Losing sleep over Apple’s iPhone 3G

August 22, 2008

I am not crazy about cellphones. So when I was asked to cover the midnight launch of the Apple iPhone 3G in India, it didn’t really seem worth sacrificing my sleep.

I walked half-heartedly to the Vodafone store in nearby Connaught Place, hoping to see frenzied youngsters jostling for vantage position outside its shutters. I had read horror stories of people abroad queuing up 60 hours ahead of schedule for a chance to buy the iPhone first.

There was jostling all right, but only among photographers and journalists. There was not a customer in sight.

Apple iPhone 3GTill midnight, the media was cloistered inside the store in New Delhi listening to a live band and staring aimlessly at the wall.

At a minute past, the action started. The first buyer was handed the iPhone. He grinned and posed interminably for photos and the news channels. Then the second, third and fourth customer appeared in quick succession.

All of them didn’t mind paying 31,000 rupees ($712) for a phone including some features that don’t even work in India, because the country doesn’t support 3G services yet.

I step outside for a breath of fresh air. A stray dog saunters past — flummoxed by the hubbub no doubt. There are no curious onlookers nearby. Is India really aware the iPhone is out today? Do the majority of its people really care about the high-tech smartphone?

Maybe the outlet launching the iPhone in a Gurgaon mall has done better. Or maybe Indians aren’t really impressed by a phone when inflation is above 12 percent.

Either way, I need to catch up on my lost sleep. Here’s wishing the Apple iPhone 3G better luck over the weekend.

45 comments

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There was no announcement from Airtel about the midnight launch. There is no loud announcement on their site either. I wonder why it is made out to be such a low key affair – dialing down all the hype. Starting from the price, everything has been a big dampner. Hope they reduce the prices soon.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Good. Now let’s wait for a month or so for the launch hype to cool down and realistic pricing introduced. Is 21,000 and 25,000 fair price for the 2 models? How much would you pay?

Posted by Samay | Report as abusive

the cost of that iphone that was launched in india is hefty when comapared to other countries that was launched in july. that too, the main purpose of this iphone is 3G,but the 3G service is not yet activated in india. then whats the use of buying that iphone which is worth rs. 31000

Posted by Balaji | Report as abusive

This is the marketing stretegy of the manufacturer to attract the segment known as “innovaters” by keeping a silence over the price & features. I do agree that most of the features will not be supported by the service providers of mobile communication.

In India, people have money & they do not know where tp spend/throw the money. Such people form the community of “innovaters”.

The same phone after in 2009 will be avialble at less than half the current price.

I’ll wait for a year and buy it after the price comes down below 20K. Heard one can’t download ringtones, forward SMS and that it has only a 2 megapixel camera. Will surely wait till they address these issues and gimme a 5 megapixel camera with at least a 20GB memory. C’mon, it shouldn’t be rocket science. Word of advice to Apple – we’re Indians. we’re price conscious even when we buy oranges from Nagpur.

Posted by Madhu | Report as abusive

its not unbelievable that there is no hype for the phone here in india. only a month ago it was rumored to be released at the same price as the other countries. now customers are discouraged because they must pay nearly 4x that price.

Its very high price with no 3G in india yet.
Inflation Hatao
Apple Hatao!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by yesupadam | Report as abusive

I was waiting for this launch. But the price has put me off. I was wishing it to be about 21000 – 25000. Its not worth buying a gadget for 31000. i can get a laptop if i spend something more.

I can hear people at Nokia laughing away!

Posted by Nelson | Report as abusive

Even I was too much crazy about Iphone but when I came to know about the price, I was bit nervous. You can get a good Laptop in 31k. Even though its said that its a nice gadet but paying so much amount is foolishness when there are many other options in the market.

Posted by Shyam Dangi | Report as abusive

I believe that iphone in India don’t deserve that kind of price. At a price of Rs. 31k for 8 GB & 35k for 16 GB, Airtel & vodafone have positioned iphone in India as a luxury product. What’s worse is that it has to compete with established players like Nokia & Samsung. Indian consumers are very discerning that want better value for every penny they spent. So a Rs. 31k & 35k doesn’t provide a better value in proportion to its price.

If the service providersare going to stick with this pricing, then Iphone launch is going to be a big time disappointment in India.

Posted by sameer | Report as abusive

good to see the launch of much awaited iphone in india, atlast. but definitely its not worth the kind of hype people were feeling and as of now most of the features will not work. mostly importantly, the price factor will definitely keep it far from reaching and this is not worth of the price they are quoting. by the time 3G works in india, even the price of the same phone would be viable for most people by then. so definitely bad time for iphone, make sure people wont hate iphone, rather looking for good sales.
Good luck Nokia!

So that I can get a perspective of things in India….. What is the average income in Rs. of an Indian Professional?

Posted by Johny | Report as abusive

Well..we Indians know about the iPhone..I for one have been waiting for it since it was launched last year in the US. I own & am proud of anything Apple, and I have been waiting for this launch for the past 2 months, frequenting Airtel stores asking them about the launch date, but, once the prices were announced…..I started finding all the oft quoted cons about the iPhone weighty enough deterrents. I think my Nokia E65 and Palm TX will suffice till the day Apple/Airtel/Vodafone have the good sense to halve the prices. I don’t want to feel proud of owning the most expensive iPhone. Apple, Airtel & Vodafone have arrogantly degraded the iPhone to a “flaunt-it-rich-spoilt-brat” product. Oh yes, I am jealous of all the rich people who willl be lflaunting their iphones. I have started hating it as I write.

Posted by Basu | Report as abusive

da price really sucksssssssssssss !!!!!

Posted by aman | Report as abusive

Count me among the enthusiastic people who were all psyched to buy the iPhone at the midnight launch only to be turned off at once by the price. I hope the $800 iPhone bombs and they lower the price to something less disgracefully high.

I wouldn’t pay that much for the iPhone even if I was still living in the US and making a real salary.

Looks like I’ll be using my iPhone 2G for a while longer…

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Hi ha ha … So finally the smart phone is in India.
Its good but I don’t know why media is hyping so much bout its feel & experience without letting people know its disadvantages ! Its the duty of the media to make consumer aware of its features (Though the features are negative)
Its not that I am against it. Even I liked it when I first saw the Phone (without 3G feature) with my friend. But as soon a s tried to know more bout the phone it disappointed me.
So I wish you all (whoever buys it) a VERY BEST LUCK.
Just dn’t go on the Dikhava… Apni Akal Chalav.

Posted by Priyanka Naik | Report as abusive

Well I was eagerly waiting for the Iphone 3G but its price is a dampener…31k… u ppl r rite..u can get a decent laptop at that price point…

Posted by Rupesh | Report as abusive

Hi guys,

Apple are really bumping (mugging) you lot in India. DO NOT buy the IPhone for that price. You can buy it cheaper in any other country.
What a MUG.

The first generation Iphone $599 everybody thought was too expensieve in June 2007, and the price was bought down in sept 2007 in the US at $399 = 200 pounds.

And in the Uk it was for 269 pounds from Nov onwards till April when it was selling in the Uk for only 169 pounds.

Steve Job said it wont be more then $199 = 100 pounds anywhere in the world.

Then why are they mugging the poor INDIA country selling it for bloody 31k rupees. This is a disgrace from APPLE.

My friends in INDIA DO NOT BUY, AND IF YOU HAVE BOUGHT GET YOUR MONEY BACK AND buy the product cheaper elsewere like EBAY or from Austraila, iTaly or Hong KOng or CHINA.

Every one was waiting for iphone but Apple disappointed us with the price, Iphone will be major flop if they continue with this price….

Posted by Srikanth | Report as abusive

I was waiting for the iphone to release. In fact pushed my old Nokia phone to its limit because I was sure, given the pricing strategy in the West, that I will be able to get the iphone without paying through my nose. However, once they released the rate plans, I completely changed my mind. I have worked with an iphone that a couple of friends have and trust me, while it is good, it is not worth the exorbitant prices they are put at in India.
I still needed a new phone. So I hopped into the nearest Nokia store and got myself a Navigator 6210. It is awesome. It has all the ease of Nokia design, plus the maps with AGPS and a brilliant interface. And I got it for half the price of the iphone. I am thrilled.

Posted by Nishant | Report as abusive

Johny, average entry level Indian professional/techie salary can be 2,50,000/- per annum. And, that of non-IT, it will anywhere close to 1,00,000/- So, spending 31K on a mobile is too much for average Indian. Even for high earning IT professionals, spending 50% to 100% of their monthly salary on a iPphone is too much to think of.
High price is the reason why Airtel and Vodafone didn’t make the release a high profile event. Otherwise, with so much hype, if 3 or 4 people turn up for mid night purchase (forgot about long Q), it will be embrassing for those companies.

Posted by Ram | Report as abusive

I thank you for giving me an opportunity to say about iphone. I think that this iphone willnot have that kind of famous as it is in other developed countries. Indian people willnot accept it due to it cost. it is four times costlier than other countries. why? people know this.

Posted by Kautuk Jitendra Shah | Report as abusive

pagal indian, 70% of population living on a $2 per day, who cares about a phone

Posted by ali | Report as abusive

i still have to wait..i don’t think the GPS will be working here properly like many of its features.Above all the price is damn unrealistic.i think the new Sony Xperia will be sweeping off the Indian market soon which is suppose to hit the market on the next month.

Posted by Shamshad | Report as abusive

I am at last a relieved person. For the past one year I have been thinking of getting an iPhone. Not because of the features it offer, but particularly the ‘Apple halo’ i was under. When I came to know its gonna launch here, i was hugely excited. I hoped that with a price of 8k @ US, we should get it for around 15-16k here. Had the price been 20-22k, i would have been in a real spot whether to go for it or not. By putting the price at 31k, Apple has really made my job easy;- i aint going for it.

I can clearly see many ppl like me are not exactly disappointed – they are laughing at the stupidity of Apple. This is a major PR dampener for those guys in an economy, which is rising to new heights every year. I mean what exactly do they think of Indians – that they can shove a cheap music player cum phone with a cheaper camera, 3G capabilities that wont even work, serious glitches in the platform, other missing basic features for the price of a double premium, and we wont even notice, brainwashed by the all encompassing brand shine of Apple.

I am seriously frustrated. And it not that cant afford the iPhone. Its roughly half of my monthly salary, though. Still, when you get ‘kheer’ for a lower price, would you settle for ‘milk’??

I have preordered N96, and hope to get it next month. Long live Nokia.

Posted by bappa | Report as abusive

36K for 16Gig thats ridiculous !
In US its 299$ with a 2yr contract. I think vodaphone
needs to absorb some cost here from apple and get into
contract mode as is the case in US/other countries.
You sell a unlocked phone for RS 36,000 then who the hell is gonna buy it.
I think its better to buy in US unlock it there and get it to India ! that would def. save amost half the money.

Posted by ravi | Report as abusive

Apple corportion today is sitting on USD 24 Billion in CASH RESERVES. how do you think they made that money? by charging a premium for an aspirational product which is useless in a country like india.
The sales in India will only add to the 24 billion cash reserves apple has!

Posted by santhosh | Report as abusive

By keeping steeper price of I phone, they have made it a luxury things…they would have swapped the market by keeping the price at 12-15K but i don’t know the People at AIrtel and Vodafone has put any brain behind the costing.

Just wait guys for few months the price will crash like anything.

Apple sells its iPhone at about $400 to AT&T in US. AT&T absorbs $200 out of it and gives it to the customers at $200 in exchange of a 2 year commitment. I agree, contracts are not possible in India – so a subsidy from Airtel/Vodafone may not be straight forward. Add another $100 for import duty, shipment, extra effort in training customer representatives etc on the part of Airtel/Vodafone. Airtel/Vodafone could easily sell the iPhone for no more than $500 (Rs. 20,000). Because Airtel/Vodafone are selling the iPhones locked, that’s where they should look for profits. Still… lets give them Rs. 1000/- profit or maybe a very greedy Rs. 2000/- as margin per iPhone. Shouldn’t the price see a ceiling at Rs. 22,000/- ? In the end, all I can feel or say to Airtel/Vodafone/Apple is “What the hell guys?”.

Posted by amit | Report as abusive

AT&T is planning to sell unlocked 8GB for $600 in USA, add $100 for import duty, sales cost etc in India,then gross comes to Rs 31000 @ 1 USD =43 INR.

So i think the pricing may not sharply come down, as happens with Nokia instruments.

Posted by AB | Report as abusive

I have been waiting for iphone since its first launch in US. Was shocked after the iphone 3g pricing in India & decided not to get the phone till the price comes down well below 20k.

Posted by sunil | Report as abusive

Iphone is targeting the creaming layer of india with its exorbitant pricing. Do not go in for the hype. Price cutoff is not far away. If you can afford it…then go for it!

iPhone 3G Launch–Damp Squib?

This is India and this is what both Airtel and Vodafone did not realize by choosing past midnight as its time for launch, both for media and for buyers. There were no long queues reported from any locations including Bangalore. According to reports emanating from resellers, only 10 percent of who registered are actually going to buy the phone and that is not a huge number.

Apple, Vodafone, and Airtel—all three saved crores by not advertising before the launch and followed in true spirit what has been written about in “Rise of PR and Fall of Advertising” by Al Ries, Laura Ries. Today morning however, I saw an advertisement by Airtel in Economic Times (not Times of India). That gives some indication of what the target audience the two service providers are eyeing.

Before the launch, I had shared my “expertise” and suggested to prospective buyers of Nokia phones to hold till iPhone is launched and had expected it to be priced at around 20 k. I was certain that this would engneer a price reduction to the tune of at least 5k by Nokia, Ericsson and others. I was wrong. The price is 31000 Rupees or around $750 for 8 gb and 36 Rupees or around $900 for a 16 gb one.

There is no good justification for the pricing except that there are no riders on users. Any post paid or prepaid users can switch to iPhone without being tied to a package. So there is no subsidy as such as AT&T provides in the US.

The question then is. How is Apple is going to justify this to non-Airtel and non-Vodafone users who cannot have an iPhone. The situation, however, can change whenever “number portability” comes in. So, I assume, Vodafone and Airtel must be lobbying hard for the portability thing to happen, so that more of their competitors’ users can switch for the sake of “iphone’.There are no reports anywhere suggesting that Apple might ocnsidre CDMA iPhone in the near future.So Reliance and Tata, better look for some other “touch” alternatives on the lines of what Verizon has done by offering. Check out at http://estore.vzwshop.com/dare/

There are no reports as of now of the new iPhone 3G being cracked in India, though there are tools available and there are unqualified software engineers in the markets like Gaffars and SP road to crack the iPhone.

The question remains—the phone is for whom?

It would be a wait and watch for most CIOs in India, some of whom have already experimented with Blackberry and are a satisfied lot with Edge giving reasonably good speed. Apple, Airtel, and Vodafone would have struggle to get enterprise users embrace iPhone, nothwithstanding what Apple has mentioned on their website http://www.apple.co.in/iphone/enterprise  /

In US, it has become a mass market product due to aggressive pricing, but Blackberry users there are still holding ground and not impressed by enterprise functionalities what Apple claims to offer. Moreover, Apple’s knack of strangholding the customers through iTunes and App store might not go down too well with Indian users of iPhone.

Finally, senior management from Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson can relax and enjoy sound sleep for the time being as there is no cause of any immediate worries of “mass migration to iPhone”, something which was feared.

http://sudeshprasad.blogspot.com/2008/08  /iphone-launch-damp-squib-this-is-india .html

the thing that the phone comes with a price equivalent to a laptops price is amazing, i find it to be difficult for Apple to promote their phone @ such a high end price. even though they have to be bought with contracts with Airtel / vodafone, my exp with Airtel is not so good…

Posted by shekhar | Report as abusive

The earlier version of the i-Phone in the US did create a frenzy when it was introduced in the summer of 2007; after the frenzy died out, the public realised that both Apple and AT&T who monopolised the product actually fooled the public, and probably also the media. i-Phone was a great design, but it did not meet the expectations the Apple-AT&T due had promised; the price immediately plummeted, I think from USD 399.00 to around or USD 200.00. Still it was over prized for what it was.

Then come Summer 2008. i-Phone 3G. USD 399.00. But this time, the public is much more wary. Only the executives of Apple and AT&T are talking, but even the media is not listening. Hence neither is the public. But fliers keep coming and pile up with other junk mail.

There are other manufacturers who deliver the same features without so much light-show and hullo-bullo. Some actually work as the best alternative to a lap top.

I think that Indian consumer is wise to shun such an over priced gadget that has never lived up to the promises.

This is really a sign of the Consumer Century. Keep it up!

Posted by Silliam Cakespeare | Report as abusive

The iPhone in India would have been worth a buy had the pricing been competitive. Paying Rs.8000 upfront and the rest in installments of about a Rs.1000 per month for 36 months yes everyone in India would have entertained the idea. As by the end of that timeframe 3G services may be ready in India. But for a gadget with below par Camera, fixed memory, poor support for media and photosharing its really not worth it. Who in India uses a advanced mobile for 3 years at a stretch? These gadgets dont even lost that long better buy a LCD TV and watch the advertisement soon it will be Rs.8000/- and your favourite Khans may pose with it to lure you to buy one.

Posted by Shankar Raj.J | Report as abusive

Yes of course as everyone sd the price really suckssssss………. Dear Apple Inc. , Let me tell you Indians are not fools………

Posted by Shankar | Report as abusive

When guys can carry Rs 20-25K phone models in colleges in order as a status symbols than there will be lot out there ready to shell out 31k when they know there will be not many doing so.Hence enjoying the exclusivity and leadning the style statement. I personally tried the phone for a long time and then weighed other options and finally settling for a Blackberry. I think Apple will make lot of money from India.

Posted by Nasir | Report as abusive

Given the cost of the phone and the huge number of features the phone doesnt have, i think people didnt turn up coz they were not interested in buying it. You get a fully loaded phone for less than half the price with full compatibility. Who then would want to go for the iPhone.
A lot of featuers like – no video recording, no bluetooth transfer, no zoom, no support for mp3 and many such things that are not available on the phone.

The new “tube” that nokia is planning to release will be a bigger hit than the iphone.

apple has to do something to cut the cost and also to add or remove some features if it is planning to capitalize any market share in india.

Posted by Nitin | Report as abusive

Hhaaaaa,

People are going GgGa over the new IPhone…trust be friends, it is definately not worth buying this stupid gadget where most of the options are just options and cannot be used.
Getting one from europe for much lessee price and getting a key for the iphone is not a bad idea.
Thing over it again b4 buying it.
Best thing is to wait and see the real jokers buying it for 30+ INR. It is fun to se them getting BAKRA..:)

Rs.31,000/- is skimming pricing method, the company has adopted. Let us wait for 3 to 6 months to see the price to come down

I have used the IPhone in the US. It looks terrific. Call quality is poor. Too many dropped calls or incoming calls go straight to voicemail. Data speeds on 3G networks are slow. At times, it takes 30+ minutes for an sms to be received after it is sent. Is it a device issue or a network problem. I returned the device within 2 weeks. Certainly, the device does not live up to the hype. You are not missing much. If you want good voice quality, get a Nokia. If you want an email device, get a BlackBerry.

Posted by Sonal | Report as abusive

Here in Korea, peoples are crazy about using new Apple products. And here 3G is working in very fast speed. Now people are using Samsung, LG mobiles for 3G phone. If iphone is launch with 800$ may be no one will buy that product. Its really expensive even with 3G. But in India there is no 3G provider. So I think it will be better you buy a ipod touch and a Nokoa mobile.

Posted by Singh | Report as abusive

check this out for my comments http://www.betanews.com/article/Apples_i Phone_3G_gets_hohum_response_in_Poland_a nd_India/1219424595

2007 estimated per capita ANNUAL income GDP for India is US $937. you still wont want to target a $712 phone at a family even if both the partners made $10000 each a year typing computer code, unless the employer was paying for it

Factor that with the facts that
* Cheaper “unlocked” phones are available for equivalent of $100 (there is no such thing as an unlocked phone. all phones are made free. its the north american and european operators who lock them to get their customers into their slavery contracts in the free modern world of west)
* no 3G is service available
* the daily lives and the spending profiles are nowhere close to that of the west. (The west should really take their moment and study the indian culture and the mentality of the indian consumer)

and add in these facts
* you would get locked into a phone with high initial cost and monthly bills
* the phone does not offer indian languages probably (yep, ever since the british had a stronghold on india some of the country speaks english very well. even though it is a software powerhouse for most countries of the world in the respective country’s local language, availability of local language software in any indian language is almost ZERO)
* the iphone reportedly had a battery that is soldered inside and you need to go back to apple to even have the battery replaced
* you could easily get mugged on the street if the wrong person found out you had an expensive iphone … OR what if you simply lost or broke it
* why would an indian consumer pay 90cents to apple itunes to purchase an mp3 of a indian song made in india and uploaded to a non indian server, and give 10 cents to the music company? they get their music literally for free & ipods which are cheaper do a good job of playing the music like all other much cheaper mp3 players (i dunno if the costs are the other way around or different, irrespective of the numbers… the question holds)

Score: 0 By robinmcool2008 edited Aug 27, 2008 – 1:58 PM

I was not accurate about the battery. thie new 3G iphone does not have a soldered battery but hey …
* still no slots for adding memory cards like those 8GB micro SDHC or 32GB SDHC cards
* no Java and flash support …
* no support for voice dialing? (voice command dialing)