Apple’s Made-In-India iPhone SE and some unknown truth behind it

Apple is expected to start making its lower-priced iPhone SE models in Bengaluru this April. As per reports, there are no other iPhone models except iPhone SE on Apple’s made in India list.

The low priced iPhone SE has received a warm response from gadget fans and Apple brand supporters who wanted and iPhone but could not buy one without selling a kidney. Now with a cheaper model in the Indian market iPhone becomes more competitive.

As a final nail in the coffin, Apple wanted to shed its made in China tag and woo Desi buyers and fans of Made in India drive by actually making the product in India.

Where will it be made?

A manufacturing plant is set up by Apple’s Taiwanese manufacturing partner Wistron Corp in Bengaluru to focus solely on producing iPhones SEs. Bengaluru is the information technology capital of India and Google eyes it as a marketing hub as well.

According to experts, Chennai, Ahmadabad, and Pune were also being considered, but probably Bangalore was preferred because of better marketing scope and also as a more centralized location to reach rest of India.

Reports suggest that Apple plans to initially produce 300,000 to 400,000 units of iPhone SE in India. But it’s important to note that Apple is not actually manufacturing everything in India, it is just assembling them here. The parts will be made by different manufacturers around the world.  So, the components would still be Chinese or Taiwanese or Korean or Finish which we do not know for sure.

Here is some information about the iPhone SE?

Experts believe that Apple initiated the manufacturing process in India to boost its share in the ever-growing Indian market. No wonder other handsets that cost cheaper than iPhone dominate the Indian market.

Despite Apple’s massive popularity in India, Samsung and other Chinese companies including Xiaomi and Vivo have been ruling the mobile phone market. Most mobiles sold are priced below Rs 15,000. 

The iPhone SE was launched in April 2016 with an aim to target emerging markets, including India. It was priced lower than all other iPhone models for the same reason. Though the handset was Apple's cheapest iPhone ever but the price was still way more for the Indian market. It was retailing at Rs 39,000, far from the reach of potential buyers.

Currently, the handset costs less than Rs. 30,000 in India but the company may bring down the price further once the company starts manufacturing it in India. 

More Apple products in India will lead to a boom of more iOS app development in Indian market too. Right now mostly business owners prefer to build apps for Android considering high costs of development for iOS platform and a limited number of users in the Indian market.

What about the government's approval?

Apple aims to lower prices of Apple handsets, and it has been in talks with the Indian government regarding concerns such as tax concessions. But the company might not wait for government’s approval as it plans to work on Bengaluru assembly plan without further delay. The company wants to “experience manufacturing in India.” 

Social Media activism over Apple’s make in India drive

After the news was released in December 2016 about Apple’s possible plans to make iPhone’s in India rumors abounded about Govt. of India offering special tax rebates and other perks to Apple Inc. Social media, especially Twitter, was abuzz with rumors and counter acts till January 2017. Most of the intellectuals were in favor of granting relaxation in rules but were not in favor of tax rebates as iPhone being a premium consumer product did not deserve tax payer’s hard earned money.
But some other experts were of opinion that Apple choosing India as a manufacturing point puts India in a highly select league of only 6 countries that produce for Apple Inc. This gives Govt. of India Make in India campaign a strong push regarding manufacturers trust gained. So, no wonder authorities were so eager to give various relaxations to Apple.
The finance ministry had rejected relaxing the 30 per cent domestic sourcing rule in May.  To bring in FDI for single brand Apple flagship store in the country makers of iPad and iPhone had put this as the first condition - relax the 30 per cent domestic sourcing norm. But finance ministry stuck to it and did not relent. Apple was expected to actually manufacture some components like screen and chipsets in India to match the norm. It is quite possible they may do that in the near future but right now it’s all assembling and no manufacturing.