The iPhone 3G S India launch mystery
Ever since Apple launched the iPhone 3G S on June 19 ’09, people in India (the world’s second largest mobile handset market) have been wondering about it’s launch here in India. However, Apple and the two authorized Indian carriers for the iPhone, Vodafone and Airtel, have maintained a tight-lipped silence on the matter.
Vodafone and Airtel are probably hoping that a quiet, unobtrusive entry into the market may be a better bet than the over-the-top iPhone 3G launch last year. Even though the launch had created a buzz, Vodafone and Airtel got slammed for pricing the iPhone 3G exorbitantly high. As a result, iPhone 3G sales were lukewarm at most. So much so that they had to introduce installment plans to induce people into buying.
Coming back to the iPhone 3G S launch, to be fair to Apple, a screenshot of one of it’s presentations, published by Gizmodo, showed that India was in the list of countries where the iPhone 3G S would be launched in August. However since the screenshot showed a calendar saying “Aug ’09“, I think people mistakenly thought the India launch date was 09th August and rumours flew everywhere about a launch on Sunday 09th August. I suspected that this was just a rumour in a tweet on 5th Aug morning. Later that evening, there was a post at Fone Arena saying the launch would not happen on 09th August and it may in fact happen by the 3rd week of August.
Now, the 3rd week of August sounds like a much more likely time-frame for the iPhone 3G S launch in India. That’s because it would then be 12 months since the iPhone 3G was launched, so the carriers could then offer to unlock current customers’ iPhone 3G phones and sell new unlocked iPhone 3G phones at low prices (my guess is ~Rs.20000). This could help them price the iPhone 3G S at around Rs.31K-Rs.32K for the 16GB variant and Rs.38K-Rs.39K for the 32GB variant (please note though, that the prices may be slightly higher in Mumbai due to the recently hiked VAT. Thanks to Anupam Gupta who pointed this out via a tweet reply). So even if people are hesitant about the iPhone 3G S prices, the carriers would be able to offset any disappointments (in 3G S sales) by the increased iPhone 3G sales. And that is probably one of the reasons for not hyping up the 3G S prior to launch… so that it gets positioned as an evolutionary model than a revolutionary one, thereby ensuring its predecessor, the 3G, does not get downplayed a great deal.
Having said that, is the iPhone 3G S worth it? What does it offer over the iPhone 3G? Should you rather buy a iPhone 3G rather than spending almost double on the iPhone 3G S? Stay tuned for my post that looks at these aspects of the iPhone 3G S.