iPhone 11: Will Apple’s latest phones capture India’s growing market?

Apple has unveiled its iPhone 11 range of handsets, featuring more cameras and more battery life. But will it be enough to capture one of the world’s only growing smartphone markets?

Samsung has traditionally held dominance in the Indian “premium smartphone” segment, which refers to mobiles that cost 40,000 rupees (£451; $558) or more.

But this year, for the first time ever, Apple surged ahead of the Korean electronics giant in India. It swept up 41.2% of the premium smartphone market in the second quarter of 2019, according to research firm International Data Corporation.

“The Indian smartphone market is a game of changing fortunes,” technology journalist Mala Bhargava told the BBC. “There isn’t a company, no matter how dominant a position it commands, that can afford to sit idle.”

Apple’s latest mobile phones – the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max – will be available in India from 27 September.

And the iPhone 11, Ms Bhargava added, is primed to find success in the Indian market.

In recent months, Apple dropped its price for the iPhone 11’s predecessor, the iPhone XR, from 73,900 rupees to 53,900 rupees. The 20,000 rupee price drop was significant enough to make an impact.

“Consumers in India are known to be discount and deal-oriented,” Ms Bhargava said. “Seeing the iPhone as an aspirational product, many snapped up the mobile once prices were slashed.”This, she said, is also what gave Apple the lead for the first time in India in the smartphone market.

The latest iPhones feature more cameras than before and a processor that has been updated to be faster while consuming less power. There are two Pro models, which the company said would last between four to five hours longer than their XS predecessors.

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and ‘always-on’ Watch unveiled
Hands-on with iPhone 11 and 11 Pro
The entry-level iPhone 11 is the “perfect successor” to the iPhone XR, Ms Bhargava said.

It will start at a price of 64,900 rupees – which is not drastically higher than what the iPhone XR currently sells for.

“The discounted iPhone XR played a big part in bolstering sales in India, so its likely that with such a price for the iPhone 11, the company can really extend its market share,” she added.

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