First Apple Store in India might not open this year

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India Apple Stores
Until real Apple Stores open in India, this is what customers have to use instead.
Photo: Lawrence Sinclair/Flickr CC

Apple’s first retail store in India reportedly won‘t open in time for the launch of the 2020 iPhone. And even online sales allegedly won’t begin until the second half of this year.

There have supposedly been problems in Apple’s efforts to begin selling iPhones and other devices directly to consumers in India.

As it stands now, Apple is forced to go through third-party resellers in this country. Last year it finally persuaded India’s government to allow it to begin direct sales, but this process is ongoing, and taking months.

It reportedly picked out a location in Mumbai last year, and had hopes of opening it this September, in time for the expected launch of iPhone 12. But TechCrunch reports being told by an unnamed “source familiar with the matter” that this store might not open until 2021.

No online Apple Store in India until Q3

Apple’s difficulties in India apparently go beyond the difficulties of setting up a brick-and-mortar location. Apple won‘t begin online sales of its products in that country until the third quarter of the year, according to TechCrunch.

Previously, it was thought the company would begin sales through its website sooner — an unconfirmed report from last August indicated this would begin in a few months. Now it looks like it will take about a year.

Apple is reportedly experiencing logistical problems.

Apple has been vague about a timetable

Last summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “We look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date.”

That’s the closest the company has come to saying anything official about when it will open a store in this country.

And there has been no word at all on additional Apple Stores in India. But they are likely in the planning stages, because this is a huge market that Apple has barely made a dent in. At one point last year, it had a mere 1% share of India’s smartphone market.