So you’ve always wanted an Apple device, but have never had the heart to part with more than Rs 10,000 for it. Your heart stopped when the iPod came around. It skipped a beat when the iPhone made the rounds. And it crashed and burned when you saw the iPad on your team leader’s hands — probably a gift from a over-taxed father-in-law, you reconciled yourself.
But hold on. Things aren’t necessarily as bad. Indians have always been spoilt for choice when it comes to big ticket devices, because the ‘Chinese’ and desi copy markets always come to the rescue soon enough.
“iPhone copies began to come in the market from 2009 onward and they were hardly priced at `8,000. This was nothing compared to what the iPhone actually cost,” says Rahim, who retails phones from the ‘electronics corridor’ near Anna Arch. And people loved the copies because they were better suited to their needs — not only did they not need iTunes, an account or a toolkit to pull out the battery, they could also load and unload music and photos at will, without worry of piracy infringements.
In fact, things became better for many Indian consumers when desi brand acquired licenses and offered near-enough copies of popular phones, with a legit bill and warranty — at a great price. “They’ll never admit it, but the rage that these copied devices created on the market is one of the reasons why Blackberry and Apple sliced down prices and developed phones that were tailor-made for Indian users,” says Abhishek S, who runs an advertising and marketing analytics firm.
With the shift from phones toward external devices having become more pronounced in the West, it stands to reason that the rest of the world will follow suit. And just as the night follows day, the copy-makers will ensure they’re on board - the masses are counting on it.