Apple – Elitist or not?

 By: Gurman Bhatia

Do you own an iPhone 4S? If you do, either you are benevolently blessed by the Goddess of wealth or you are a dedicated Apple fan. In a span of ten years, this very league of fans is what the technology giant has created. Though the creator and innovator has passed away, but the innovations still rule the heart of millions. Though they rule the hearts of many, in whose hands do they rest? That is what we are here to question.

A budget phone for Apple is an iPhone 3GS and costs around 20000 Indian Rupees. In a population where more than seventy percent still have phones costing below five thousand, the concept of a ‘budget’ phone is questionable. So it is indeed for the elite. So it does cater to that select 2-3 percent of the population which can spare a certain amount of money for the gadget they love.

Then why the hype around Apple? What does the love entail? Why the excitement? Apple dares to put a price tag of a whopping Rs 60000 and expects that people would pay the amount for a talking female robot – ‘Siri.’ After all it is Siri that makes the iPhone 4S exclusive-it makes it “the best iPhone ever”. After the iOS 5 update is taken out of the Dual Core Processor,the iPhone 4 is same as the iPhone 4S except for of course, Siri. Who pays that much for a phone that responds to your voice? I know there is a lack of people who could help, but I need not pay 20000 more for a robot who can understand when I say ”call Jack” and not when I say ”Jitender”. That would not work in India. A person would spend that much money only if he/she wants to flaunt the new iPhone and flaunting is for the upper-classes.

Credits: Gurman Bhatia

The iPad is one thing that is known to have revolutionized the market as its entrance marked the emergence of a new segment-that of the Tablet. At first when it came, it became THE gadget. People who were using both a Laptop and a Smart Phone wondered what purpose this particular gadget would serve. Yet, they went for the device. Later on it started being used for presentations, reading, gaming and education. But, you did all that on your phone and you did all that on your computer as well. Why was there a need to spend an amount (with which you could buy a decent laptop) on a device that was somewhat restricted as far as the basic functionalities were concerned? The whole concept of the Tablet seems over-rated in my opinion. Its just a cumbersome and over-priced phone sans the functions of calling and texting.The Mac – One great device, that did not go down well with Indians. Windows still happens to dominate the scene. The very idea of a Mac is somewhat aristocratic. Now this is one product which I believe is under-rated. What makes for the lack of Macs amidst the Indian consumers?Firstly, it is the lack of official Apple Stores. Second comes the pricing and limitation of external softwares. Another factor that discourages people to go for a Mac is the fear of the switch to a relatively novel Mac OS from the usual Windows. The fear of switching to a ‘difficult’ and ‘complicated’ operating software was very evident. Yet, how can one ignore the fact the the Mac is a looker? How can one ignore the speed?.The price here is acceptable for the product that you get, but the attribution of the same as an item of luxury poses as a problem.The iPod – Now this device did extremely well. Reason – the price. Starting at Rs 2000 and going upto Rs 12000, this product became the one device that everyone wanted. From the ten year old kid to his sixty year old Grandmother, this was something that even the so called middle-classes could afford. It was revolutionary  as it changed the way we listened to music. It in fact,changed the way people ‘carried’ music.As soon as the other brands start getting positive feedback, Apple goes on a suing rampage. It believes that every other attempt on a Smart Phone or a Tablet in the market is a violation of their copyright and is a replication of their design. The latest one being their issue with South Korean electronics giant Samsung. Is it really the similarity of the design or is it Apple’s insecurity towards the success of the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Tab? Is this threat so difficult to bear?The rivalries go on pounding. First with computers and Microsoft then with the Phone market and Samsung. Apple is known for being the bad guy. Now, is this because it is exceptionally great and other brands are jealous? Or is it because Apple wants to stay at the top and is insecure?


We leave you with this and a little bit more to question. Is Apple there in the market for the common man/woman and if not, will it ever be?

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9 Responses to Apple – Elitist or not?

  1. I am quite the Apple fan myself, and hav repeatedly asked my father to buy me an iPhone. And with every refusal, I’ve wondered the same- why couldn’t be cheaper? :D
    Well, having almost completed the biography of the man behindthe company, I can now understand and perhaps answer my own question.
    Apple, rather Jobs, wasn’t a believer in huge sales volumes or even profits. He just wanted to make quality products and quality products are expensive to make and as a result, they are expensive to sell too. Apple in India may seem elitist, especially with brands like HTC and Samsung offering you iPhone rip-offs for much less, but you can’t deny the quality of an Apple. It makes you feel good. So much so, and here I speak for myself, it makes you feel like you have to earn it! No offence to Cadbury!
    And earn it is what I shall do one day :D
    And Siri for the Indian accent is under the anvil, or so you hear.

    • You answered the very question for yourself. The idea that you have to ‘earn’ it and the way it makes you ‘feel’ good, is rather elitist. :)
      Though you want the product, it is hard to get. :)

      Siri doesn’t have a problem with the Indian accent, rather the problem is with Indian words. Indian names and Indian addresses are hard for the smart voice assistant to comprehend. The good thing is – it adapts according to your usage.

  2. My favourite topic Gurman! I wouldnt deny Apple isnt elitist especially in regards to India and the price for Siri is too much. though I am Apple fan(fan of the awesomeness n quality) I hate the fact that they are acting as idiots by not giving enough importance to India!/ Are all the luxurious brands entering India fools? Totally agree with Mac n the Ipod n the Ipad. The Ipad though I really like it is of no use(even other tablets) if you dont add apps to it(free apps arent good enough you gotta pay)! When Iphone 4 was launched in the US you could get it with AT & T for just $99. What are we fools? I guess we are coz at the end of the day everyone is seduced by Apple. I just keep asking myself WHAT NEXT for Apple? When does this end?

    • It does not end anytime soon for sure. :)
      The fact is that it has established that brand value that has bypassed all. And it has done this without catering to all segments. That is the problem here. The Pricing for iPhone 4S is not only for Siri but the couple of hardware changes also that come with it. Yet, can Rs 58000-59000 ever be justified for a phone?

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  4. Its Android all the way. Android is the perfect opposite and answer to elitist/costly/ exclusive Apple. And this coming from this thing called Google makes it even more attractive. There is a 7000 Rs Android and there is also a 30,000 rs android, the experience differs but the feel of smartphone doesn’t go away, the navigation, buttons, browsing, entertainment are still pretty much the same.Android Phones perfectly follows “You pay for what you get”. Because of the huge competition of android phone makers, they provide amazing hardware at cut throat prices, that always helps enhancing users experience especially if its gaming, entertainment and probably allow it have more updates.

    Don’t like typical android, root your phone and use custom ROM.

    Android gives you vast system with so many options to choose from. with Apple you have same hard ware, same OS, same camera, same experience, same upgrade path.

    People who are interested in tweaking, customizing their phones, choosing from lots n lot of options are definitely gonna love android ecosystem.

    • Definitely!

      I am an Android Fan myself.
      Before Android came into the picture, the smartphone experience was limited to the ‘elite’. Android enabled it to reach the masses.
      And then the fact that Android is Open Sourced. With iPhone Apps you need to get them approved. But with Android, anyone can develop an App and put it online for the public to use.This system actually ends getting the market half full with unusable stuff. But at the same time, its makes it more creative and definitely cheaper.

      The same old icons on the iOS give me a sense of boredom. Android however lets you change. Widgets, Notifications, Launchers…You get to have it however you want it to be.

      But the thing is, its not just about an iPhone or an iPad. Apple is a lot more that. When you talk about an Mp3 Player, you would first think of an iPod. Cause that is where it all started!
      And believe me, a Mac DOES have its own charm.

      Amidst all the name that Apple has created for itself, and the branding that it comes with its the mental image that the layman has created. It has turned into that stage you have to reach within your list of achievements. When I become successful, I will buy a Macbook/iPhone. And believe me, I know such people. That mental image was what we were aiming at.

      But yes, in practicality you are absolutely right. Android IS a great alternative to the never ending Apple’s circus with its pricing.

      Thanks for taking out the time to read!

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