It will now be costlier to buy an iPhone in India as Apple has reportedly decided to stop selling the lower-end iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6 and iPhone SE in the country. At the time of writing this post, the 6S and 6S Plus were still available online.
But the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6 and iPhone SE were nowhere to be found. So it looks like Apple may indeed be phasing out some of the older iOS devices in India. The Economic Times says the company is rethinking its strategy on the back of increased revenue and profit in 2018-19.
Although the number of iPhones sold was discouraging in FY18, the premium models helped Apple India up its revenue rate by 12% to earn Rs 13,097 crores. This resulted in a net profit of Rs 896 crores. Lowered iPhone XR prices in the first quarter of 2019 boosted sales too.
Hence, the renewed interest in pushing higher-priced iPhone models in the Indian market as opposed to selling as many cheaper iPhones as possible. Once the iPhone 6S Plus and older versions are phased out, the least expensive model will be the iPhone 6S for Rs 30,000.
According to an unnamed source, Apple India does not want to pursue numbers anymore. It wishes to concentrate on maintaining its brand value by raising the average selling price of its smartphones. Its focus will be on strengthening its value instead of just selling phones.
As TechCrunch notes, the company is even targeting Indian consumers with iOS 13 incorporating support for 22 local languages and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms that help Siri deal with Indian accents much better than before, among other improvements.
Thus, it is looking to underpin the value of its hardware with software customized for its target audience. Wistron Corp which manufactures the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 in small numbers in its Bengaluru facility may be tasked with assembling the newer models in the future.
There was a recent report which said Foxconn might begin making the top-end iPhone XS and XR in India. It’s possible that both Wistron and Foxconn will be contracted to do the same if Apple goes ahead with its plan to stop selling the less expensive iOS phones on these shores.
Of course, since Android smartphones outsell iOS devices by the millions in India, Apple can’t hope to capture a much larger share of the market by shipment volume anytime soon. We guess aiming for higher brand value is an equally commendable goal.