Apple iPhone XR and XS could get cheaper in India as the company starts selling assembled in India versions of its high-end phones as early as next month. According to a Reuters report, India-made iPhone XR and XS will be available in stores from August as soon as the pending approvals come in.
The iPhone models will be assembled at Foxconn’s local unit in Tamil Nadu, which will help the Cupertino technology company save high import duties on fully-built devices and so the India-made iPhones could see a price drop. However, with the other version of iPhones made in India, Apple has not offered substantial discounts yet.
Apple’s local expansion will also pave the way for it to open single-brand retail stores in India. As of now, Apple sells its products through distributors like Redington, Ingram Micro in India as it does not have a wholly-owned store. In the Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the local sourcing norms for single-brand retail will be eased.
Until now, Apple has only assembled lower-end iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 models at Wistron’s local unit in Bengaluru. The iPhone SE was the first iPhone model to be assembled in India and the manufacturing started in 2017.
In a May 2019 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said India was a very important market in the long-term, though a very challenging market in the short-term. “But we are learning a lot. We have started manufacturing there (in India) which is very important to be able to serve the market in a reasonable way,” Cook had said. The Apple CEO had also said he would “like to place retail stores there” and is “working with the government to seek approval to do that”. Calling India a long-term play, he had said: “It’s not something that’s going to be on overnight huge business. But I think the growth potential is phenomenal,” Cook had said.
In India, Apple remained among the top three players in the premium segment in 2018, as per Counterpoint Research data. But it faces competition from players like Samsung as well as OnePlus, which made it to the top five in the premium segment for the first time last year, thanks to OnePlus 6T sales. A drop in prices of Apple’s premium phones is expected to give it the required push in the premium segment.
Apple iPhone XR and XS were announced last year with the phones costing upwards of Rs 76,900 and Rs 99,900 respectively. The iPhone XS is more premium with OLED display, dual cameras at the back, while iPhone XR has an LCD screen and a single back camera.