3:50 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, 2016: Apple informed International Business Times India that it has not made any change to the prices of select iPhone models in India, as reported by the Economic Times earlier in the day. Some retailers might offer discounts on iPhones, but the MRP of the devices remain unchanged unless shown in Apple's official online store, the company said.
There was a recent change in the Indian government's FDI policy in e-commerce, and Apple does not commission the changes in prices from third-party vendors.
Smartphone companies are often adjusting their prices to attract consumers with compelling discounts and offers, but Apple isn't one of them. After receiving critical remarks for its iPhone SE being too overpriced, the Cupertino-based tech giant decided to hike the prices of its other iPhones by up to 29 percent in India.
According to the Economic Times, Apple has increased the prices of iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s in India to pitch the iPhone SE more effectively to the consumers. The publication cited unnamed sources as saying that the price revision is merely a withdrawal of discounts Apple had offered on its iPhone range in January-March 2016 period.
"It was felt that SE, which was criticized for having a 'high price tag', will not be able to see much traction if prices of bigger-sized iPhone 6 and 6S devices are not corrected. So, the decision was taken to revise the price upwards. We are trying to build a healthy buffer," a source told ET.
Apple iPhone SE was launched in India for Rs. 39,000 for a 16GB variant, while the iPhone 6 and 6s 16GB variants were priced at Rs. 31,000 and Rs. 40,000, respectively. Clearly, it clouds a buyer's decision while shopping for a new iPhone. But Apple is clearing the blurred lines between its iPhone models that pushed the iPhone SE to the backseat.
In the wake of this, Apple reportedly pulled off the discounts on its iPhone models. The iPhone 6 price was spiked by up to 29 percent and it is now selling for Rs. 40,000. The iPhone 6s price was increased by 19 percent to Rs. 48,000 and Apple hiked the price of its aging iPhone 5s by 22 percent to Rs. 22,000.
According to BGR India, Reliance Digital and Croma stores confirmed the new change in price, stating the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s 16GB variants are priced around Rs. 25,000, Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 54,900, respectively. The iPhone SE now sits between the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6.
Apple's surprise price hike may come as a blow to most shoppers, who were under the belief that the iPhone price would no longer go up. It is also a concern for Apple as its rival Samsung is getting great response for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones. According to TrendForce market analysis firm, Samsung sold twice as many smartphones than Apple in Q1 2016.
The new pricing certainly gives Samsung an edge over its chief rival. Will Apple's price adjustment to bring iPhone SE to the frontline backfire? Only time can tell.