Amidst swirling rumors that Apple will be launching an iPad 2 in the US shortly, the company brought the iPad to India in a surprisingly quiet January launch. After a wait of over 9 months, Indians were unexpectedly diffident to a product which has otherwise captured the imagination of consumers worldwide.
Most believe this is to do with the news of an upgraded version -could it be that Apple is unloading excess stock a sets its sights on launching its newer products in the US. In a market where 9 months can herald a number of new products and technologies, some in India think that this is a fair question.
The iPad retails at a higher price in India than it does in the West; the 16GB Wi-Fi version, which sells for $499 in the US, is priced at $609 in India (27,900 Indian rupees). One would have thought that Apple would learn India pricing strategies after it failed to make its mark with a higher priced iPhone that could not threaten Nokia’s dominance in that country.
There’s an additional factor which may be contributing to this distinct lack of enthusiasm. The Samsung 3-G enabled Galaxy Tab, iPad’s closest competitor has already been available on the market for a few months, and at a more affordable price, it has the potential to reach a wider audience. With the launch of iPad, Samsung has slashed its own prices.
Can Apple meet the needs of the Indian market while they are already rushing to fulfill orders in the West? Retail stores in the larger cities of Delhi and Mumbai feel they might not, should there be a sudden surge in demand.
While there may be many sitting on the fence as the tablet wars rage around them, some companies have already seen the benefit of harnessing the iPad as a serious business tool. They range from SAP, a leading software solutions company, to the Fours Seasons Hotel and private hospitals in the major commercial cities. Tablets are potentially even more attractive in India where desk space is at a premium and mobility is highly valued. The iPad has a lot going for it – sophisticated looks, recyclable aluminum and glass bodies and a custom-designed 1GHz A4 processor. In addition, it’s hard to beat the 40,000 applications on the App Store.