The iPhone 14 series was unveiled by Apple a couple of weeks ago, and it finally went on sale last week. This is the onset of the season when you call your relatives living in the US if they can bring you an iPhone when they come to India.
However, this time around, Apple has made some changes to the US iPhone 14 series models, making them e-SIM only, which might stop people from importing them. Another factor that can limit quite a few people from purchasing the new iPhone in India is the inexplicably high price of not only the iPhone 14 Pro and the 14 Pro Max but also the regular models if we compare them to the pricing in the United States.
However, can you get around the high pricing and the e-SIM limitation if you buy the iPhone 14 series from the US and would it make sense? Let us help you and find the answer to some of these questions.
What is the price difference between US and India prices of the iPhone 14 series?
The US price of the iPhone 14 series is considerably lower than that of India. For context, here are the details of the pricing of the iPhone 14 series in the US:
- iPhone 14
- 128GB: $799 (approx Rs 63,700)
- 256GB: $899 (approx Rs 71,600)
- 512GB: $1099 (approx Rs 87,600)
- iPhone 14 Plus
- 128GB: $899
- 256GB: $999 (approx Rs 79,600)
- 512GB: $1199 (approx Rs 95,600)
- iPhone 14 Pro
- 128GB: $999
- 256GB: $1099
- 512GB: $1299 (approx Rs 1,03,500)
- 1TB: $1499 (approx Rs 1,19,500)
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- 128GB: $1099
- 256GB: $1199
- 512GB: $1399 (approx Rs 1,11,500)
- 1TB: $1599 (approx Rs 1,27,500)
In comparison, this is what India’s price of the iPhone 14 series looks like:
- iPhone 14
- 128GB: Rs 79,900
- 256GB: Rs 89,900
- 512GB: Rs 1,09,900
- iPhone 14 Plus
- 128GB: Rs 89,900
- 256GB: Rs 99,900
- 512GB: Rs 1,19,900
- iPhone 14 Pro
- 128GB: Rs 1,29,900
- 256GB: Rs 1,39,900
- 512GB: Rs 1,59,900
- 1TB: Rs 1,79,900
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- 128GB: Rs 1,39,900
- 256GB: Rs 1,49,900
- 512GB: Rs 1,69,900
- 1TB: Rs 1,89,900
As you can see for yourself, there is a difference of Rs 17,000 in the base models of the iPhone 14 & 14 Plus, while there’s a massive gap of almost Rs 50,000 in the base model prices of the iPhone 14 Pro and the 14 Pro Max. Of course, you can buy it from the US to save this price difference, but does it make sense? To answer the question, there are a few things to consider first.
$30 premium on Unlocked iPhones + Sales Tax
Now, for those unaware, Apple charges a $30 premium on its iPhone 14 series if you buy an unlocked variant. And if you are planning to use it in India, you will have to buy an unlocked iPhone. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use an Indian carrier’s SIM card. This would increase the base model price of the iPhone 14 to $829, which converts to Rs 66,000. But, even then, this would be less than the iPhone 14 price in India.
For iPhone 14 Plus, the US price of the unlocked base model translates to Rs 74,000, which is again a better price. iPhone 14 Pro price also bumps up to Rs 82,000, and iPhone 14 Pro Max price goes up to Rs 90,000. All of these prices still look better than Indian prices, and there’s no issue up until now.
An additional sales tax is applied based on the state from which the iPhone is being purchased. Some states in the US apply 8 to 10% sales tax, which will further increase prices. However, the prices are still lower than what you would pay in India, only if you get the device from one of your relatives or friends and not import it yourself via a service such as Amazon, as that will force you to pay customs duties of 22%. By following the latter procedure, you may end up paying even more than what you would have if you had bought it from Amazon India, Apple India or other Indian retail stores.
No Satellite Connectivity
With the iPhone 14 series, Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, which combines custom components deeply integrated with software to allow antennas to connect directly to a satellite, enabling messaging with emergency services outside of cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. This feature is available only in the US & Canada as of now.
However, importing or buying an iPhone 14 series device from the US doesn’t mean the feature would work in India. This is because there is no service provider to support the feature here in the country.
Switching to e-SIM
iPhone 14 series in the US has another caveat or advantage based on how you see it, which is that it supports e-SIM only. This means that you won’t be able to use a physical SIM card inside the device, and you will have to stay with an e-SIM for the rest of your time with your iPhone 14 series device.
To use an iPhone 14 series device from the US or any other e-SIM phone in India, users will first need to switch their number from a physical SIM to an e-SIM. They can do so by getting in touch with the respective telecom’s customer care. Fortunately, major Indian telcos like Jio, Airtel and Vi do support e-SIMs.
Further, in India, Jio is the only operator which supports e-SIM carrier activation. With eSIM Carrier Activation, your carrier can assign an eSIM to your iPhone digitally at the time of purchase or if you call your carrier for an eSIM after setup. This doesn’t mean that Airtel and Vodafone Idea aren’t supported. Both these carriers support other ways of activating eSIM on iPhone, like scanning a QR code or using a carrier app.
However, if you are unwilling to switch to e-SIM, you may purchase the smartphone from India itself, as the rest of the world (including India) get a physical SIM slot.
Warranty on iPhone 14 series
Buyers purchasing iPhone 14 series from the US may be worried about the warranty but they don’t have to. This is because iPhones are sold with a global warranty, meaning you can claim the warranty on an iPhone 14 series device purchased in the US in India as well.
The conclusion is that if you are willing to stick to e-SIM and you also think that you will be holding on to Apple iPhones for a while, you can purchase the device from the US because that would benefit you in terms of the purchase cost. However, even if you decide to switch to an e-SIM-supporting Android device, the swap should be an easy process.