Apple Online Store is Coming to India on September 23

Folks, it has finally happened. It’s here! I can’t believe it.

After several years of speculations and rumours, Apple has finally confirmed that the Apple Online Store is finally launching in India on September 23, 2020. I had leaked the upcoming release just a few days ago.

This isn’t a simple online store launch, they’re going all in:

The Apple Store online is the most convenient destination to shop for Apple products, with online Apple Specialists available to help with anything from custom-configuring any Mac to setting up new devices. Customers can get advice, receive guidance, and learn about new products directly from Apple, both in English and Hindi.

With financing options and an available trade-in program, the Apple Store online offers a range of affordability options. Students can shop for a Mac or iPad with special pricing, and receive discounts on accessories and AppleCare+. In October, customers can expect free online Today at Apple sessions led by local Creative Pros, focused on photography and music. Just in time for the festive season, signature gift wrap and personalized engraving will be available for select products. Engraving of emoji or text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu will be available for AirPods, and English engraving will be available for iPad and Apple Pencil.

Apple has been trying for years to get approval from the Indian Govt. to open a physical Apple store in India. Thankfully, the launch isn’t too far with the first Apple Store in the country opening in BKC in Mumbai.

Writankar Mukherjee, writing for ETtech:

Apple has roped in Ipsita Dasgupta as India country manager for its streaming services like Apple TV+, Apple Music and the App Store.

Dasgupta has joined the iPhone maker from Hotstar where she was president of strategy and new ventures.

She has succeeded Khushboo Ponwar who had last year moved on as head of business development for Apple in India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Dasgupta, who is an MBA from Harvard, took charge this month.

Apple needs to focus heavily on some good content in the coming months if it’s serious about Apple TV+ here in India. But I also hope that there’s a good developer evangelism plan for the apps coming out of India. There’s no dearth of shitty apps here with suboptimal experiences.

Indian Government Approves 100% Foreign Direct Investment for Single-Brand Retail; Signaling a Major Win for Apple

The Union Cabinet today approved changes to the FDI norms for India. The government has eased norms across various key sectors at a meeting led by the PM Narendra Modi, such as construction, aviation, etc. However, the most notable and relevant change comes in the single-brand retail sector. The Indian Government has now approved 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for single-brand retail in India via the Automatic Route. Previously, it was possible to invest up to 49 percent via the automatic route — anything higher than 49 percent required a government approval.

The amendments announced today are “intended to liberalize and simplify the FDI policy so as to provide ease of doing business in the country”, said a release by the Press Information Bureau.

This change is a major win for Apple, who has been trying to setup their own stores in India for a while now. The company did get a step closer in their attempts in April of 2016, but the Indian government wasn’t ready to relax the local sourcing norms for Apple. However, in June that year, the government announced some radical changes to the FDI policy that raised our hopes yet again. Today’s announcements have hopefully brought Apple India a little closer to their goal.

The government has also decided to permit entities to “set off” the 30% local sourcing norms for the first five years, beginning 1st April of the year of opening the first store.

I have been waiting for a really long time to see company-run Apple Stores in India, not for the sales experience, but rather to experience Apple’s incredible support first-hand. It sure seems that the dream is closer to being a reality now.

If you’ve been waiting for Apple to open their own stores in India, your wait might have just gotten shorter, according to The Times of India:

On Tuesday, the iPhone and iPad maker made a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek where it made a case for use of the special provision. Sources told TOI that Apple was a fit case for relaxing the norms. “Their products certainly meet the requirement for waiving the local sourcing clause,” said a source, adding that a final decision will be announced in a few days.

There have been reports that the Indian government was considering relaxing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since November last year, which were quickly followed by the government’s official announcement later that week. Following that, Apple had submitted their request for approval in January this year, but had to re-submit because “certain gaps [were] found in the initial proposal”.

After Tuesday’s presentation, I don’t think an announcement is all that far away.