The new iPhones are finally here. They bring many cools to the table, but at the same time these upgrades can be called incremental for the most part. But as Apple has always been, it's more about the flagship experience than the flagship specifications … a phone larger than the sum of its parts. And for the next smartphone season, I expect the iPhone 11 to be the phone to hit, at least in terms of sales volume.
Because of what these phones offer, they are undoubtedly very desirable. Everyone wants a phone that works just fine – No long charging times, reliable cameras that get the image you wanted in the first try, battery life that you can rely on rather than add to your worries.
But in recent years the definitions and expectations associated with flagships have changed. They do not necessarily mean a smartphone that is expensive priced, and the focus on using the software to get most of the advanced hardware included is rising. In times like these, affordable flagships are the new fury.
What exactly is a flagship?
Until a few years ago, the terms of cheap prices and flagships were not really used together; but then we got OnePlus, Xiaomi and the rest of the Chinese smartphone manufacturers to set their sights on the Indian market, and that was the best thing that could have happened to us. You see, India is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, but is also extremely price sensitive. While everyone would love to own a premium flagship, not everyone can get hold of one.
Affordable flagship ended up being a masterstroke in such a scenario. Not only that, they could put pressure on older smartphone companies including Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony where consumers began to question the price tags associated with their premium flagship. There is no better example than the Indian smartphone sector because the competition is good for the customer. These older companies had to rethink their strategies for India, or come up with brand new offers that could go against each other with the aforementioned competition.
Why don't companies just start making "Lite" flagships again?
But it is not easy for brands that have a certain market perception and personality to suddenly start playing in a price segment lower than where they usually shop. Pricing is a big part of the view that makes these phones so desirable. Brands were facing the question ̵
This is not an easy question to answer, as a product will determine the fate of two or more series. A typical high reward dilemma with high risk, which can either get them two winners in two separate segments or sell very few of each. Also the corners that would need to be cut to allow for a cheaper variant of the flagship must be selected very carefully. After all, it is still the flagship experience that they market and a unit that is smaller than it can spell doom for them.
It's still a pretty appealing concept and brands are still figuring it out. The iPhone XR, for example, was a golden goose for Apple. It brought much of the iPhone XS goodness to a significantly lower price point and surprisingly became the best-selling smartphone in the following months. Apple enjoys a level of desirability that is unmatched in the tech space, and small price reductions are big sales increases. This is further highlighted by simple statistics such as the iPhone 6 being the best selling iPhone in India, about three years after it was originally released.
Who did it right?
Samsung was one of the first big players to jump on board this trend by creating the Galaxy S10e earlier this year. It provided minor downgrades like a Full HD + screen, a smaller camera and a smaller battery, but could price it below Rs 60K in India. Whether the downgrades worked well is a discussion for another time, but being able to buy a Samsung S Series flagship in the 50K segment was a dream come true for many potential customers.
2019 was also the first time we saw OnePlus adopt a dual smartphone strategy. It was already a market leader in the premium segment (phones priced over Rs 30,000) and was looking to replicate the success to an even higher price point. But for a brand that started its journey in the sub-Rs 25K segment, a phone worth nearly twice as much as a hard sell, especially considering they still had quite a few pieces to iron out.
The corner cut in the budget segment would not be acceptable in the ultimate premium space. The answer came in the form of OnePlus 7 Pro, which brought a completely new design, a screen that is still unmatched and versatile (eventually) camera setting. This also allowed them to move down the regular OnePlus 7 at a starting price lower than its predecessor, which no one saw coming. This change worked beautifully for them, as there is now a large OnePlus smartphone in all segments from Rs 25K, up to 60K.
But as we talked about in the past, these affordable flagships often fail as well. Everyone remembers the disaster that the iPhone 5C was, and the poor communication around it only reinforced the hassle of their poor product choices.
More recently there was outrage over the smaller Samsung Galaxy Note10. It was a less than applaudable effort, marred with wrong downgrades and an overall uninspiring Note 10 series. Note 10, or even Note 10+, is not a terrible device, but to Samsung's accident, it came at a time when the competition was better in some important aspects or cheaper. Samsung really needs to step out of the park with the S11 series, especially after the launch of the iPhone 11.
Good products can become a victim of failed marketing  In terms of failed flagships, we should talk about Xiaomi's Redmi K20 series, which based on who you are you will probably hate to the core or recommend wholeheartedly. In India, Xiaomi (or Redmi, to be technically correct) saw tremendous success in the budget segment. After about five years of existence, it was finally considered to create an advanced flagship device that was supposed to send shivers along the competition, all of which were significantly more expensive.
On paper the Redmi K20 Pro was the perfect flagship with the latest Snapdragon 855, a large Super AMOLED screen without a notch, a meaningful triple camera set on the back, an eye-catching design and a reliable battery. There is very little they could have added to the mix. What went wrong for them was the long time gap between the Chinese announcement and the official Indian availability, which allows consumers (and probably even the competition) to fix erroneous expectations from the Redmi K20 Pro, especially in terms of price.
The matter got even worse when the Redmi K20 (non-Pro) was confirmed to start at R9 2990. It was essentially K20 Pro in all aspects, except for the chipset, which implemented the Snapdragon 730 instead of the 855. The Snapdragon 730 is no slouch and best of all, the flagship class Snapdragon 845 and 855 when it comes to performance features. But for the average consumer, this was an expensive device running a Snapdragon 700 series processor and expected it to be a little lower. Yes, Chinese pricing was a little better, but isn't that the case with almost all Chinese products?
This was also a perception debacle, as the Indian market could only associate Xiaomi with the budget segment; one of the reasons why the Mi-series with flagships never did well in India. Redmi faces the same task once again by communicating the value proposition to the market and not letting the feeling of its flagship be too expensive to promote. A classic case of a brand struggling when it wants to break from its consumers' product and price expectations.
#AppleEvent Indian Pricing (INR) 7th Gen iPad 10.2 ": 29,900Watch Series 5 GPS: 40,990Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular: 49,990iPhone 11 (64GB): 64,900iPhone 11 Pro (64GB): 99,900 iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB): 1.09 900 September 10, 2019
Apple did an amazing job this time creating the story that the cheaper iPhone 11 is the one for the masses, and the iPhone The 11 Pro is for those who want to squeeze out all the tools from their phones and aren't that price sensitive, and that's further reflected by the series' pricing as well, with the iPhone 11 being fairly competitively priced without skimping on any of the essentials and the 11 Pro starting at
Prior to the launch of the iPhone 11 series, we speculated that the iPhone 11 will be a very important product for Apple if it wants to survive in India and with a starting price of Rs 64,900 before discounts, it seems like they delivered.
About iPho ne XR was the best-selling smartphone for the first half of 2019, I have no doubt that the iPhone 11 will continue that legacy. Start your countdown to when Apple aggressively starts marketing the iPhone 11 in India.