Skip to main content

Apple reportedly in talks to manufacture devices in India

apple earnings q4 2017 logo
It wasn’t all that long ago that Apple began entertaining the notion of manufacturing the iPhone, iPad, and iPod in the United States, and now the Cupertino, California-based company is reportedly considering a similar move involving another country. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was in talks with the Indian government to manufacture its products in India.

This isn’t the company’s first overture. Earlier this month, The Press of India reported that Apple requested incentives in a letter to India’s Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY). Specifically, it sought tax exemptions based on the justification that it makes “state-of-the-art” and “cutting-edge” technology products for which “local sourcing isn’t possible.”

Senior Trade Ministry authorities have met to discuss Apple’s proposition, according to The Wall Street Journal. And CEO Tim Cook discussed the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two met in New Delhi.

Apple’s entreaty comes on the heels of two rejections. The Indian government previously turned down Apple’s request to import refurbished phones and sell them in India, keeping in place a network of third-party distributors. And it refused to allow the company to open Apple Stores, citing strict regulations on foreign direct investment.

But signs of change are in the air. In June, the government announced that certain brand retailers — specifically those who have agreed to purchase at least 30 percent of their raw materials from Indian vendors for a minimum of three years — may open brick-and-mortar outlets in the country.

Moving the manufacture of smartphones, tablets, and other devices in India could help the company meet that requirement. In contrast to competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi, which already assemble products in India, Apple manufactures most of its smartphones in China, South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.

And this move could reduce the cost of the iPhone in a country where its retail price is consistently among the highest in the world. A weakening rupee, buffers against currency inflation, and an increase in taxes on imported goods drove the iPhone’s going rate to record heights last year. In October 2015, an entry-level 16GB iPhone 6S cost $955 in India compared to $845 in France, the second most expensive place to buy an iPhone. The same model retailed for $650 in the United States.

Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at market research agency Counterpoint, told BuzzFeed that iPhone prices in the country could drop 12-13 percent if Apple made its devices in India.

Apple has a powerful incentive to pursue the move. In the second quarter of this year, Apple reported its first annual decline in 15 years. More than 97 percent of all smartphones in India run Android, Google’s mobile operating system. And the country’s smartphone market is booming. According to research firm IDC, the country is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s second-largest market for the devices, behind China.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Apple vs. Samsung: Who has the best lock screen customization in 2022?
Lock screen comparison of One UI 5 and iOS 16

One of the most notable changes to arrive with iOS 16 was a massively overhauled lock screen customization system. Apple went all-in with the new feature, blending aesthetics with a functional flair brought to life by nifty widgets. 
Samsung soon followed suit with its own take on a deep lock screen customization system that made its debut with the One UI 5 update. Yes, there are similarities, but Samsung has done what Apple often does. Or as they say: "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."
Wallpapers – it's the little things that matter

Starting with the stock wallpaper selection, Apple offers a selection of six backgrounds, while Samsung lets you pick between 21 wallpaper options. Scrolling down in iOS 16, you will come across six Weather & Astronomy dynamic wallpapers, which are actually quite stunning to just tap and interact with. 
Next, you have seven emoji-loaded wallpapers and an equal number of artistic background art with solid as well as gradient color styles. When you pick the emoji wallpaper option, you can customize it with any emoji of your liking. Finally, you can have seven uniform-tone wallpapers with a clean fading texture. 
One UI 5 also takes a similar approach but offers fewer wallpapers across different categories. You get nine single-tone backgrounds with a gradient effect and four graphical wallpapers with solid coloring and sharp lines.  
You can adjust the gradient and saturation strength and create a combination from the spectrum option. Users get this facility with One UI 5 as well as iOS 16. Both ecosystems offer a custom wallpaper option that lets you shuffle photos from your photo gallery on the lock screen throughout the day. But there’s a crucial difference here. 

Read more
Google’s Android monopoly finds its biggest challenge, and Apple might be next
Apps screen on the Google Pixel 7.

The Competition Commission of India slapped Google with two hefty fines over anti-competitive strategies that have allowed it to dominate the mobile ecosystem in India. Totaling over $250 million, the penalties reprimand Google for forcing smartphone makers to avoid Android forks, prefer Google’s web search service, and pre-install popular cash cows like YouTube on phones.

Google was also disciplined for forcing its own billing system on developers that allowed the giant to take up to a 30% share of all in-app purchases for applications listed on the app store. Google is not really a stranger to titanic penalties; The EU handed Google a record-breaking fine of approximately $5 billion in 2018 for abusing its dominant market position — a penalty that was upheld in September this year following Google’s appeal.

Read more
My favorite iPhone 14 feature is one Apple has barely talked about
Christine Romero-Chan using her iPhone 14 Pro with an Anker PopSocket battery pack attached

I’ve purchased one iPhone from every generation for the past 14 years — I’m no stranger to Apple and its ecosystem. Heck, I even make sure to always place an iPhone preorder to ensure I get my device on launch day (it’s become my annual tradition). Like many people, I put in my pre-order for a deep purple iPhone 14 Pro, because the Pro lineup just had too many great new features that I didn’t want to miss out on. From the whimsical Dynamic Island, the always-on display, and a 48-megapixel camera, it’s one fantastic mobile device.

But I think one of my favorite features of the iPhone 14 Pro isn’t something that’s entirely new. In fact, it’s been around for the past few years, ever since Apple launched the iPhone 12 series. While Apple has barely talked about it for the iPhone 14 series, it’s one of the features that is a serious game-changer and one that I can’t live without — MagSafe.
What is MagSafe?

Read more