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Rediff.com  » Business » iPhone 8 comes to India via Jio but will India bite the Apple?

iPhone 8 comes to India via Jio but will India bite the Apple?

September 30, 2017 08:53 IST

Speaking via an audio-visual presentation at the Reliance Jio-Apple event in Navi Mumbai, Cook said, "At Apple, we are incredibly excited about this new generation of iPhones. We’ve added new keyboards for India, so we can now support 11 local languages. The iPhone also now takes dictation in Hindi and we are excited about building new relationships in India."

Image: Industrialist Mukesh Ambani's son Akash Ambani during an event for the unveiling of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+, in Mumbai on September 29, 2017. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus debuted in India on Friday. While the excitement was predictable on day one of the launch, with fans queuing up outside stores, many have their hearts set on the tenth anniversary edition.

The iPhone X, pronounced iPhone ten, would be released in November simultaneously with other international markets -- the first time the Cupertino-based company would do something like this. Till the iPhone X launch, though, the fastest roll-out for an Apple product in India would be those of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

 

The iPhone 8, priced at Rs 64,000 for a 64GB variant and Rs 77,000 for a 256 GB one, comes to India within a week of its global launch. The iPhone 8 Plus is priced at Rs 73,000 for the 64GB variant and Rs 86,000 for the 256GB one.

There are other firsts, too. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook directly addressed an Indian audience during the launch of the iPhone on Friday.

Speaking via an audio-visual presentation at the Reliance Jio-Apple event in Navi Mumbai, Cook said, "At Apple, we are incredibly excited about this new generation of iPhones. We’ve added new keyboards for India, so we can now support 11 local languages. The iPhone also now takes dictation in Hindi and we are excited about building new relationships in India."

Jio's association with Apple would see the new iPhones being distributed at 2,000 Reliance Digital outlets in 900 cities on special buyback offers (70 per cent after a year) and tariff plans (Rs 799 with 90GB of data). But dealers and distributors that Business Standard spoke to said pre-bookings for the phones were average.

Ankur Singh, an Apple dealer in Delhi, said that he managed to get pre-bookings to the tune of 800 to 900 for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

"I won't say the response has been stupendous, like it was for earlier iPhones, but the number in terms of pre-bookings has been decent. It is true that the curiosity level for the iPhone X is higher than the iPhone 8. But still the latter should do reasonably well," Singh said.

Apart from Reliance Digital, the iPhone 8 would be available at 3,000 Redington stores across the country as well as at retail outlets such as Croma, Hotspot, The Mobile Store and Vijay Sales, among others. The new iPhones are also available online on platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and Infibeam

Apple also added a new distributor in India to its existing panel of four this year, pointing to the importance it has accorded to the market. Apple's five distributors in India include Redington, Brightstar, Ingram Micro, Rashi Peripherals and HCL Info. The number likely to rise in the coming years as preference for the brand grows.

“We promise a 70 per cent buyback for iPhone 8, 8+ and 10, after one year,” Jio’s director, and Mukesh Ambani’s son, Akash Ambani, said at the launch. A PTI report said, this offer could be availed by customers opting for a plan of Rs 799 per month or above.

“This offer not only makes the device much more affordable but also enables customers to upgrade to newer models after utilising the buyback schemes,” a company statement added.

In a video message, Mukesh Ambani said Jio’s partnership with Apple will deliver “best value” and a better customer experience.

Nikhat Hetavkar and Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai
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