We’ve been hearing since February that Apple’s been keen to start assembling iPhones in India, and the company has confirmed to The Wall Street Journal today that it’s begun doing so – starting with the iPhone SE.
Apple has contracted Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron to handle assembly operations in Bangalore, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka. An initial rollout of iPhone SEs will become available in the country either this week or the next – but it’s unclear if local pricing will be affected.
For reference, the 4-inch iPhone SE’s 16GB version can be had in India for Rs. 21,000 ($327); the 32GB variant costs Rs. 22,000 ($343), while the unlocked device will set you back by $399 in the US.
With the average price of smartphones in India hovering around $150, Apple would certainly do well to bring down the cost of its cheapest model if it wants to compete with Android-based device makers. Government officials told WSJ that they hope the price will drop by $100 across the country, but that sounds like wishful thinking at the moment.
Previous reports also indicated that the iPhone 6 and 6s are also slated to be assembled in India, but there’s no official word on those models yet. And while the company’s been blocked from importing and selling refurbished handsets in the country, it was cleared to open flagship stores locally last year.
We’ll keep an eye on those price tags and report back as soon as we know more.