Following up on a January report that Apple planned to produce inexpensive iPhone 6s models at a new production facility in Bengaluru, India, the countrys Economic Times said today that Apple is trialing iPhone 6s Plus production, with plans to begin domestic manufacturing in two weeks. Apples goal is to meet government requirements necessary to reduce the price of iPhones within India. According to the report, Wistron has set up a new assembly line for the nearly three-year-old iPhone 6s Plus, which is currently one of Apples most popular phones in India. Due to government policies, producing the phone within India can cut its price by 5 to 7 percent, though Apple will need to produce Indias entire demand for the model within the country to see the full savings. The price could drop further if Apple sources phone components and packaging within the country, an effort thats already underway. Indias struggles with imported technologies are well-documented at this point, as its government has used increasingly steep tariffs to encourage domestic manufacturing of products consumed within its borders. The country raised imported smartphone tariffs from 10 to 15 percent last December, and then from 15 to 20 percent this February. Even before the tariffs, premium-priced iPhones have been at a disadvantage in the price-conscious and technologically developing country. Apple has seen some success, however, by selling its oldest and/or lowest-priced phones in India. To that end, the iPhone SE — Apples only iPhone with a 4-inch screen — is already manufactured in Indian factories, providing the government with the jobs it seeks while diminishing taxes on that model. The company also has a dominant share of the countrys smaller premium smartphone market.
Apple may start iPhone 6S Plus production at a new factory in southern India to lower the models price, local media outlet The Economic Times reported today. It may start manufacturing in Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, in two weeks. By setting up a local factory, Apple aims to slash Indian iPhone prices, as a response to government policies that tax foreign phones. Indias government raised tariffs on smartphones from 15 to 20 percent in February, forcing Apple to seek new measures to drop its prices and stay competitive. Local manufacturing could cut prices by 5–7 percent, according to the report, if Apple manages to make all iPhone 6S Pluses sold in the Indian market domestically. If prices drop that low, iPhones could become as affordable as OnePlus phones or certain Samsung phones, The Economic Times notes. Another way for Apple to cut additional costs would be to make parts and packaging all within India as well. Earlier this month, the Indian government announced a 10 percent customs duty on circuitboards, camera modules, connectors, and other parts, The Economic Times reports. A lot of the policies are meant to boost the local smartphone economy in India. In India, the almost three-year-old iPhone 6S Plus remains popular as it costs less than other flagships like the iPhone 8 or X but has many of the same core features such as a 5.5-inch retina display, a 12-megapixel camera, and 4K video recording. The iPhone 6S Plus also has the advantage of coming in rose gold, a discontinued color for newer iPhones. Another, older model, the iPhone SE, is also succeeding in the market because of its cheaper price, in part a result of being built locally. The iPhone 6S Plus will be the second phone assembled in India, but since its not fully manufactured there, it will still be subject to certain taxes. According to The Economic Times, Apple may add more models to production in the months to come. An IDC report from last year noted that Apple only controlled 2 percent of Indias smartphone market and analysts recommended the company focus on a premium positioning of its smartphones. Weve reached out to Apple for confirmation.