Apple is slowly closing the gap for its iPhone launch date with India and this year, three new iPhones will reach India on September 27 -- just a week after the global availability on September 20.
There is no denying the fact that in a price-sensitive market like India, cost is the biggest differentiator even in the premium segment, which is why Apple sold more iPhone XR in the price bracket of Rs 50,000-Rs 60,000 than the super-premium XS and XS Max models.
Riding on heavy promotional offers on iPhone XR which was originally launched for Rs 76,900 last year, Apple regained top position in the premium smartphone segment in India in the second quarter (Q2) this year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
In the premium ($500 or Rs 35,000 and above) segment, Apple bettered Samsung for the leadership position with an overall share of 41.2 per cent in 2Q19.
According to Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, with the price drop, iPhone XR alone contributed more than 55 per cent of total Apple shipments in the second quarter.
With the Rs 64,900 iPhone 11 (64GB variant) which is likely to be aided by heavy promotional activities in the pre-Diwali season - along with a cheaper Rs 49,900 iPhone XR after further price drop -- Apple is set to create further dent in the premium segment where Samsung, Google, Huawei and OnePlus are the other major players.
According to Navkendar Singh, Research Director, IDC India, although it is cheaper than the launch price of iPhone XR, the price of iPhone 11 at Rs 64,900 still remains high for a market like India.
"It will drive marketing messaging but volumes will come from XR as in last quarter," Singh told IANS.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 11 introduces a powerful dual-camera system, and is powered by the A13 Bionic chip to perform the most demanding tasks, while getting through an entire day on a single charge.
Featuring the toughest glass ever in a smartphone, the device is rated IP68 for water resistance (up to two metres for up to 30 minutes) and is protected against accidental spills from common liquids such as coffee and soda.
On the other hand, with all-screen glass and an aluminium design featuring 6.1-inch display which is touted as "the most advanced LCD in a smartphone," the iPhone XR houses A12 Bionic chip with next-generation "Neural Engine", which unlocks new experiences for immersive augmented reality (AR), games and photography.
The iPhone XR is also water resistant, with a rating of IP67. The glass back of iPhone XR allows faster wireless charging and improved off-axis performance even when your iPhone is off-centre on a wireless charging pad.
According to Thomas Husson, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, smart pricing for the new and old iPhone ranges will enable Apple to maintain its premium brand and continue to grow its installed base of devices.
"While detractors may argue this is mostly incremental innovation, let's not forget that Apple delivers differentiated experiences through its integrated ecosystem and that it enables the brand to enter new territories by successfully pivoting to the service business," Husson told IANS.
Apple registered double-digit growth in India in the second quarter this year.
"To continue this momentum, Apple would require more play in terms of product placement in $700 and above segment, rather than $1,000 and above segment, accompanied by heavy promotional activities and attractive offers during the upcoming festive quarters," added Joshi.
(Nishant Arora can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)