones Apple plans to sell in India over the course of the year, Cook said, "We have a ton of energy going into the country on a number of fronts, and Apple is the third-largest smartphone market in the world today behind China and the United States. And so we believe, particularly now that the 4G infrastructure is going in the country and is continuing to be expanded, that there is a huge opportunity for Apple there. And so that and the demographics of the country is why we're putting so much energy there."

In the Q3 2017 earnings call, Tim Cook indicated that he was very bullish about India, and saw India in the same place as China was a few years ago, meaning that there is a lot of potential for growth. "We are investing in India. As you mentioned in your second point, we've already launched an app accelerator center. That's on top of working with the channel and looking at expanding our go-to-market in general. And we began to produce the iPhone SE there during the quarter, and we're really happy with how that's going. And so we're bringing all of our energies to bear there. I see a lot of similarities to where China was several years ago. And so I'm very, very bullish and very, very optimistic about India," Cook said.

A timeline of iPhone availability in India vs the initial release.

A timeline of iPhone availability in India vs the initial release. Image: Aditya Madanapalle/Tech2

Apple has sought concessions from the Indian government for setting up manufacturing units in India, and the government is considering these proposals. In May this year, Apple started selling a small number of iPhone SE smartphones that were made in India, as a trial run. However, considering the steep prices of the iPhone X, Apple faces stiff competition in India, which is a price-sensitive market, from the makers of other premium flagship smartphones, such as Samsung.

The iPhone X has an edge-to-edge 5.8-inch 'Super Retina Display' OLED panel with a 2436x1125 pixel resolution and 458 PPI pixel density. Everything on the device defers to the screen, and Apple calls it the realisation of the original vision for the iPhone that Steve Jobs had. Powering the device is a 64-bit hex-core A11 Bionic chip with two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. There is a dual camera setup on the back, a wide angle and a telephoto lense, both with optical image stabilization, and 12 MP sensors. The quad LED dual tone flash unit is housed between the two lenses. The front facing "TrueDepth" camera has a resolution of 7 MP. The iPhone X has a water and dust resistance rating of IP67.

The iPhone X is available in Space Grey and Silver. The 64 GB variant is priced at Rs 89,000 while the 256 GB variant is priced at Rs 1,02,000. Those interested in getting their hands on the device can pre-book the iPhone X on the Apple web site as well as on Amazon and Flipkart.




also see

science