I remember this moment back in 2011: I got the email from Apple announcing the launch of the Apple Online Store in the UAE. Then in April 2017, Apple announced the opening of their Dubai Mall store.
Fast-forward to the present, Apple will launch the Apple Store online in India on September 23.
This is good news for the Indian diaspora (like me!) in the Middle East, especially if they have bank cards/accounts back in India. Order products to your home address and then hop on a short flight home when visiting family to collect them.
Same Apple, but with some Desi flavour
For the first time, the online store will be offering Apple’s full range of products and support directly to customers across the country. You’ll get to enjoy the premium experience found in Apple store locations around the world:
- Online Specialists available to help with anything from custom-configuring any Mac to setting up new devices.
- Customers can get advice, receive guidance, and learn about new products both in English and Hindi.
- Presence of financing options and an available trade-in program.
- Students can shop for a Mac or iPad with special pricing, and receive discounts on accessories and AppleCare+.
Starting in October, customers in India can also avail free online Today at Apple sessions led by local Creative Pros, focused on photography and music.
Just in time for the festive season, signature gift wrap and personalized engraving will be available for select products:
- Engraving of emoji/text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu will be available for AirPods.
- English engraving will be available for iPad and Apple Pencil.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, all orders from the Apple Store in India online will ship with contactless delivery. Orders that do not require a signature will be left at the customer’s door. Those that do will need only a verbal confirmation from a safe distance instead of a written signature (I experienced this when I had my MacBook Pro delivered to me after its repair by UPS).
Since his first official visit to India back in 2016 (where he also got to see the IPL and hang out with Bollywood stars), Tim Cook is also eager for the launch.
Apple has been slowly moving production and other parts of their supply chain into India to offset the ongoing trade war between USA and China. Their third-party suppliers have been ramping up production work for Apple products in India and aiming to export them worldwide.
India has put strict requirements for them should they wish to avail some of the incentives, given that the country is a very price-sensitive market. This also helps them gain a foothold in the country, before they open their official retail stores sometime in 2021.