The new eighth-generation iPad has an improved camera, better sound and great battery life
The new eighth-generation iPad has an improved camera, better sound and great battery life

Techilicious by Rajiv Makhni: The Apple onslaught in India

With new watches, new iPads and a new online store, this is just the start of the brand’s attempt at India-domination
Hindustan Times | By Rajiv Makhhni
UPDATED ON SEP 27, 2020 08:53 AM IST

Apple seems all set for world domination. And specifically India domination with its all-new Apple Watches (two of them, one almost specifically made for the Indian market) and new Apple iPads (with the eighth-generation iPad now becoming a real powerhouse at a great price point). But the biggest salvo it has fired into the Indian market is the opening of its Apple Store in India (online right now but the offline retail stores should follow soon). I’ve been flooded with questions on all these things, so here’s a good old FAQ on the Apple onslaught in India.

Two Apple Watches for the first time. Which one should I buy?

The Apple Watch is the largest-selling watch. Now with the affordable SE version at a lower price, this number will rise. To achieve this price, some things didn’t make it to the SE version.

But first, let’s check out all the new stuff on the Apple Watch 6. It hasn’t tinkered around with the design, a very powerful new S6 chip that makes this a rocket on your wrist, the new U1 chip and the ultra wide band antennas, which enable short range wireless communication protocols, the screen is now 2.5 times brighter (visibility out in the sun is no problem now), accurate detection of elevation changes, plus the big one – a sensor designed to measure blood oxygen between 70 and 100 per cent. This, along with other sensors, can help manage things like asthma, influenza and even Covid-19. Apple Watch Series 6 will start at 40,900 for the GPS-only variant and Rs 49,900 for the cellular one.

Apple care has been legendary and this will teach other brands what real service is all about

Now for the SE version. The material it’s made of is not so premium, the screen isn’t at the same level, it has an S5 chip inside (which is a pretty powerful little thing), but other than this, the SE is a fantastic smartwatch. It can do most things that the previous versions of the Apple Watch could do. For the GPS-only variant Rs 29,900 and Rs 33,900 for cellular capabilities.

Two new iPads. Did Apple do anything big in these? Should I buy any of the new ones or stick with my previous one?

Well, let’s put it this way. The new eighth-generation iPad at Rs 29,900 is literally the best tablet at this price point. And it’s really become super powerful as it runs on the A12 bionic chip with a neural engine. Better graphics capabilities, improved camera, better sound, smoother performance with the Apple Pencil, great battery life and preinstalled with the awesome iPadOS 14. No reason really to buy anything else. Until you cast your eyes on the iPad Air. Thinner, better-looking, great ergonomics and now comes with the A14 bionic chip (theoretically, this makes the new Air faster than the iPad Pro that comes with the A13 chip). This thin-slate now comes with a USB Type-C port and that’s a huge leap. It’s way more expensive, but if you want the absolute best in terms of performance and looks, the Air is the way to go.

The SE is an affordable version of the Apple Watch
The SE is an affordable version of the Apple Watch

Apple Store coming to India is huge. But why is it coming only online, what about their offline retail stores and what can I expect with Apple entering India directly with its store?

The rumour and near confirmation that Apple is entering retail in India through its own stores has been around. Maybe Covid-19 threw those plans off and it decided to start online and then enter with its iconic offline stores. Apple is in 30 countries with Apple Store Online and with this, comes a big difference in the way we’ve bought Apple products in India. Bigger portfolio of products, quicker launches, custom-built Macs, personalised engraving on Apple products, Apple Service support in English and Hindi, 30-minute free personal set-up sessions when you buy a new product, ‘Today at Apple’ online sessions, Apple trade-ins for old Apple product when you buy a new one and one-day and two-day delivery for most locations in India. Apple care has been legendary and this will teach other brands what real service is all about.

That then is the Apple onslaught in India. New watches, iPads and store. And that’s just the start. The new Apple Silicon MacBooks and new iPhones are around the corner. My estimate? Less than 30 days from the time you read this.

The views expressed by the columnist are personal

From HT Brunch, September 27, 2020

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