Despite India being something of an emerging technological powerhouse economy these days, the decision to launch the iPhone 3G there has to be amongst the more bizarre made by Apple of late.
Heck, I would chance my arm and say that there is more chance of seeing someone really do the Indian Rope Trick than there is of Apple making a really stunning success of the iPhone 3G in this particular market.
Let me explain the two very good reasons why.
Firstly, and this will probably surprise many readers, Apple is launching the iPhone 3G into a country which has no 3G network. What's more, it would seem more than likely that India will remain without 3G for some time to come as government departments slog it out, and Draconian regulatory measures prevent network operators doing deals with each other to share connectivity within a few years of the 3G spectrum auctions finishing. Do not get me wrong, Apple and Vodafone are being upfront about this, and the small print on the relevant web pages do say "Currently compatible only with 2G networks. Only select features and services are currently available in India." But how many people will read that, how many will understand the implications, how many will just see the ads and read the online reviews and assume the iPhone 3G will do 'all that' in India as it does everywhere else?
Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, buying an iPhone 3G locked to a network contract in India will cost the same as the average family car. Yes, you did read that right, you can buy a car in India for the same price as your contract and that unsubsidised iPhone 3G handset.
Maybe I will be proven wrong, maybe there are enough Indian rich kids with more money than sense to make it a success. If reports I read are correct, and there really have been 200,000 pre-orders for the iPHone 3G, then maybe I will have to eat my hat. However, success has to be qualified, and will 200,000 sales be seen as a true measure of success in a country the size of India?