After much anticipation and a slew of rumors about its possible features and pricing, Apple has launched its much-awaited iPhone 15 series.
What was surprising was that, as opposed to what people had expected, Apple did not increase the price of its devices this time for its global users. However, as always, Indian customers are being treated differently.
Apple’s skewed Indian pricing
While the new iPhone 15 series, especially the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, come with many new features and are pretty solid premium smartphones, it is hard to make sense of the device’s pricing in India.
There’s no other way of saying it, but Apple’s pricing strategy for the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is bizarre, especially when you consider the price of the devices in India and compare that to the prices in the US and the rest of the world.
The pricing strategy seems even more bizarre when considering that the prices of the non-Pro models, the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus, are the same as last year’s iPhone 14 non-Pro series.
The iPhone 15 Pro starts at Rs 1,34,900 in India, while in the US, it starts at the same price as last year, $999 or Rs 82,850 (converted). In India, the launch price of the base variant of the iPhone 14 Pro was Rs 1,29,900, Rs 5,000 less than this year’s model.
How alarming is the disparity between international and Indian prices?
Even Price Parity ratios make little to no sense regarding the difference in pricing in India and the US.
Consider this problem. If you buy the iPhone 15 Pro’s 128 GB variant in India, you pay Rs 1,34,900. That’s about $1625. In the US, not only can you buy the new iPhone 15 Pro’s 128GB variant, but you can also buy their top-of-the-line Apple Watch Ultra 2 and still save enough money to splurge on a pretty decent dinner in a posh restaurant in the US, or some first-party Apple accessories.
Similarly, you will still come ahead if you buy a return ticket to the UAE, especially Dubai, believe your iPhone 15 Pro there, and then fly back. And if you want to go for the higher tier models, 512GB or 1TB variants of the Pro or the Pro Max, you will save more.
Does Apple have a defense?
Honestly, it doesn’t seem that Apple can give a legitimate reason why the iPhone 15 Pro series’ price in India is what it is. Yes, certain taxes and import duties make tech products expensive in India. However, they are not this egregious.
This year, Apple is making most of the iPhones it plans to sell in India in its Indian factories. And while Apple may not have started making the more premium Pro lineup in India yet, the prices of these devices are unlikely to go down even when they launch the India-made Pro devices here.
Apple is charging us more for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, devices that it already makes in India than they are charging people in the US and other international markets. In such a case, we must ask what good it does for Indian consumers if Apple continues to set an Apple Premium from us instead of lowering its prices in India.
And even if we consider the technological advancements that are coming with the iPhone 15 Pro series, the US and the international market are getting the same device that we are getting. We are also being short-changed here, as some of the emergency SOS features announced for the iPhone 14 series last year still haven’t made their way to India.
None of this matters
In an ideal world, we could have voted with our wallets. However, we all know how that works out in the real world. Unfortunately, none of that matters.
Apple knows that its customers will pay whatever Apple charges them for their devices. People will still queue up in front of Apple Saket and Apple BKC on September 22, when the machines finally go on sale.
Thanks to its ubiquitous ecosystem, Apple already has a stronghold over the US market. And while they may not have that widespread a presence in India, it has something even more potent – the advantage of being the ‘it’ brand that perfectly personifies aspiration.