Saturday, 30 January, 2010

Apple iPad cheaper than iPhone in India

On Jan 27th around 11 pm India Time, Apple announced a new device, the Apple iPad. Steve Jobs - the co-founder and CEO of Apple - was there himself. Very enthusiastically showing his latest creation.

In the days that followed, on various sites on the 'net, this new device has been hailed by some as the next great thing in mobile devices and slammed by others as an underwhelming 'large iPhone' or 'large iPod touch'.

What it turns out to be, only time will tell. The Apple iPad is a new device, possibly an appliance. At the heart it is a computer, with a CPU made by Apple. The iPad can natively run all existing iPhone apps. Users can buy new apps through the iTunes app store. And download their music to the device.

Apart format these very normal attributes, the iPad will also let you buy books from a iBookstore (only in the USA), and read them on the iPad. There will also be a version of Numbers, pages, and Keynote for the iPad, at $ 10 each. And the application called Brushes that lets you draw and paint with your finger on to the screen directly.

 The iPad also lets you play any existing iPhone game. And a number of companies have come forward with plans for games for the iPad.
The iPad also has an optional keyboard, but you can do all text entry with an onboard keyboard like the iPhone or iPod touch.

These are all features that Jobs and his colleagues showed on the 27th. But since its at least 60 days till the iPad will be actually available, there is a likelihood that some more features might be added before launch.

The iPad has no camera. Connectivity consists of a dock port, USB, audio in and out. And of course Wifi. There will be a 3G version can have mobile Internet anywhere with a micro-SIM. Best of all the iPad will not be locked to any specific carrier and you can put your own SIM.

When it becomes available in March '10 (maybe April in India), it will be sold in 3 'non 3G' versions
16 Gb - $ 500
32 Gb - $ 600
64 Gb - $ 700

Going by how these translate with customs duties in India,
the iPad may cost about
16 Gb - Rs 28,000
32 Gb - Rs 34,000
64 Gb - Rs 40,000

There will also be 3 'with 3G' versions costing
16 Gb - $ 630
32 Gb - $ 730
64 Gb - $ 830

which may translate to about
16 Gb - Rs 35,300
32 Gb - Rs 41,300
64 Gb - Rs 47,300

At the present time (Jan 2010) the iPhone 3G on eBay India sells for about
Rs 30,000 for 8 Gb
Rs 32,000 for 16 Gb.

And the iPhone 3Gs sells for about
Rs 34,000 for 16 Gb
Rs 40,000 for 32 Gb version.
These are all unlocked.

So, it looks like in April, when (hopefully) Apple introduces it in India, the iPad will cost less than an iPhone. Unless Vodafone/Airtel and/or the grey market lower the price of the iPhone 3G and 3Gs.

Incidentally, at, Apple iPod touch are available for Rs 11,000, Rs 17,000 and Rs 20,500 for the 8, 32, and 64 Gb versions. So this device is not likely to be affected by the iPad in a big way.

The 3G version of the iPad which need a micro-SIM and 3G coverage to function will likely come to India much later - like July or later. But, all iPads sold in the US or EU/UK, will be unlocked, the the 'unlock tax' that the grey market enjoyed with the iPhone will be absent with the iPad in India.

I suspect everyone who goes to the US or anywhere outside India after March, will come back with an iPad. So I doubt there will be  premium price for the iPad. It will likely become like an iPod to iPod touch, where Apple and partner stores sell it, and the grey market does so too albeit at a lower price.

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