Did you know Apple has had a presence in India for over 20 years? After all that time, the company is finally launching its online store in India on September 23. However, so far we have been purchasing Apple devices through e-commerce websites, and authorised resellers in brick and mortar stores. So why does it matter that Apple will soon have an official retail presence in the country? Well, let’s take a look at the advantages offered by an official Apple online store as compared to an e-commerce website, or an offline reseller.

1. User Experience and Interface

If Apple’s online store for the US is any indication, the online store in India will offer a really nice interface and experience. You don’t need to search for products nearly as much as you would on, say, Amazon. Simply head over to the product category you’re looking for, and start configuring your device per your needs. Personally, that sounds great to me.

Speaking of not having to search for products, one of the biggest issues with shopping for Apple devices (or any other devices, actually) online is the fact that there are just way too many listings for the same device from different sellers, many times at different prices. Plus, there are almost always some fake listings, or knockoff products listed to make them look real.

2. Fully Configure Your Device

This is very important to me, and I suppose to a lot of customers. While Apple has offered configuration options in the US and other countries where it has its retail presence for years, India has been left behind.

Configuration options for a 13-inch MacBook Pro on Apple’s US online store

This is an especially big issue if you’re buying a MacBook, or an iMac. You can only buy pre-configured models of these devices in India. Which means even though Apple probably sells a configuration more suited to your needs, chances are you wouldn’t find it in India.

However, with the Apple online store, the company is bringing configuration options to India as well. So the next time you buy a new Mac, you can configure it with your preferred amount of RAM and storage.

3. Customise Your Device with Engraving

Apple will also offer engraving in India now. So, you will be able to get text or emoji engravings on your AirPods, iPad, or Apple Pencil. In fact, on AirPods, you can get text engravings in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

4. Better Trade-in Value

Also offered on the official Apple Store are trade-ins for eligible products. This isn’t something new, exactly. As such, you can get exchange offers on Amazon and Flipkart. However, with Apple’s trade-in, you usually get a better deal if you’re exchanging an Apple product for a new Apple product.

For example, I checked on the US Apple Store what my MacBook Pro would fetch me in trade-in for a new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Turns out, $410. That’s quite a lot. In India, on Amazon, I’m getting ₹16,000 for it. Now I know, the conversion makes a difference, after all, we can’t be sure what trade-in Apple will offer on its Indian online store, but chances are it will be good. Or at the very least, you will have more options to look at. Either way, it’s a win-win for us.

Update:

The Apple online store in India currently only offers trade-in for iPhones. Which means my plans to get a new MacBook Pro by trading in my old one are kaput for now. Still, you get a pretty solid trade-in value on the Apple Store for iPhones.

For example, Amazon India is offering me ₹8,850 for my 128GB iPhone XR. The Apple Store, on the other hand, is offering ₹24,000 as you can see below.

5. Get Student Discounts Easily

Buying an Apple device as a student entitles you to a student discount. In most cases in India, you can only avail this at a physical retail store. However, with Apple’s online store, you will be able to apply for a student discount and get your preferred Apple devices at a discounted rate.

This applies to current students, their parents, lecturers, and staff. So chances are you’ll be able to get a nice discount anyway.

6. Extend Your Warranty with AppleCare+

I’m sure you’re all aware about Apple Care. It’s the warranty that comes with your Apple device. However, it doesn’t cover things like accidental damage, and believe me, you will need it at some point in your device’s life. Fortunately, Apple provides Apple Care+ for an additional price which covers accidental damage and extends your warranty to three years (two years in India).

Up until now, you couldn’t get Apple Care+ in India. However, you can now directly buy Apple Care+ when you shop for your next Apple device from the official online store.

It’s optional, obviously, but it’s usually recommended to get it so you don’t end up paying way too much money for an accidental crack on your screen or something of that sort.

7. More Trustworthy than Online Sellers

Remember how I pointed out that a lot of times listings on online websites are of fake products, and sometimes from fraudulent sellers? Heck, you must remember all those stories about people buying iPhones or other devices and getting bricks and bars of soaps in their packages, right?

With the official Apple store, you wouldn’t need to worry about that. After all, you’re buying directly from the brand that makes the product, and it doesn’t depend on third party resellers to sell the product to you anymore. That means you can shop online with more confidence, which is great.

There are Some Drawbacks As Well

While there’s a lot that’s good about an official Apple online presence in India, there are some things Apple misses out on as well. For one, the prices on the Apple Store are higher than those on platforms like Amazon, usually.

See, for example, the iPhone 11 Pro which is priced at ₹97,599 on Amazon India for the 64GB variant. On the Apple online store, this is priced at ₹1,06,600! That’s almost ₹10,000 more.

Another, and this isn’t really a drawback, just something that Apple should have included in India as well, are Apple Gift Cards. These are available to purchase on Apple’s US online store, but not in India.

Apple’s Official Online Store will Make Buying Apple Products Easier and Safer

While Apple’s online store is currently not live in India, these are the benefits that Apple itself claims it will offer in the country, plus, some of these opinions are based on how the US online store works. Obviously, once the store officially launches on September 23, I will be taking a good look at how it works and all the options it offers and updating this article accordingly, so make sure you check back for more details.

That said, it’s certain that an official online store will definitely make it easier to shop for Apple products in India. As customers, we will get more choices, more configuration options, and of course, customisation options as well, with engraving choices and gift wrapping.

So, are you excited about Apple’s official entry into the retail space in India? Let us know in the comments.