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Phil Schiller at Bengaluru App Accelerator: ‘India has grown dramatically important to us’

Schiller attributes it to the young population in India which makes Apple seek importance in the country.

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Once an occasionally noted economy, India has grown to become a key marketplace for some of the top names from the world of technology. The latest to hold a keen interest in India is Apple, which not only intends to expand its base in the billion people strong country but also aims to start manufacturing locally. Although its list of demands is exhaustive and still under the government’s scanner for approval; its senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller reiterated in his latest interview on how the company wants to offer the best to the Indian customers as well as developers.

On the sidelines of launching the company’s App Accelerator in Bengaluru, Schiller revealed in an interview with TOI how India garnered Apple’s attention and became dramatically important. He said, “Over the last few years, it’s grown dramatically in importance to us. This is a very exciting change, we see the opportunity for a huge market and a very young population and we want to be important here. We want to make products that this market loves. Our driving ambition in every market is to be the best, and not the cheapest, with whatever that means to customers. In India, we want to be the best provider of the things we do. We have started asking ourselves what it means to be the best in India – how is it like other markets and how is it different. Distribution can be different, network infrastructure is different.”

To put Schiller’s words into perspective, Apple recently put forth its proposal to start manufacturing in India. To achieve this, the company has sought a number of tax and duty relaxations. However, as the Indian government’s newest focus is on complete local manufacturing, Apple’s demands of bringing its supply chain or component makers in the country is getting mixed responses. Apple is thus focusing simultaneously on nurturing skills of indigenous developers with its App Accelerator where each week, Apple’s team will guide Indian developers to design best practices and refine their skills to create iOS apps. The first-of-its-kind facility will also provide support and guidance on Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language created to build apps for iOS, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

By tapping into India’s strong developer base, Apple wants to not only hone the skill set to make them capable of reaching out to the global market, but also set the tone right before it starts manufacturing in India. Having a skilled developer community will help Apple build products locally for both India and global markets. In addition to help grow Apple’s developer base, it will also potentially create more jobs in the country. ALSO READ: Apple OEM partner Wistron gets BIS certification for iPhone SE production in India

As Schiller notes in his interview, “We have a large base of developers here in India. The software talent is remarkable and the entrepreneurial spirt is second to none. Our rough estimate is just under half a million registered developers and if you include the extended number of people that are working with them on their apps, that should be somewhere around three quarters of a million people in the iOS app economy . We want to help them be more successful in the local market and there is a great opportunity for developers in India through our App Store to reach to the world. We want to use things that Apple is good at to assist these developers, like user interface design, we also want to give them our knowledge of the latest tech, the new frameworks and the new APIs.”

Going forward, Schiller says that Apple will be focusing on smart connect devices. “We are really excited about the work we are doing with Homekit and IoT (internet of things). Our homes are going to get smarter and smarter. We are working with content creators so that Apple TV not only provides a great experience, but apps on the phone work together with Apple TV so that it knows what you really like to watch,” he said.