India will get its first Apple Store in 2021

Tim Cook has confirmed that Apple plans to open its first Apple Store in India, with an estimate of 2021 for the shop’s creation. The Californian giant will start selling its products online in India this year, meanwhile. 

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Cook made the revelation during Apple’s annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, discussing areas of potential growth for the business. It’s taken a while for it to get to the point of confirming that a store will open, largely due to recently-imposed regulations from the Indian government.

In 2018 it enacted new laws to prevent foreign brands from setting up single-brand stores in the country without seeking and being granted special permission to do so by the government. It would seem that Apple now has that permission, paving the way for its first brick-and-mortar store in the territory.

Of course, Apple could have instead sought to partner with a local business to sell its products, but Cook said that the company is averse to partnerships of this kind, largely due to its stringent expectations of control. 

While Apple has been making iPhones in India for some time and selling them through third parties, the fact that it will now be able to directly sell its own products could be a boost for its revenue expectations in the market. Whether this eventually leads to Apple opting to make lower-cost handset to meet the massive demand for affordable phones in India will be borne out in time. 

Shareholder questions

The gathered shareholders in the Steve Jobs Theatre on Apple’s campus had the opportunity to ask about a range of topics, and did so. This included quizzing Cook on Apple’s ongoing policy of not unlocking phones for law enforcement in the US – his response: “In essence, the question is: Should Apple have a backdoor or should the government have a backdoor into your iPhones, and we say ‘No’.” 

He was also asked why Apple hadn’t thrown down big bucks to secure the rights to the Friends reunion in the offing, making it a draw for Apple TV+. Cook said that reruns simply don’t fit into Apple’s vision for the service at present, which it sees as depending on original programming. 

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