Mumbai: A day after Apple CEO Tim Cook—during his on-going India tour—announced two development centres in India, entrepreneurs and developers have lauded the company’s efforts to improve engagement in India.
Blaise Crowly, founder of Xincoz Lab and a prominent internet activist, pointed out that the new announcement by the company will provide the iOS developer community in India with a great platform.
“As the iOS development space is a lot about the quality of the apps, I feel that this move can help a lot of developers improve the quality of their applications making use of the guidance in terms of best practices and design standards,” said Crowly.
He said that India has always offered better opportunities for Android developers in contrast to the ones working on iOS apps. This is partly due to the high price of many Apple products compared with the availability and access to Android platform for development.
“If apple can close this gap by providing labs where developers have access to the platform or by providing cheaper developer devices they will be able to largely boost the ecosystem. Another angle they can work on is by building groups such as what Google is doing with GDG,’ he added.
Another Bengaluru-based serial entrepreneur, tech-evangelist, and founder of Webfosys Group, Om Thoke, said that the announcement will be a great boost to all aspiring iOS developers in the country.
“When you've an iOS app dev center officially from Apple, in your own city, you can always walk in. Physical presence always brings greater interaction, and better understanding,” Thoke said.
When asked about other steps Apple should take to engrave its footprint in the country, he was positive about the outcome of the development centres but feels that a lot will depend upon the way they build the community.
“We've seen Google doing all kinds of workshops, and Apple will need to do a lot of interaction with the community, organise weekly events, otherwise just launching the center wouldn't help.”
He also explained that iOS app-based ventures do not get too much attention from venture-capitalists as Indian market is ‘still perceived to be dominated by Android users’.
“The inception of the iOS app development centre, could also bring a radical change in the mindset of app developers, and compel them to take iOS platform more seriously,” he added.
Accelerator for start-ups
Indian start-ups also face difficulty when it comes to leveraging the iOS platform adeptly and many of them depend on freelance developers who lack the tools to meet quality standards.
“The accelerator facility for smart iOS app designing will help startups and entrepreneurs brush aside these problems,” Crowly said.
Even though Microsoft and Google have a considerable advantage over Apple due to their prolonged existence in India, Crowly feels that there is never a ‘too-late’ situation when it comes to innovation platforms. “If the platform serves the needs of the community and is accessable the time of entry will have little effect on its success,” he added.
Adding to the aforementioned point, Thoke said, “This is certainly a great time to enter the market, because there are still lots of developments happening, and by 2020 we'll see many more kick-ass app-based companies emerging out of Bangalore.”
Nakul Kapur, a new-age entrepreneur across mobile products, also testified to the fact that it is great for the app-based start-up ecosystem and the iOS developer community in India.
“With the iOS community getting stronger they will now have a platform to voice their opinions around apple policies and strategies. This in the highly competitive world of tech business can mean the difference between success and failure,” said Kapur.
Should refurbished phones be sold?
According to earlier reports, Tim Cook’s main motive to visit India was chiefly related to manufacturing smartphones and pushing their plan to sell refurbished ones; a move that will help them capture the price-conscious India market.
However, the move was not only rejected by the government but there was a large public outcry as well. However for users who donot know, there are websites such as greendust.com where people willfully buy revamped items.
Not only that, large e-portals like Amazon, and even Flipkart have sections for selling refurbished items. And, there is nothing worng in buying refurbished products; a lifehacker forum explained exactly why.
On asked if it was a good strategy for Apple to sell refurbished pieces in India, Thoke said, “Why not? Belkin has done this in past quite successfully for routers, and other devices, and in a price-conscious country like India, refurbished items always work like a charm.”
Crowly, on the other hand was a bit skeptical regarding the sale of refurbished phones. He said, “The company could instead try creating devices that meet the ecosystems needs in terms of specifications and price.”
The government had earlier denied Apple’s request to sell refurbished phones in India, citing increased e-waste generation and also on grounds of the company dumping old handsets in India.
However, mobile products’ expert Nakul Kapur said that the issue is a complicated one and both entities have valid points.
He feels that the government is right to protect the interests of the country people and to drive manufacturing in India. However, he is not totally against the concept of selling recycled products.
“Refurbished phones with their price difference will really bring iOS phones to the masses. So you can’t really bring this down to a simple yes-no issue,” he concluded.