India to finally get an online Apple store in India starting September 23

Apple, earlier today, announced that it would start selling its products to Indian consumers directly through its own online store starting September 23. Until now, Apple depended on its online and offline partners to distribute its products across the country. Beginning September 23, Apple’s online store will offer a wide variety of services – some for the first time – to Indian consumers. This marks a significant milestone in Apple’s 20-year-long history in India. In a press release announcing the launch, Apple outlined the various ‘features’ that Apple Store online will offer. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter and announced the new development.

We know how important it is for our customers to stay in touch with those they love and the world around them. We can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India with the Apple Store online on September 23! 🇮🇳

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook)
September 18, 2020

Here are some of the services that Indian consumers will be able to avail now that the Apple Store is finally available in India

Configure to order: One feature that most Apple users in India longed for was the ability to customize and have a ‘built to order’ Mac. Until now, Indian consumers only had the option to buy pre-built SKUs of MacBooks and iMacs. This meant consumers had minimal customization and upgradeability options. With configure to order, users can choose how much memory and additional storage they need on their Mac. They can also choose between multiple graphics card options.

Trade-in: Another feature that Apple did not offer to consumers in India until now was the option to trade in their old smartphones for a newer model. All the user needs to do is answer a few questions, and Apple will provide a trade-in value for their old smartphone, and you can get a lower price on your new iPhone. 

Apple Specialists: Consumers shopping on Apple Store online can avail the help of apple Specialists who will help them with all their shopping and product-related queries. These specialists who will be available via Chat can help consumers with a wide variety of questions – ranging from what product is best suited for them – to the most convenient payment option for them.

AppleCare+ Personal sessions and Apple Support: Until now, Indian users did not have access to Apple’s AppleCare+ program. What users got instead was a standard warranty plan. With AppleCare+, users can avail up to 2 years of technical support and accidental damage cover. Apple has also started a dedicated phone and chat support line that will offer hardware and software support. With personal sessions, Apple can schedule a 1:1 online session with an Apple specialist when users purchase select Apple products. 

Product personalization options: Starting October, Apple will also start additional services to consumers, including Apple sessions for various subjects with a  focus on photography and music. Users will also get the option to signature gift wrap and adding a personalized engraving on select products. Engraving of emoji or text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu languages will be available for AirPods, and English engraving will be available for iPad and Apple Pencil.

While It might be hard to believe for people living in the west to think that Apple did not have its own retail network in a country as important as India, that, in fact, is the truth. It is also pertinent to note that India still does not have the concept of brick and mortar Apple Stores. This is largely blamed on India’s stringent FDI norms. With the government recently relaxing these norms, Apple is expected to also come up with its own Apple Stores in various cities across the country.