Vodafone India, the arm of UK based world's largest wireless telecom company Vodafone, is likely to bring the much awaited, iPhone from Apple to India this September as pre-market speculations ripen in the country.
According to analysts, Vodafone India might officially introduce Apple's iPhone as the anticipated release of the revolutionary combination device has been unduly delayed.
Though Vodafone has officially denied any such plan various internal sources have stated that Vodafone has signed a deal with Apple to carry iPhone in India 'officially', which has recently become the second biggest market of mobile phones in the world.
Apple Asia also declined stating that, Apple does not comment on rumors or speculation.
Apple has a stipulated target of selling 10 million mobile handsets by the end of this year. Its sales in European countries are gradually decreasing while China, the biggest market of mobiles has already denied its entry.
Since its launch in the US market last June, Apple's iPhone has gained huge popularity and has sold 1.4 million of handsets by the end of November 2007.
Its exclusive one network running option prompted hackers to unlock the handset and were successful in their pursuit. This led Apple to carry out some modifications after which it launched the phone again in the market but yet again unable to restrain the hackers.
Due to its locking code all of its functionality cannot be exploited. It runs only one network and Macintosh Operating System. AT&T is the assigned software developer for the phones.
The iPhone touted to enter the Indian market in the first week of September will be initially the 8 Gb capacity model with price ranging between Rs.27,000 to Rs.28,000 ($675-700). Its enhanced version of 16 Gb model will be launched by mid 2009 after viewing the first version's response.
However, the phone is already doing brisk business in the Indian grey market for much lesser prices of Rs.20,000 to Rs.22,000 ($500-550).
Apple has already opened its first store in Mumbai while plans are underway to open its second and third showroom in Bangalore and Chennai very soon.
Perceiving the iPhone's qualities that will appeal to the Indian clientele, the experts believe that it will gain immense popularity in the ever growing Indian market.
Apple's iPhone is an amalgamation of camera phone, iPod and wireless Internet system that provides visual voicemail and text messaging, local Wi-Fi connectivity, e-mailing and web browsing.
It is sleek, compact, with multi-touch screen equipped with virtual keyboard and buttons. It is a quad-band cellphone that works on GSM standard. Moreover, it has a better technology of browsing the net with EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) that provides up to three times more data capacity than GPRS (General Packet Radio Service).
But with newer rumors of Apple set to launch the next generation iPhone in June with 3G and the new iPhone software version 2.0, reasons are being cited for their entry in Indian market.
Currently, the carriers in Europe are facing huge losses over their stocks of iPhone and are resorting to drastic price cuts to clear their inventories. Apple is trying to dump unsold inventory in India at double the price so that other markets can brace themselves for the 3G version. Apparently, the iPhone to be sold in India will be the existing version and not the 3G version and that too at the price of Rs.27,000. Moreover, Indian consumers will think twice about paying up for the older version which has several deficiencies which have been widely publicized.
Therefore, only time will tell if iPhone does enter the Indian market and, if yes, then how does it fare amid the circulating speculations.