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 Rs 11,586 lower (for an iPhone mini entry phone) and a staggering Rs 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 Rs 69,900 in India but is available in Dubai for Rs 58,341. The Pro Max at the top end is priced at Rs 179,900 in India. It is yours for Rs 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 Rs 51,491 in the US, that’s Rs 18,409 cheaper than in India. A huge saving of Rs 62,111 can be made for the top line iPhone Pro Max with 1 terabyte of capacity which is priced at only Rs 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 Customs Basic Duty at Rs 4,000 for all phones with a cost and freight value of Rs 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 Rs 50,000 is to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore per annum. But sources say the Finance Ministry has not taken any call.
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