Apple CEO Tim Cook was in India last week and he had quite a schedule; meetings India’s top business leaders, partying with SRK, watching an IPL cricket match in Kanpur, and of course the final meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While there’s a fair bit of analysis going around on what Tim Cook’s visit means for India, there were some significant announcements. Here’s a quick look at the top Apple announcements and comments from Cook’s visit.
Apple opens iOS App Development Centre in Bengaluru
The first big announcement with Tim Cook’s India visit was the opening of a new iOS App Design and Development Centre in Bengaluru.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” Cook said in a press statement. “With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we are giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.”
The iOS App Design and Development Accelerator is expected to open in early 2017. Apple’s new development centre is an “initiative to support engineering talent and accelerate growth in India’s iOS developer community,” said the company.
Apple’s team will work to instruct and encourage iOS developers on best practices, help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.
At the centre, Apple’s experts will lead briefings and provide one-on-one app reviews for developers. The facility will also provide support and guidance on Swift, which is Apple’s programming language to help build apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
Read more about the Apple iOS App Development Centre here.
Apple Maps office in Hyderabad
Apple also announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad that will focus on development of its Maps product. This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs, according to the company.
“Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a press statement. “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations.”
The opening of a Maps specific office in Hyderabad means that Apple will finally be taking a neglected domain in India more seriously. In the US, Europe and China, Apple Maps includes features like 3D views, Public Transit system, options for shopping, coffee, restaurants, etc.
The new facility, located on the Waverock campus, will provide a world-class, LEED-certified home for the expanding Maps team, says the company.
“We are honoured Apple chose Hyderabad as a home for its Maps development office,” said Telangana Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao in a statement. “This will create thousands of jobs here and is a testament to our proactive approach, quality infrastructure and the excellent talent base we have in the region.”
Read more about the Apple Maps Development office in Hyderabad here.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on why their pre-owned certified iPhones are different
Apple’s plans to sell certified pre-owned iPhones in India was not dumping at all, Apple CEO Tim Cook told IndianExpress.com in an interview, while accepting that there was some misunderstanding about the products.
“We had an idea with the certified pre-owned phones and we are working with the government on that,” he said, talking about how the tech giant was “thinking through its supply chain piece in India”.
“There is some misunderstanding if that is refurbished and it is not that at all. These are things we do in the US, Japan and pretty much every country in the world. And so that would be bring a level of operational responsibility and training into the country, which I think is really important,” he said.
Explaining why their certified pre-owned iPhones were not equivalent to dumping, Cook gave the analogy of the automobile market in many where there is “a certified pre-owned market for Lexus, BMW and many other brands.”
“When you buy a high-end smartphone you can expect the same kind of a situation there. In fact, ours is better than the automobile because we give the same kind of guarantee, as we take the product and sort of make it in a pristine manner and we are certain of the quality and that is why we pass the warranty along,” he added.
Cook emphasised that the certified pre-owned iPhone was something that the company does in many other countries, including the US.
Apple CEO Tim Cook: We’re not going to lower the bar on our products
During the course of his interview, Tim Cook also clarified that Apple will not pander to the market by making cheaper iPhones.
“We are about making the best products and we are not going to lower the bar, and say we will reduce our standard to make another product. That is not who we are and that is not something our customers expect from us,” he replied when asked if Apple planned to counter the budget segment in India with the pre-owned iPhones.
Cook said that the pre-owned iPhones will help them reach customers who really want an Apple device, “but can’t reach that point”. Read more about that here.
Apple Pay, Operator billing in India
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook said that the company was looking to bring in services like Apple Pay.
“We are also looking at things like bringing Apple Pay. I met one of the key banks and tried to understand how their view of mobile payments would play out,” he said. Cook had met ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar in Mumbai earlier this week.
Asked if they were looking at operator billing to make paid services more feasible, he said: “In India, that is something we are looking at. Operator billing is something, we don’t need in the US. But in India it is something the customer would want and help us move faster.”
He said that while Apple Pay was there, “it is important we move faster on scaling on the ability to pay in a manner that is wanted and desired by the customer.”
Tim Cook discusses manufacturing possibilities with PM
Expressing interest in making Apple products in India, Tim Cook discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “possibilities of manufacturing” and tapping the young talent pool in the country.
“Cook shared Apple Inc’s future plans for India. He spoke of the possibilities of manufacturing and retailing in India. He appreciated the breadth of young talent in India and said the youth have significant skills which Apple would like to tap,” an official statement said.
Modi, appreciating Cook, said that in India “seeing is believing” and added these experiences would definitely steer his business decisions.
Cook said the company is looking to be in India for a long run and it is “exactly the right time” to be in India, as telecom firms roll out 4G high speed internet services. He also appreciated the PM’s initiatives on ease of doing business and renewable energy, the statement read.
Prime Minister Modi also sought Apple’s help in furthering his objectives of Digital India through education, health and increasing farmers incomes, the official statement added. Cook also helped launch the PM’s new app. Read more about that here.