Does India Need a New iPhone?

iPhone 6 for IndiaIn a parody of the real iPhone 6 trailer, Bangalore-based stand-up comedian, Kenneth Sebastian, posing as a representative from the design wing of the company, gives us a funny picture of what the new iPhone will mean to us. Hilarious as this video may be, it does leave one thinking. Does India need a brand new iPhone?

A week ago, when the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were unveiled, Tim Cook mentioned that it was the biggest announcement in the history of iPhone. Yes, Apple has indeed come a long way since the launch of the first iPhone back in 2007, both in terms of the technology powering the phones and the screen sizes. And in yet another giant leap for the brand, it also announced the iWatch, the first smartwatch from the brand.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

But the reactions that the products have evinced are not what the Cupertino giant would be entirely pleased about. The humongous screen size is what has come under flak partly because of the striking aberration to what Steve Jobs said, “No one is going to buy a big phone.” Many users on Twitter have even likened the big-screen phone, iPhone 6 Plus, to phones from the company’s bitter rival Samsung, owing to its 5.5 inch design. The iWatch also faces some serious competition from the likes of Pebble and Moto 360 and the tech crowd has not minced words about their preferences, despite the fact that the iWatch allows you to send a heartbeat to another person.

Then, most importantly, speculations are rife about the flagships’ prices. The company recently slashed the price of the 16 GB iPhone 5s to `44,500. So, it is presumed the new phones will not be priced less than `50,000. A blogger, Tanmay S, recently pointed out, “If Apple has slashed prices of the 5s to start from ` 44,500 in India, you can very well expect the MRP of the 6 to be `53,500 and 6+ at `60,000.”

Is it worth the price? Given the sardonic remarks and spoofs that the phones have drawn, has Apple skimped on the features? Far from it, says the tech community. The 4.7 inch iPhone 6 has significant improvements – it has a DSLR-style camera that allows face detection; it is powered by the Apple A8 chip which promises to be 25 per cent faster; and the battery life is touted to support 14 hours of talk time and it has added support for calls over LTE and WiFi.  On the other hand, the much larger 6 Plus boasts of a 1,080p Retina HD display and ultrathin backlight, and is sleeker than the iPhone 5S. It also has the same 64-bit Apple A8 chip powering the iPhone 6 and offers 24 hours of talk time.

Ahead of the launch of the phones in India on September 26, the response from Apple consumers is polarised. Some who swear by the Apple brand name have second thoughts about purchasing the phone. Anisha, who works at an MNC, was one of the people to visit the Apple store in UB City when the iPhone 5s became available. She recalls, “I have always had the iPhone and I was dying to get my hands on the gold 5s. In fact, I waited for over a month till the gold phone was back in stock. But this time I would prefer to wait for a few months before I buy the new iPhone. The looks don’t appeal to me.” On the other hand, there is Ayush Roy, a content writer, who has his eyes set on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Why? He responds, “I have owned an iPhone 4 for the past four years. Compared to all other phones I see around me, I like this one. And I am very comfortable with the brand.”

Competition brands have been quick on the uptake. In a recently released ad featuring the Note 4, Then and Now, Samsung takes a dig at Apple, indicating that it was the Korean giant who has the first mover advantage in the phablet category. The phone has also attracted its fair share of criticism from the Android community, even as some arguments have been rubbished by the Apple fans as baseless. One infographic that was posted on Twitter went on to show comparisons between the features  of new iPhone 6 and the Nexus 4, which was launched two years ago, quipping, “If you need help with your iPhone’s new features, just ask an Android user. We’ve had this stuff for years.”

But like always, Apple has managed to create tremendous buzz on social media and elsewhere. And whether the new form factor will work in the company’s favour, whether we will see people make a beeline to Apple stores, whether the iWatch will manage to set itself apart from the rest, only time will tell.

Some funny tweets from around the world

First published in The New Indian Express on September 16, 2014

Categories: Articles- New Indian Express, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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