Apple 'proud to support Indian customers and their communities' – but maybe not so much for COVID-slammed retailers

Online Apple store comes to India even as millions remain in containment zones


Apple will grace India with its online store, at just the moment that local bricks and mortar retailers need trade they can get.

The store, which will include both English and Language options, will launch on September 23, just before the traditional Diwali festive season. Apple will offer the full range of products in the store, as well as a local customer service centre.

The opening follows the Indian government’s easing of rules last month that forced companies such as Apple to source 30 per cent of their production locally. Apple, which sources most of its components from outside India, has lobbied the Indian government to change that requirement.

“We’re proud to be expanding in India and want to do all we can to support our customers and their communities,” said Deidre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, in a statement.

But the iPhone maker’s timing couldn’t be worse for local resellers who have been hit hard by Covid restrictions. In April, Apple was forced to cover rents and salaries for some retailers for two months to help them get through the worst of it. But the new online store opening, coupled with the acceleration of the virus in India, could see many of these resellers shutting their doors for good.

India is currently operating thousands of "containment zones" in neighborhoods known to have been exposed to COVID-19 cases. Such zones are patrolled to enforce a strict lockdown that sees basic foodstuffs delivered to residents, although delivery riders are allowed to ply their trade.

Despite operating in the country for over 20 years, Apple is not a big player on the local smartphone scene. One reason for this is that many of the company’s products are often too expensive for the average Indian consumer. An iPhone SE, which is assembled in India, costs ₹42,500 ($580) compared to the ₹2,999 ($41) India's largest mobile carrier charges for its JioPhone2.

But that looks to be changing. Between October and December last year, Apple was one of the fastest growing brands in India thanks to increased domestic production and price cuts to the iPhone XR, according to Counterpoint Research. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Workers win vote to form first-ever US Apple Store union
    Results set to be ratified by labor board by end of the week

    Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have voted to form a union, making them the first of the iGiant's retail staff to do so in the United States.

    Out of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in support of unionization versus 33 who voted against it. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed to certify the results with America's National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

    "I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory," IAM's international president Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. "They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election."

    Continue reading
  • Apple’s M2 chip isn’t a slam dunk, but it does point to the future
    The chip’s GPU and neural engine could overshadow Apple’s concession on CPU performance

    Analysis For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Apple's move to homegrown silicon for Macs, the tech giant has admitted that the new M2 chip isn't quite the slam dunk that its predecessor was when compared to the latest from Apple's former CPU supplier, Intel.

    During its WWDC 2022 keynote Monday, Apple focused its high-level sales pitch for the M2 on claims that the chip is much more power efficient than Intel's latest laptop CPUs. But while doing so, the iPhone maker admitted that Intel has it beat, at least for now, when it comes to CPU performance.

    Apple laid this out clearly during the presentation when Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, said the M2's eight-core CPU will provide 87 percent of the peak performance of Intel's 12-core Core i7-1260P while using just a quarter of the rival chip's power.

    Continue reading
  • Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim
    Lawsuit took its time, just like your older iOS handset

    Another day, another legal claim against Apple for deliberately throttling the performance of its iPhones to save battery power.

    This latest case was brought by Justin Gutmann, who has asked the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to approve a collective action that could allow as many as 25 million Brits to claim compensation from the American technology giant. He claims the iGiant secretly degraded their smartphones' performance to make the battery power last longer.

    Apple may therefore have to cough up an eye-popping £768 million ($927 million), Gutmann's lawyers estimated, Bloomberg first reported this week.

    Continue reading
  • Indian government signals changes to infosec rules after industry consultation
    Reports suggest SMBs will get more time, but core elements including six-hour reporting requirement remain

    Indian media is reporting that the government has consulted with industry about its controversial infosec reporting rules, possibly resulting in concessions that slightly ease requirements for some businesses.

    The rules, introduced on April 29 with no warning and a sixty-day compliance deadline, require organizations operating in India to report 22 different types of information security incidents within six hours of detection, maintain extensive logs of their own and customers' activities and provide that info to authorities as required, and use only network time protocol (NTP) servers provided by Indian authorities or synced to those servers.

    The rules generated swift and widespread opposition on grounds that they were loosely worded, imposed enormous compliance burdens, made India less attractive to foreign tech companies, and would harm privacy. The requirement to report even trivial incidents within six hours was criticized as likely delivering a deluge of reports that would contribute little to the stated goal of securing intelligence with which to defend the nation. The Internet Society warned that insistence on using Indian NTP servers would create an unhelpful reliance on that infrastructure.

    Continue reading
  • Apple dev roundup: Weather data meets privacy, and other good stuff
    No AR/VR glasses but at least RoomPlan will let you make rapid 3D room maps

    WWDC Apple this week at its Worldwide Developer Conference delivered software development kits (SDKs) for beta versions of its iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16, and watchOS 9 platforms.

    For developers sold on seeking permission from Apple to distribute their software and paying a portion of revenue for the privilege, it's a time to celebrate and harken to the message from the mothership.

    While the consumer-facing features in the company's various operating systems consist largely of incremental improvements like aesthetic and workflow enhancements, the developer APIs in the underlying code should prove more significant because they will allow programmers to build apps and functions that weren't previously possible. Many of the new capabilities are touched on in Apple's Platforms State of the Union presentation.

    Continue reading
  • UK competition watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers, cloud gaming and payments more competitive
    Investigation could help end WebKit monoculture on iOS devices

    The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple's and Google's market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

    "When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards," said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, in a statement. "As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice."

    The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA's year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog's findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022