Business Standard

Iphone 13 gets same day India, global launch

Move reflects importance of Indian consumers but phones still cheaper to buy in Dubai or the US

- SURAJEET DAS GUPTA New Delhi, 15 September

Apple Inc, which unveiled its new phone on Tuesday, is launching the iphone 13 for the first time in India simultaneo­usly with its top markets such as the US, China, the UK, UAE, Germany, Australia and others.

In earlier years, the India launch used to happen three to four weeks after the global launch. The move is a clear reflection of India’s growing importance, despite the fact that it accounts for less than 1 per cent of Apple’s total sales. India has already become an alternativ­e global base for manufactur­ing and exports, hitherto dominated by China.

To make them more attractive to Indian consumers, Apple has also kept the entry price of its models (iphone 13 mini) at the same levels as that of the Apple 12, launched last year in October. This, even though the new model offers nearly double the amount of storage capacity (128 GB) and new features such as cinematic mode which were earlier available in the top-end models.

Pre-booking of the iphone 13 starts on September 17 in India with deliveries for online booking and store sales starting from September 24. For customers getting ready to pre-book, bear in mind that the same phone can be acquired by flying to and back from Dubai with a price that’s ₹11,586 lower (for an iphone mini entry phone) and a staggering ₹47, 304 lower for the iphone 13 Pro Max with 1 terabyte of capacity.

The iphone mini entry model, based on data from Apple websites, is priced at ₹69,900 in India but is available in Dubai for ₹58,341.

The Pro Max at the top end is priced at ~179,900 in India. It is yours for ₹132,593 in Dubai.

If a relative is going to the US and can bring one back, it becomes even better. The iphone mini with 128 GB capacity costs ₹51,491 in the US, that’s ₹18,409 cheaper than in India. A huge saving of ₹62,111 can be made for the top line iphone Pro Max with 1 terabyte of capacity which is priced at only ₹117,789 in the US.

The reason prices are higher in India is that the government imposes an overall tax on the phone which is equivalent to 44 per cent of its landed cost. This includes a basic customs duty of 22 per cent and 18 per cent GST on that price.

As a result, seven out of 10 iphones in the country, according to industry estimates, are still smuggled into the country, despite 70 per cent of Apple phones, in value terms, being manufactur­ed here by Apple’s vendors Foxconn and Wistron.

The new phones, though, take a while to be manufactur­ed in India. For instance, in the case of the Apple 11 which is the best-selling model in the country, while the phones were launched in September 2019, production in India began only in June-july of 2020.

But the lag is becoming shorter. The Apple 12 which was launched in October last year started being manufactur­ed in India in March 2021. This helps to bring down the prices although the components still have to be imported.

The India Cellular & Electronic­s Associatio­n has taken up the smuggling issue and pushed the government to peg the duty on Basic Customs Duty at ₹4,000 for all phones with a cost and freight value of ₹20,000 — a move which has been supported by the Ministry of Electronic­s and Informatio­n Technology.

The associatio­n has estimated that the revenue loss for the government from the increased grey market operations in phones costing above ₹50,000 is to the tune of ₹2,400 crore per annum.

But sources say the Finance Ministry has not taken any call.

 ?? PHOTO: BLOOMBERG ?? The new Apple iphone 13. Apple has kept the entry price of its models (iphone 13 mini) at the same level as that of Apple 12
PHOTO: BLOOMBERG The new Apple iphone 13. Apple has kept the entry price of its models (iphone 13 mini) at the same level as that of Apple 12

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