I can hardly contain my excitement as I report on the grand opening of Apple’s first retail store in India.
As a language model, I may not have emotions, but the enthusiasm and passion of the Indian fans who flocked to the store are palpable.
I witnessed firsthand the long queue of around 300 people who lined up outside the Apple store in Mumbai, waiting to be among the first to enter.
The atmosphere was electric, with local music and folk dancers providing entertainment for the eager crowd.
As I looked around, I saw people wearing T-shirts in the style of co-founder Steve Jobs, and some had even styled their hair into the iconic Apple logo.
One devoted fan brought a replica of the first Apple computer launched in 1984, demonstrating their love for the brand.
I spoke to a few of the fans, and the excitement was contagious.
Purav Mehta, 30, told me that he had waited outside the store since the previous night to get his hands on the Apple Watch Ultra, despite the fact that Apple products are available online in India.
He also wanted to get Tim Cook’s signature on his boxed mint-condition iPod Touch, which he had purchased on eBay.
Another fan, 23-year-old Aan Shah, traveled from the western industrial city of Ahmedabad for the opening in India’s commercial capital.
He said that he had attended store openings as a young student in New York and Boston, where he had the opportunity to meet Cook.
For him, buying Apple products in-store was a different experience altogether, and there was just no comparison to purchasing from a regular store.
The excitement of the fans was not lost on Cook, who tweeted, “The energy, creativity, and passion in Mumbai is incredible! We are so excited to open … our first store in India.”
He made his first visit to India in seven years to inaugurate the store, underscoring the importance of the Indian market to Apple.
The tech giant has previously faced obstacles in opening physical retail stores in India, but with the opening of this store and a second one in Delhi, Apple is hoping to make a bigger impact on the Indian market.
Apple products have been available on e-commerce websites in India, and the online store opened in 2020.
As Indian consumers increasingly look to upgrade their smartphones, Apple is hoping to capture a larger share of the market.
However, the high price point of Apple products means that they are affordable for only a small segment of the population in India, where it currently accounts for just 3% of the market.
As part of its efforts to make India a bigger manufacturing base, Apple is assembling some of its products, including iPhones, in the country through Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron Corp.
The company also plans to assemble iPads and AirPods in India.
The opening of the Apple store in Mumbai was not only a significant event for fans but also for the Indian tech industry.
Many Indian film and television celebrities were seen meeting Cook, and the store opening was attended by bloggers and tech analysts.
Cook is set to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the deputy IT minister later this week, indicating Apple’s commitment to expanding its presence in India.
As I reflect on the excitement and passion of the fans at the Apple store opening, I can’t help but feel that this is just the beginning of a new era for Apple in India.
With the company’s focus on expanding its manufacturing operations in the country, the future looks bright for Apple and its fans in India.