That I am not an Apple fan, is because of Apple. Apple is itself responsible for not being able to turn me into an Apple aficionado (actually, they don’t seem to even want to). I don’t own any Apple device, though sometimes I wished I did. No, not even an iPod. And given Apple’s track record, I don’t see myself possessing any in the near future.
As a consumer I expect companies to treat me with respect, I believe I deserve. But Apple chooses to treat me as a third-class consumer, who irrespective of his interest, abilities, desires and purchasing power, figures right at the bottom of its priority list. Why? Because my address says India.
That India is one of the world’s fastest emerging economies and also one of the largest markets consumer electronics is hardly of any consequence to the boys at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino.
There was no surprise or shock when the Apple celeb-in-chief didn’t make any mention of of the iPad 2’s launch plans for India. India to Apple is only a market where it can hold their clearance sale, just before it is ready with the product’s next generation. It has happened with the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad.
Apple officially began selling its blockbuster tablet device in India exactly 30 days before it announced the new one. The iPhone 4 was unveiled on June 7, 2010. It’s been eight long months and still no sight of the phone at India’s Apple Stores. We now know that it’ll probably land in India only a month before the iPhone 5 pops up on the big screen at an Apple event.
Airtel still innocently believes that iPhone 3GS is still the “fastest and most powerful iPhone yet.” I cannot blame them.
Apple has not only miffed Indian consumers with its delayed-till-it-is-obsolete releases but also with its atrocious pricing. No wonder there were no queues in India, unlike in Apple’s favoured markets, for Apple’s much hyped objects of desire.
Unlike the bargain deals at clearance sales, at Apple’s India launch (the name they give to their clearance sale here), you have to pay a premium. For wanting to own an Apple device, we poor Indians have to pay a multiple of what the much richer consumers in Apple’s favoured markets shell out.
An iPhone 3GS 8GB that is sold for only $49 (a paltry Rs 2,207 via a direct conversion) is available in India for Rs 29,500 (price on the Airtel website). A simple math will tell us that Apple charges Indians over 1000% more than what it asks consumers to pay in its home market! And Indian import dutys cannot, by any stretch of the rules, be held responsible for this दिनदहाड़े लूट (dindahade loot) (The Hindi text insert is with a malafide intent. Any non-desi Apple executive reading this post has to make the extra effort of googling it) .
Let Steve Jobs and his fanboys play with their fancy toys. I’m not stupid enough, neither rich enough to afford such stupidity.
Other manufacturers are fast giving Indian markets due respect and are also being rewarded for it. Even old timers such as Sony, see India as the fuel to power their growth.
Apple is already paying for its arrogance. Steve Jobs may dub the competition copycats, but it is those cats who are getting to eat the most of the cream. Android has overtaken iPhone on its home turf and, indication are that it will also run away with the tablet thunder. Irrespective of Steve Job’s boast at the Apple iPad 2 event, it was Samsung which first came up with a second edition of their tablet device.
Steve Jobs can claim to make the best devices in the planet but unless Apple gives the self-respecting consumer in an emerging economy the respect and attention he/she deserves, it can neither win our hearts and nor rule our markets.
I am not going to ask the cousin in the US to get me the latest Apple toy on her next visit home. Why should I? I don’t use gadgets so that I can flaunt them.
I don’t need to use a Mac to look cool. And let the truth be told, the freedom loving me is repulsed with Apple’s stifling practices. I admire the openness and commune of Linux, and therefore Android, and make the best out of the millions of software around for my Windows PC (by the way Mr Jobs, the Mac is also a PC. I know that hurt. Truth hurts. Marketing jargon don’t change elementary definitions) to serve the zaniest of my needs.
Apple wants to tempt me with its in-film placements. Just because the hero or heroine in the biggest hit of the year was Facebooking on the Mac, doesn’t mean that I will too. Do I sound that vain? Give me the right price and launch your products here at the right time, then I can consider giving your products a thought. Else not owning an overpriced (and not to mention overhyped) Apple gizmo isn’t going to impact my world. There are others who are more than willing to do it, at the right time and at a fraction of the cost.
Apple’s arrogance has cost it a potential customer (and millions more).