New iPhone SE to further boost Apple's position in post-lockdown India
New Delhi, April 16 - Ending months of speculations, Apple has brought a new, affordable second generation iPhone SE during tough COVID-19 times and when the lockdown opens, the Rs 42,500 device will certainly find appeal with college-going crowd or teenagers in India who cannot spend too much to own the iPhone 11 series.
The price segment where the new iPhone SE has entered is piping hot with competitive devices from OnePlus, Samsung and Vivo and Apple -- which saw a great uptick with iPhone XR when it got cheaper in India - is certain that iPhone SE 2020 will find a solid response from those which like to experience an iPhone but could not, to date, owing to the high prices.
The truth is: Apple logged a massive over 55 per cent growth in iPhone shipments for the India market in January and February this year compared to the same period in 2019, riding on strong demand for iPhone 11 and other models, according to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.
Packed with top-of-the-line hardware, the new iPhone SE has the potential to create much room for Apple in the aggressive Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000 segment, feel industry experts.
"This will certainly appeal to a lot of Android mid-segment users who cannot afford a flagship iPhone. Also, this can really find traction is corporate and enterprise segment with Apple's positioning of privacy and security," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, IDC India, told IANS.
The new iPhone SE still carries that same look and design as from the iPhone models few years back and many upgraders have moved to XR or 11 in past two years with their new design and full screen experience.
"I should certainly find volumes immediately when it is launched since this will be the most affordable new iPhone and cheapest way to enter Apple ecosystem," Singh added.
The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has seen a dramatic shift in its fortunes in India since mid-2019, with increased 'Make in India' manufacturing giving the impetus required for iPhones.
According to Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst, Devices & Ecosystem at Counterpoint Research, Apple's latest A13 bionic chipset, IP67 rating and wireless charging feature are some of the key highlights of the new device.
"The aspirational value of the Apple brand remains high in India, but traditionally consumers tend to lean towards buying a device with higher specifications. The new iPhone SE shall further consolidate Apple's position in the premium segment," said Bhatia.
Although lockdown, along with other factors, will impact some sections of the Indian economy, the social distancing period is also likely to create some demand vacuum which may lead to stronger demand for a short period in the coming days.
"Consumers will be excited to get hands-on experience of the new device," Bhatia added.
The move is seen as a very strategic one to gain foothold in important emerging markets like India, which is a very value-conscious market.
"This price point is very aggressive from Apple, considering that Apple found success in India in 2019 in this segment. Also, with the expected aggressive marketing and demand generation initiatives expected by the brands and platforms, once the lockdown is lifted, should really help Apple to gain foothold in the mid premium segment of the market, where the competition is intensifying," elaborated Singh from IDC.
Apple is also continuously ramping up its manufacturing capabilities through its partners in India.
Apple supplier Wistron assembled low-end iPhone SE (now discontinued) and is now assembling iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 at its Bengaluru facility. The highest-selling iPhone XR is being manufactured at Apple supplier Foxconn's facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai.
"Some of the best-selling Apple iPhone models are already manufactured in India. Also, we can now expect global OEMs to be more aggressive on their contingency planning while diversifying their supply chain and reducing the overall dependency on China. So it seems highly likely that a fraction of iPhone SE 2020 will be manufactured locally in India," Bhatia told IANS.
A 'Make in India' iPhone SE will have a different sort of appeal, isn't it?