Apple offering new incentives to make the iPhone more affordable in India

iPhone 4S

Apple may or may not end up selling a low-cost iPhone some day. But in the meantime, it’s continuing to make the current devices it sells more affordable, particularly in new markets for smartphones. In India, Apple is fine-tuning its pricing to make the iPhone more affordable — and stand out against competing Android devices from Samsung, ZTE and others.

Apple has started introducing trade-in offers that are particularly favorable to students. ZDNet reports:

Students who trade-in their old smartphones while upgrading to an iPhone will get 7,777 rupees (US$144). Non-students will be paid 7,000 rupees (US$130).

That’s in addition to an incentive for customers who use an American Express credit card to buy a new iPhone on a payment plan. Those customers will get 10 percent of their purchase back. Apple doesn’t have its own retail stores in India, but sells through a network of local, authorized retailers, many of whom only sell Apple products.

It’s a bit unusual for Apple to wheel and deal. But the iPhone maker has been tweaking its pricing strategy and incentive offerings in markets where smartphone ownership has only recently begun to take hold. Earlier this year, Apple introduced low and no-interest payment plans for iPhone buyers in India; similar to what it is offering in China. India is a country bearing huge potential — it is an example of what CEO Tim Cook means when he notes the potential of billions of people who have yet to own a smartphone. And as Om noted recently, there are 900 million mobile connections, and so far there are just 2.5 million iPhones in use.

As the iPhone matures especially in established markets, Apple is turning to fast-growing regions whose people are just now joining the smartphone revolution. It knows it can’t sell $600 smartphones to everyone. And so little by little we’re seeing Apple customize its approach to different markets, including selling older model iPhones through carriers, allowing brand-conscious young people to pay for the cachet of the iPhone brand in installments, or reaching customers through deals with local institutions.

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