Apple Inc has announced the India prices of the new variants of its bestselling smartphones – launched on Tuesday – as it assembles the device in the country.
The new iPhone 15 range starts at Rs 79,900 for the 128 GB variant (the same price as the iPhone 14 when it was launched last year) and goes up to Rs 199,900 for the top-end Pro Max with a 6.7 inch screen and 1 TB (terabyte) storage.
The world’s most valuable company also launched three new upgraded Apple watches, starting with the SE at Rs 29,900 and going up to Ultra 2 at Rs 89,900.
Preorders for the new devices will begin September 15 and the iPhone 15 range will be available from September 22 in India and other countries.
The iPhone Pro phone is forged in titanium to reduce its weight; it has the new A 16 and A 17 biomic chips with more processing power.
The company has introduced a ‘dynamic island’ on the screen in iPhone 15 as well as a new camera with better resolution and a new double tap gesture through which you can control your phone.
As a first for Apple Inc, the gap between the launch of the phone and its assembly in India has been bridged completely.
The iPhone 15 is being assembled in India in the Foxconn factory and sources said that there is inventory available for domestic consumers.
If demand exceeds plans some imports from China might be needed and a final call on this would be taken soon.
Apple, which started assembling phones in India in 2017 with the iPhone 7, has seen the gap between launch and assembly in the country gradually come down: it was three months for iPhone 13 and just one month with iPhone 14.
Industry experts said that despite being Made in India the entry level price of the iPhone 15 is higher than that in the US (where the price is around Rs 71,000) or Dubai (3399 dirhams or Rs 76,724).
The price difference is because of the stiff 18 per cent GST which has to be paid on a phone assembled in India.
This is despite the fact that Apple does not pass on the disability in the cost of production in India vis a vis China.
Production cost narrowed because of government incentives but it is still around 4-5 per cent.
In India, dealer margins have to be built into the price.
Yet most analysts agree that the difference is the basic iPhone is not big enough to encourage smuggling.
However that is not the case in the top range of iPhones as well as the Apple Watch, which are still imported and where the price differential is substantial as the effective impact of duties which include basic customs duty (18 per cent) and GST is around 45 per cent on the product.
So smuggling is still very lucrative and so is the incentive for consumers to buy it from the US or Dubai.
For instance the top end iPhone Pro Max with a 6.7 inch screen will retail in India for Rs 159,900.
However, the same phone bought in the US will be Rs 50,000 cheaper than in India, retailing at around Rs 107,000 after VAT.
And if you do not want to go so far you can pick it up from Dubai for only Rs 115,000.
Even for Apple Watch which again is imported the price of the top end Ultra2 is cheaper by Rs 18,300 in the US even after paying VAT and Rs 17,600 in Dubai compared to its stiff price in India of Rs 89,900.
The products, where there is no import duty to India, are iMac, MacBook and iPad as they are part of a global agreement.
The India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has taken this issue strongly with the finance ministry and has estimated that the government loses nearly Rs 4,000 crore of revenue due to smuggling.
Of course for those who find the prices still over the top there is already good news – the prices of iPhone 14 listed on Amazon.com has dropped by around 17 per cent on the entry level iPhone 15 and is available at Rs 65,999.
But as far as the Apple iPhone Pro is concerned the drop is only 8 per cent-but could increase with time.
Apple, through its vendors, hit a production value of $7.5 billion in India in FY 23, out of which $5 billion was exported.
The target by its three vendors is to hit a minimum production value of $5.4 billion which could go up to $9.04 billion in FY 24 as committed to the government.
And that could well happen with a little bit of push in iPhone 15 and Apple Watch sales.
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