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Apple partners with Flipkart for online iPhone 7 sales in India

Apple has entered a direct partnership with Indian's biggest e-commerce storefront, Flipkart, in advance of the local iPhone 7 launch on Oct. 7, a report said on Friday.

Although Flipkart was previously offering iPhones and other Apple products, it was only doing so through third-party retailers, Mashable noted. This meant that it would occasionally offer steep discounts to match competitors like Paytm and Amazon India — in 2015, the iPhone 6s was sometimes selling for as little as Rs 45,000 ($675) on e-commerce sites, well under its official Rs 63,000 ($945) pricetag.

Under the new arrangement, Flipkart will likely keep prices high, pulling inventory straight from Apple's distribution channel. It could lose some customers searching for a better deal, but may be compensated by access to better supply and marketing, something crucial in the first weeks after an iPhone launch.

Flipkart will also offer other Apple products directly, like Macs and iPads.

Apple is still a minor player in the Indian smartphone market, dwarfed by companies like Samsung and Micromax. The overriding issue has been price — while most phones sold in India cost $150 or less, the iPhone 7 will start at $900, putting it well out of range of the average Indian. To date Apple has relied on older iPhones to keep up sales, even offering models that have long since vanished from other countries.