Indians have found a $4 jugaad to make iPhone lookalikes

Getting there.
Getting there.
Image: REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
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When you can’t afford it, fake it. And trust the market to come to your aid.

Indians, who have indulged in jugaad for years, know this truism only too well. Their latest attempt to flaunt beyond their means is through iPhones.

Of great aspirational value, Apple’s flagship device remains a distant dream for most smartphone users in the country where the per capita income itself is far below the price of a high-end model that could cost up to Rs1,44,000 ($2,068).

“The price of the new iPhone models has been increasing constantly making it out of reach for many Indians,” said Shobhit Srivastava, research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

But then who needs an original when the market is flooded with stickers that can transform your Android handsets into iPhones.

Sticky business

These waterproof stickers, costing between Rs300 ($4) and Rs400 depending on the phone model, are now available with almost every local mobile phone accessories vendor across the country.

Coming in various colour options, they are available in two varieties: the do-it-yourself (DIY), ready-to-use ones meant for specific models, and those that need an expert to fix. The latter involves cutting out gaps for the camera lens, charging point, speaker, etc.

Here’s a tutorial of how the latter works:

“On an average, we manage to sell at least 30 iPhone stickers on a daily basis,” said Prince Narula, a phone accessories vendor in Noida, near Delhi. “It’s usually the Vivo and Oppo owners who buy it as these products more or less look like an iPhone.”

The product is particularly popular among youngsters, according to Akhil Nikunj, a Noida-based smartphone dealer.

“Most buyers are college students who don’t have enough money to buy an iPhone,” Nikunj said. “Not everyone can afford an iPhone but the sticker is within everybody’s reach.”

Itika Sharma Punit contributed to this post.