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Research Hints at Apple Losing Its Focus on India

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Varun Bhatia
Varun Bhatia Apr 7, 2018

The tech giant Apple may have increased its investment in India, but is finding fewer mentions in the CEO’s speech than ever before. The head of the US-based company mentioned India a lot less frequently in his recent interaction with analysts.

A New York based research firm analysed 1,171,165 words across 10 years of transcripts from Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon. The analysis showed that while the mentions of India have gone down considerably for Amazon and Apple, Google and Microsoft spoke more often about Asia. Apple did have a tough time in India over the last year as the revenue growth tumbled and it has also been losing out to Samsung and other Android devices.

However, this does not mean that Apple hasn’t been paying close attention. It is investing in India and has already launched an App Accelerator Centre. Moreover, Apple is looking at expanding their go-to market in general and has begun to produce iPhone SE during the quarter.

A decade since Apple began selling iPhones in India, the company is moving towards opening stores in the nation. Although Apple has regularly restated its commitment to India, there are two main issues that analysts and users think is hindering the reach of iPhones in India. Firstly, the iPhones are too expensive for the thrifty Indian customer, and secondly, Apple’s core services such as Apple Maps and Siri don’t work well locally.

Making a cheaper iPhone is the apparent solution to this problem, but Apple does not do cheap. It has stressed time and again that the high prices are a reflection of its dedication to quality, and not profit.

Apple Maps in India offers sparse mapping data and often misses landmarks. It also lacks the basic turn-by-turn directions. Apple India has begun to acknowledge these issues and has hired hundreds of engineers at its mapping facility in Hyderabad.

Similar is the case with Apple’s assistant Siri, who doesn’t understand most of the Indian origin words and often struggles to make sense of the Indian accents. Understanding this, Apple has added support for Hindi diction and a Hinglish Keyboard in the recent iOS.

Although there is no denying that Apple’s ecosystem isn’t much aligned to the Indian users, Apple is definitely making a lot of efforts in exploring the services that can be offered to the country.

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