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Apple CEO Tim Cook 'joins' Akash Ambani at iPhone 8's India launch

MUMBAI, Sept 29: For the first time ever, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed media at an India launch even of the new iPhones. The Apple CEO 'joined' Reliance Jio's chief of strategy Akash Ambani via video conferencing as the company rolled out the all-new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones today at the company's headquarters in Navi Mumbai.

In the short video, Cook greeted with 'Namaste' and talked about the new iPhone 8 models and their key features. He spoke about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus' glass and metal design and added that the new smartphones come with a more powerful chip, cameras and a new operating system. He said that the latest handsets feature an improved HD display.

"Namaste, to all my friends in India. Thank you for coming out today for the launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. A special thanks to Mukesh and everyone at Jio for hosting the celebration for iPhone customers. At Apple, we are incredibly excited about this new generation of iPhone - iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. They make everything we love about iPhone even better," said Cook.

For India, Cook said that the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus now support a keyboard in Hindi and can also take dictation in the same language. He thanked all the app developers from India for contributing. He concluded his message with Diwali greetings, wishing everyone a 'Happy and safe Diwali'.

"We're excited to be building so many new relationships in India, including tens of thousands of developers across the country now writing apps for iOS. I want to thank everyone again for joining us on this journey and being here today. I wish I could be there with you. Enjoy iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus. I wish everyone a very happy and safe Diwali," he added.

At the event, the Ambani scion who is on the board of Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) revealed a bunch of offers that the company is giving with the new iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus phones. The two smartphones that were unveiled earlier this month, will be going on sale later today in the country.

For those unaware, Reliance Jio is offering a monthly plan of Rs 799 along with the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. The plan includes 90GB 4G data, free calls and free text messages. Furthermore, buyers will get up to 70% cashback if they enrol for the company's iPhone upgrade programme. Under this buyback scheme, they can return their handsets after a year and get 70% value of the device deducted from the cost of their next purchase.

Other Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus offers

Flipkart's offers on iPhone 8 include EMI options starting at Rs 2,188 per month and 5% cashback for those who purchase the device using Axis Bank Buzz Credit cards. The EMIs for the 256GB variant will start at Rs 2,632 per month.

As for the iPhone 8 Plus, the e-commerce firm is giving EMI option starting at Rs 2,495 per month for the 64GB version. The 256GB version will start at 2,940 per month.

Interested customers can also get up to Rs 23,000 off on the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus as a part of an exchange offer. Cashback offers of up to Rs 10,000 from Citi Credit and World Debit Cards are also applicable.

Amazon is also offering the iPhone 8 at up to Rs 12,100 discount as a part of an exchange offer. Customers who already own an iPhone will get an additional Rs 3,000 off in exchange. In addition the e-commerce giant is offering the handset on 3,6,9 and 12 month no cost EMI options on select credit cards. regular EMI options are also available starting Rs 3,043 (iPhone 8 64GB). These are available on all three colour variants and both the storage variants.

Apple launches iPhone 8, 8 plus and X

Sept 12: Alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the iPhone X (pronounced as iPhone Ten) which features several cutting edge technologies including near-bezel less display, and support for wireless inductive charging. The iPhone X comes in two storage variants - 64GB and 256GB - priced at $999 (roughly Rs. 64,000) and $1,149 (roughly Rs. 73,600) in the US. iPhone X price in India starts at Rs. 89,000, and the country will be among the first wave of launches. Pre-orders (including India) start on October 27, and will hit stores from November 3.

The first thing you notice on the iPhone X is a near bezel-less display on the front side. It is larger than ever at 5.8-inch. There is a notch on the top, but the company has pushed the screen resolution to 1125x2436 pixels, more than any previous generation iPhone models, and calls it the Super Retina Display.

The iPhone X is the future of smartphones, the executives said. Apple is doing away with the Touch ID, the fingerprint scanner embedded with Home Button that it introduced with iPhone 5s model. The iPhone X hosts a range of sensors including flood illuminator, infrared camera, front camera, and dot projector to allow customers to unlock the iPhone X by just looking at it - a system called Face ID.

Face ID is faster and more secure than the Touch ID, thanks to specialised hardware and algorithm driving that hardware. "The facial recognition grows with time. It learns your face and adapts to your face" Phil Schiller, Apple VP of Worldwide Marketing said. "It works in day, it works in night." While Touch ID could be tricked one in 50,000 times, Apple said, Face ID sees one error in one million times, citing its own internal data. Face ID will work with third-party apps as well, Schiller said.

The depth-gauging front camera can be used for another purpose, Schiller said. You can create animated emojis - called Animoji - that resemble your facial expressions. Users can make use of this feature in Messages. The company is also betting on augmented reality as a selling point in the iPhone X model.

The iPhone X features a duo of 12-megapixel rear cameras, that are larger (f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures), and faster. It has deeper pixels, quad-LED True Tone flash, Schiller said. For the 7-megapixel selfie camera, the company says it is bringing Portrait mode feature, which it introduced with the iPhone 7 Plus last year.

In some ways, the company is testing the loyalty of its customers with the $999 price tag, about 50 percent more than the iPhone's usual $650 starting price, and more than it has ever asked before for its phone. Analysts however noted that the company might still be able to sell enough of these models. In a survey earlier this month by Creative Strategies and SurveyMonkey, 21 percent consumers said they would buy the costlier iPhone regardless of the price, though 33 percent existing iPhone users said they would not upgrade if it was too expensive.

"The most expensive iPhone model, an iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB storage, already costs USD 962 unlocked and SIM free. If Apple adds a new model which costs a few dollars more it will have no impact on consumers who are looking to spend $150. They are completely different market segments," Ian Fogg, an analyst with IHS Markit told Gadgets 360.

Apple didn't immediately share how much it had planned to charge Indians for the new iPhone models in India. But Fogg shared two possibilities on how it could play out in the country. "If the new flagship iPhone is genuinely different to other smartphones it will do two things for the mainstream India smartphone market: It will set a design theme which we will see other smartphone makers copy over the next few years, and eventually these design cues will be available in sub $150 smartphone models," he said. The sub-Rs. 10,000 smartphone market is the most popular in India, according to data from several marketing research firms.

"And, it will act as a halo product to encourage consumers to buy Apple’s entry level smartphone models, currently the iPhone SE and iPhone 6, so consumers who are attracted to Apple’s brand pick the models they can afford," Fogg added. "There will of course be some consumers in every country who are able to afford the most expensive iPhone whatever the cost. But Apple aims to create mainstream quality products, not a super niche luxury, not commodity products. A product which may fall into the luxury niche in India, could be a mainstream quality smartphone in Japan, USA, or parts of Western Europe."



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