Apple Pulls iPhone 4 from India

Four-year-old handset to be retracted from other emerging markets as well

After resuming production of the iPhone 4 to compete in emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and China, Apple has decided to halt sales of the 2010 handset and push the 4S instead. One of the cited reasons was the poor performance of iOS 7 on the iPhone 4.

One of Apple’s trade partners is cited by Times of India as saying that the company will pull iPhone 4 from all markets, beginning with India this week.

Another partner said that the 2010 handset had served its purpose in the country, “it doubled the consumer base of iPhones to more than 25 lakh people in one year. And, iPhone users generally being brand loyal, it's unlikely that these users will migrate to any other brand,” this person reportedly communicated to the paper.

One of the reasons behind the move is the poor performance of iOS 7 on the handset, something many customers have accused in the past.

“Apple has been globally chided by the tech community for the poor performance of its latest operating system on iPhone 4 and hence this factor too played a role... since it mars the entire Apple experience among first-time buyers,” this person added.

Another reason is the buyback program, which now yields offers for the iPhone 4S comparable to those that were available for the iPhone 4.

“With the buyback offer, iPhone 4s is now Apple's largest selling model by the number of units sold and also amongst our top five selling models," said Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO at The Mobile Store, India's largest cellphone retail chain.

Sathish Babu, founder of cellphone retail chain UniverCell Telecommunications, added, “It's been a tactical move by Apple whereby consumers are willing to pay a little more for a newer model.”

Indeed a great deal of customers blamed Apple for not optimizing iOS 7 to run well on the relatively old hardware when the firmware made its debut last year. Users reported freezing and constant crashes of their apps, making the phone unusable in some cases. Some even argued that Apple was engaging in a practice called “planned obsolescence.”

Probably a third reason for the retraction (which the report doesn’t mention) is the upcoming availability of newer models, particularly the iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and another rumored version that sports a 5.5-inch screen.

It’s common knowledge that Apple slashes at least $100 (€70) off the last-generation model whenever a new model is introduced. Price-wise, the 4S will essentially take the place of the iPhone 4 in just a few months from now.

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