At a time iPhone sales are dipping worldwide, young and aspirational India may hold out hope for Apple as it readies to launch the latest version of its iconic phone next month.
Although, in keeping with the global trend, iPhone sales have registered a drop in India as well, Apple CEO Tim Cook is hoping for an uptick when exclusive iStores open in a country where South Korean giant Samsung has long dominated the premium segment.
According to global market research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 800,000 smartphones to India in the second quarter this year — down from 1.2 million units in the same quarter last year.
Samsung’s second-quarter smartphone shipments were estimated at about 72 million units worldwide — almost double Apple’s figure. And experts believe the just-launched Galaxy Note 7 will take a further bite out of Apple’s sales.
In this scenario, can the Apple iPhone7 (although the name is not finalised yet) make a dent in Samsung’s domination, especially in India?
“Samsung has an edge over Apple going into the festive season this year. With the successful GS7 series still going strong and further ramping up its portfolio with a refreshed Note 7 series, the momentum is surely with Samsung,” Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research, said.
However, he was quick to add, “It will all depend on whether Apple will surprise us with something mind-boggling in its iPhone 7 series.” The entry of the new iPhone may well make for a competitive and exciting festive quarter in the premium segment.
“Apple will look up to its over one billion community to see if it garners better upgrades as compared to last year and, at the same time, price cuts can be anticipated to tap into the demand in countries where Apple continues to be an aspirational brand,” Pathak added.
What will the new iPhone have? If rumours are to be believed: a dual rear camera, a pressure-sensitive home button, Bluetooth-supported headphones, dual speakers at the bottom and Type-C interface (remember LeEco?), signalling the end of the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone family, are some of the likely features.