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Breaking News : Apple iPads in India, but you can buy only in Bulk.!!
[Image: 2aepd36.jpg]

NEW DELH/BANGALORE: If you thought that the Apple iPad is yet to become officially available, you might just be wrong. Apple’s franchisees across the country have started selling iPads.

But the catch is that you’ve to buy in bulk. An Apple reseller at Delhi’s Connaught Place that ET visited said it has already supplied bulk orders to corporates like HCL, IndiaBulls, Protiviti and Bajaj Hindustan.

The price quoted: Rs 33,000 for a 16GB model and Rs 54,000 for a 64GB-3G model, with warranty and invoice. “We supplied 25 pieces to IndiaBulls. Give us just two days notice and an advance, and you’ll get the order,” the official said.

Another store at Noida’s Sector 18 said iPads haven’t been launched in India. However, when ET called a second time as a corporate customer, the store was willing to comply saying they will source the iPads from Hong Kong through an importer.

“You’ll need to buy the 3G version from Hong Kong, as the US model comes locked, and unlocking will remove the warranty,” said the importer, Beacon Electronics, who claims to sell through EBay.

Unfortunately, for the lay electronics aficionado, the Apple iPad is just not available, even 11 months after it was unveiled in the US. India has always been one of the last on the launch-list of Apple’s iconic products — iPads, iPhones or Macbooks.

Not just late arrival, there isn’t an India marketing strategy either. Despite being home to 650 million mobile subscribers and witnessing 80-million in PC sales every year, India sees muted offtake of Apple products because there is no differentiated pricing based on purchasing power parity or a focused marketing campaign. No wonder it has a sub-2% market share in both the Rs 30,000-crore mobile handset market or the booming PC market.

Even though the $65-billion technology giant has opened outlets and franchise stores through its partners like Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Croma and Imagine, a large number of cult products remain off the shelves, or arrive late.

Not merely in hardware, but India remains last on Apple’s radar when it comes to software R&D, even though its rivals like Nokia , Microsoft and Google have large development centres here.

Apple Software pulled out of India in 2006, citing re-evaluation of plans. “We decided to put our planned support centre in other countries,” an Apple spokesperson in India was quoted as saying.

“They are either not getting the signal from India or they are just ignoring it,” says Prof S Sadagopan, director-IIIT-Bangalore. “It is an enigma. I don’t think any other country has as many Apple fans. They may think they may not make money here. But what is there in Steve Jobs’ mind, no one knows,” he adds.

Apple responds by saying that its vision is neither country- nor market-specific. “It is across the markets. We cannot comment on the business details or any numbers and we do not have such break-ups,” said an Apple spokesperson in India, when asked about Apple’s apathy towards the Indian market.

What this leads to is distorted pricing and a thriving grey market. Says an Apple dealer in Delhi: “The 16GB iPad would be sold at Rs 32,000, including the ‘facilitation fee.’ This rate is almost Rs 10,000 more when compared to the $499-tag on Stockton Street in San Francisco of $499. Apart from price distortions, cheap and fake iPods are found aplenty in local electronics markets in Bangalore or Delhi.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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