Immediate reactions to the iPhone 11 in China and India have been somewhat muted, initial analyst and social media comments suggest.
While the handsets have yet to go on sale, it hints that this year’s refresh may not be game-changers in the world’s two most populated markets.
Counterpoint analyst Neil Shah said that, while Apple has dropped the entry level iPhone price, it’s still high next to local rivals.
Together with the lack oF 5G, it makes the iPhone 11 ““less attractive and future-proof” for Chinese customers. Shah thinks that Apple will sell just 30-35 million iPhones in China this year. That around half the 63 million units it sold in 2015.
Apple is widely rumored to be waiting until 2020 to unleash its first 5G iPhones. “Since we still have to wait a year for 5G, why not just buy Huawei on Monday,” said one message sent on China’s Weibo platform. Huawei and Vivo have already released 5G handsets in China.
Meanwhile, in India analysts are also not predicting big things. “I don’t believe customers will buy more iPhones now because the new models sport more cameras, it will not move the needle much for them,” said Navkendar Singh, research director at IDC India.
India and China: Two large (potential) markets for Apple
China and India are two potentially enormous markets for Apple. But they’re also places where Apple has struggled as of late. In China, one of the factors that hurts Apple is the widespread use of WeChat. This app essentially takes the place of a phone’s operating system, carrying out much of the functionality. Because WeChat looks the same on every device, it reduces the differentiation of using an iPhone instead of an Android.
In India, meanwhile, Apple’s share of the smartphone market hovers at only 1%. Apple has taken steps to change this, but it seems that it will be a long journey.
In both countries, the respective cost of the iPhone puts it out of reach for many local customers. This may have been one of the driving factors for Apple bringing down the cost of this year’s most affordable iPhones. But will it have been enough? We’ll have to wait until the devices go on sale to find out.