Apple will go big in India in 2020. The evidence is all around hidden in plain sight. Today, famed Apple watcher Ming-Chi-Kuo proclaimed that Apple is working on a smaller iPhone which is based on the iPhone 8 design but it will be powered by the latest A13 processor and will be priced as the replacement of the iPhone SE. Of course, an iPhone at the $500 price point will be the killer gadget that Apple needs to conquer the Indian market, at least the premium segment of it, which is where it truly operates. But it goes beyond the product fit and price for the market. Loads of factors are colluding for it to be Apple’s time to shine in India. Let me explain.
- Apple’s success with the iPhone XR post its price cut is a testament to the fact that it has a huge following in India and it had outpriced itself in the Indian market in 2018. The new pricing for the iPhone 11 and the response for it in India has been more than positive which fuels the fire that the cheaper iPhone will be even more successful. Analysts are also claiming globally Apple will have a record iPhone sales quarter as opposed to the slowdown it faced a couple of quarters ago.
- One of the reasons people bought the iPhone in droves was because it was a compact smartphone. 2018, was the first year, they didn’t have a new compact iPhone model. 2016 had the iPhone SE, while in 2017, they had the iPhone 8. Price wasn’t the thing, it was the size. 2019 again they don’t have a small iPhone. 2020 could change this and that alone would boost sales apart from the fact that loads of people dislike Face ID, so the return of Touch ID would be a welcome change.
- An iPhone SE 2 with an A13 processor would also become Apple’s fastest iPhone considering the HD resolution of the 4.7-inch screen. Apple will be able to all kinds of AR wizardry that the new iPhone 11 models are capable of, but at a lower price offering features that most Android phones even at the higher end can’t. It will also be perhaps the best gaming phone at a price lower than gaming phones like the Asus ROG phone 2 with the Apple brand and without the quirks of the Asus design. It will also propel Apple Arcade which is just Rs 99/month in India.
- In 2020, Apple is rumoured to be opening its first Apple Store in India at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex followed up with a store in New Delhi. Apple’s biggest weakness in India has been the fact that it hasn’t been able to provide its legendary in-store experience. Its afters sales will also become better which has become a pain point. Apart from this, Apple’s online store will also go online in India. It will finally have a direct line to its end customer in India.
- Now that the Indian government has relaxed some of the sourcing laws, Apple is also able to manufacture more parts of the iPhone in India. The power chargers for the new iPhones are made in India for example. Apple has already started to manufacture the iPhone X and the iPhone XR in India. Add into the mix the US-China trade war, this new iPhone SE model will likely be manufactured in India which will allow it scale its partner manufacturers in India and also reduce the cost of the product for the Indian market. It will also help make India a manufacturing hub for the world reducing Apple’s dependency on China.
- With iOS 13, Apple’s services are finally useful in India. Apple has even customised iOS 13 a lot for India with Siri now speaking back in Indian accents and also multilingual support for Indian languages on the keyboard. Apple Maps is finally useful for people staying in metro cities. Apple Music is already very popular in India while Apple TV+ which will launch in India in November but will be free for a year with new Apple products. Apple Arcade is already making waves at Rs 99/month for a family. Apple has also improved mail on iOS and its privacy-first stance makes it a great option for many people. Siri will also default to WhatsApp as the main messaging app with iOS 13.2 which makes more sense for India. For the first time, you can use an iPhone in India on just Apple’s software.
- The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro have proven that Apple’s got back its hardware mojo which included its leadership in cameras, display technology, the fluidity of the experience and basically, the famous Steve Jobs, “it just works” mantra. 2020 isn’t just the year for the new iPhone SE, but also for the highly awaited redesign of the iPhone which will also trot 5G capabilities for foreign markets. In the second half of the year that will take over the premium segment of the market, so potentially 2020 would be the year Apple balkanises the premium segment of the smartphone market in India in tandem with hardware, software, services and infrastructure colluding for it in India.