The cheapest iPhone is too lowly for flashy Indians

Image: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee
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Who said Indians love all things cheap?

The iPhone 6 is the most popular Apple smartphone model in the country, according to data from analytics firm DeviceAtlas. Launched in India in September 2014, this model now sells for around Rs24,000 ($350) here. DeviceAtlas looked at the web traffic share of each model.

This flies in the face of Apple’s cheapest handset, the iPhone SE. This model is far down Indians’ favourites list despite costing only Rs20,000 and being a newer version.

Meanwhile, other latest models like the iPhone 8 (at over Rs60,000) and iPhone X (at over Rs1 lakh) are still out of reach for most Indians.

More bang for the buck

At the time of its launch, the iPhone 6 sold for Rs53,500. However, with the introduction of newer generations of handsets, its price halved, making it the best-suited model for Indians as it satisfies their aspirational impulse.

“The 6, 6S, 7, 7S—everything looks the same. If I have the 6 and you have an 8, nobody will be able to make out that mine’s for 20-something-thousand rupees and yours costs over Rs60,000,”said Navkendar Singh, associate director at market research firm IDC India.

On the other hand, the 4-inch iPhone SE, with a much smaller screen than the iPhone 6’s, is just too small for a country that loves its phablets and loves watching videos on the go. So the reason for the iPhone SE’s relatively low popularity is its starkly different looks.

“The SE will never do well in a market like India which is a flamboyant, show-off market where people carry Apple to show they have the money to buy it,” Singh of IDC said.

Now, Apple is gearing up to cash in on the 6-generation phones’ popularity in India. After assembling the iPhone SE here, the brand is reportedly eyeing making the 6S in India.