A report on Friday claims Apple has tentatively agreed to a proposed retail expansion in India that will see 500 new reseller storefronts pop up in underserved regions of the country.
Citing a source with ties to Apple, The Times of India reports the Cupertino tech giant is planning a major push into India over the coming months, supposedly in hopes of becoming a more mainstream brand. Currently, rival smartphone maker Samsung dominates the smartphone landscape in the country.
"All this will change now," the source said. "The company is finalizing plans to become a serious player in India, which is being seen as a strategic and one of the most promising markets globally."
Another person familiar with Apple's plans expects iPhone sales to triple in 2015. For the current calendar year running through September, Apple sold approximately one million handsets in India, but the expansion could boost numbers to above three million, the source said.
According to the report, Apple's plans likely involve local distributors Redington and Ingram Micro, which parse out products like the iPhone to Apple Premium Resellers, Apple Authorized Resellers and regional distributors. The new stores may take on a franchise model led by Redington and are said to range from 300 to 600 square feet, a sizable step down from the over 2,000-square-foot outlets currently operating in big cities.
Today's report echoes a similar rumor from March claiming Apple was working to open smaller shops in "tier II" regions of India. Reports at the time said stores would be smaller than 600 square feet and would focus on iPhone and iPad models along with lower-end Macs and iPods. At the time, there was no mention of franchising, as Redington and Ingram Micro were expected to run the outlets.