Suyash Chowdhury's Diwali budget just got trimmed, thanks to the new version of the iPhone this Apple fan has managed to lay his hands on - after standing in queue for hours. "I spent Rs 53,000 on it. This will mean less of other shopping; I can do without new clothes," says the 46-year-old corporate lawyer who now owns a new grey iPhone 5S.
Chowdhury is not alone; he has the company of many Apple fans in India who share his sentiment. TheMobileStore, which claims to have the largest stock of the handsets, claims the iPhone 5S version is already sold out. Its CEO Himanshu Chakravarthy had hoped the stock to last at least two days.
An increasing number of enthusiasts are walking in asking for the gold-coloured version of the iPhone 5S. "iPhone 5C is moving slower. The stock for this will last another three days," he says. He, however, does not disclose details of the stock held or the number of handsets sold. California-based Apple Inc strictly proscribes its retailers to disclose sales numbers.
According to market sources, more than 2,000 handsets were sold on Saturday, in addition to those being sold by telecom operators like Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel. Neither of the telcos disclosed sales figures but it was learnt that the operators had been given only 5,000 handsets as stock. "Of those, 500 have been sold as of now," says a telecom operator selling the handset.
Apple Inc, targeting only the ultra-premium segment of data users, is looking at subscribers who spend over Rs 2,000 a month on mobile bills. This post-paid segment has around 3.5 million users (in a subscriber market of more than 700 million). Apple, as a handset, continues to appeal a select set of users. But a large number of smartphone users prefer the open-source Android platform popularised by manufacturers like South Korea-based Samsung, and local handset makers like Micromax and Karbonn.
"I prefer to buy a high-end Android handset like Samsung S4, rather than any version of the iPhone, as the former has more application download choices, for free," says Ashish Jadhav, a smartphone user.
Apple, which has earlier made public statements on how it does not see India as an important market, is known to be looking at selling 300,000 handsets over the next three months in the country.
EYEING THE APPLE
Prices of iPhone 5 handsets
16 GB Rs 53,000
32 GB Rs 62,500
64 GB Rs 71,500
16 GB Rs 41,900
32 GB Rs 53,500