New Delhi: The iPhone 4S, the final gadget unveiled during Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' lifetime, hit store shelves in India on Friday with a starting price of 44,500 rupees.
At about four times the US retail price where customers buy mandatory data-service plans, the phone may still find buyers among affluent young professionals in India who are snapping up iconic brands and luxury items.
Unlike their western peers, Indian mobile operators do not subsidise cost of phones.
Airtel and Aircel are selling the 16 GB model for 44,500 rupees, with the 32 GB version priced at 50,900 rupees and the 64 GB model available for 57,500 rupees.
Media reports last week said Indian fans were unhappy that the smartphone will be more expensive in India than anywhere else in the world.
Both mobile operators, which started selling the iPhone 4S from midnight on Friday, are offering discounted data plans.
The final gadget unveiled during Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' lifetime is more expensive that the iPad 2 in India, with the base model of the tablet selling for 27,900 rupees. Even its top-end model, with 64 GB of memory and WiFi & 3G, costs 46,900 rupees.
The new iPhone comes with a faster processor, a better light-sensitive camera, and voice-activated software "Siri".
On Friday, the Aircel website showed that the 64 GB version, both black and white, was sold out.
Features of Apple iPhone 4S
It boasts of a 3.5-inch 960 x 640p widescreen multi-touch Retina display and features World Phone capabilities.
Powered by the new iOS 5, this smartphone is integrated with a dual-core A5 chip processor that supposedly offers faster web browsing and considerably enhanced gaming experiences.
With its celebrated optics - which are said to be at par with mid-range digital cameras - and integration with the new iCloud service, the iPhone 4S takes smartphones to a new level.
The 8MP camera has a larger aperture, a custom lens, advanced hybrid infrared filter and face detection feature. Through this camera, owners can record videos in 1080p HD and also use the front facing VGA FaceTime camera for video chatting.
The 16GB iPhone 4S would be available in two colours- black and white.
Perhaps the biggest feature of the phone is the new voice-activated personal assistant Siri.
What is Siri?
Siri which is built using ages of research from DARPA and Apple’s own design labs, provides a compelling new way to use a phone, by talking to it.
Just talk to Siri as you would to a person: “Do I need an umbrella?” or “Any great burgers around here?” or “Where’s the closest ATM?” Siri not only understands what you say, it knows what you mean. It figures out the right apps to use to find the right answer. Then, just like a personal assistant, it answers you. Siri makes phone calls, sends messages, schedules meetings, sets reminders, and more.
Siri communicates using natural language, and apart from working, it also jokes. While people in English speaking countries are realizing their dreams of being Iron Man and talking to his personal assistant Jarvis, it remains to be seen how Siri adjusts with the majority of Indians speaking broken English with a complete disregard for proper grammar.
With Agency inputs
First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 19:41