Buying an entry-level iPhone just got more expensive in India as Apple pulled the plug on the sales of the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus in the country. This move is a part of the company’s strategy to focus on value instead of chasing sales volumes in the Indian smartphone market.
According to Economic Times, three senior industry executives have revealed that parts supply of the three models stopped last month. Apple distributors and sales teams have been informed that the new entry-level smartphone is the iPhone 6S. This means potential customers will have to spend an additional Rs 8,000 to own a entry-level iPhone. The iPhone 6S currently sells for Rs. 29,500 while the iPhone SE had a price tag of Rs. 21,000.
All four models of the iPhone are out of stock on Amazon India, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still available for buying on Flipkart. Even then, not all variants are available, and will be on sale till the stocks last. All four iPhones are listed as available on Apple’s US website.
Apple’s revenue in the financial year 2018-2019 increased despite iPhone sales taking a hit. The decision to phase out the entry-level iPhones was taken to focus more on the premium devices. Sales of the iPhone XR increased in the April-June quarter of 2019, after Apple’s decision to slash the prices marginally. Apple is yet to formally file its financials in India with the Registrar of Companies for the financial year 2019.
Apple India’s revenue increased by 12 percent to Rs 13,097 Crore (~$1.91 billion) in the financial year 2018. Its profit doubled to Rs 896 crore (~$130 million) during the tenure, according to RoC disclosures. The Cupertino company decided to reduce the number of distributors in India from five to two, and offer arbitrary discounts to reinforce the brand’s dominance in the Indian market.
“Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit. These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue,” a leading trade partner of the brand was quoted as saying.
Previously, Apple assembled the iPhone SE in India, along with the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7. The idle production facility will now be used to assemble the higher-priced iPhone lineup.
Apple has big plans for the Indian smartphone market, and will continue to offer tempting buyback programs and cashback schemes. The company plans to localise its upcoming iOS 13 for the first time. iOS 13 offers 22 Indian languages including Indian English, which will be compatible with Siri, as well as support for Apple Maps.