7 good reasons Apple’s iOS in India plans make utter sense

Apple's decision to open an iOS development center in India makes economic, business, scientific, and international sense.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, OS X, Apple Car, WWDC, India, development

An elephant in the water at Sakrebail Elephant Camp.

Credit: Hari Prasad Nadig/Flickr

Apple is making a smart move in India. The company has announced it will open its first iOS App Design and Development Centre in the “Silicon Valley of India”, Bengaluru in 2017.

India innovates

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited India this week.“With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we are giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” he said.

Industry group Nasscom expects India to become the second biggest tech startup ecosystem across the next two years. Apple’s iOS research facility will help improve the software and provide developers with resources to help them build even better iOS apps.

Big money

The $100 billion Indian software services industry employs around 3 million staff and is forecast to grow at 13-15%. This growth isn’t entirely organic, India’s government is investing heavily in fostering technology business through the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ mission for example. Private investment funds also exist, such as the $250 million ‘Innovate in India Fund’ from Infosys. India secured near five billion dollars of tech innovation funding in 2015.

Educated

India has a highly educated workforce already in possession of many of the skills needed to build tomorrow’s tech today. “India is an important global innovation hub, with both local and global organizations conducting critical R&D activities,” said Thomson Reuters’ Pradeep Lankapalli. “Patenting activity is growing rapidly and this has a direct impact on the country’s economic growth.” Apple’s new iOS development center will put Cupertino in position to benefit from all this innovation.

Research base

India’s a powerhouse in technology research. Scientific output has doubled across the last decade, with research budgets growing up to 25 per cent a year according to Nesta. Why wouldn’t Apple want to stake a position within this environment? “India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” Cook said.

Connected technology

Remember HomeKit? Apple is focused on developing the smart connected home, but it doesn’t stop there. Anyone who has ever put a little energy into exploring the implications of these technologies already understand that these solutions go all the way through to smart infrastructure, smart energy, smart agriculture, smart cities and, of course, smart cars. India plans to create over 100 smart cities in the coming years. Smart cities for an Apple car?

Investment everywhere

All the R&D and India’s switched-on approach to nurturing tech innovation is attracting lots of attention from big international tech investors. Already over 70 private equity and venture capital funds and 80-plus technology incubators and startup accelerators are active in India. That’s also driving a wave of mergers and acquisitions as the big international firms acquire Indian start-ups, such as Twitter’s ZipDial purchase.

Connected nation

The number of people getting online in India is growing rapidly. The emerging Indian middle class is connected, creative and also ready to consume the best products, which is why Apple has also confirmed plans to open its first three Apple retail stores in India. However, GDP still lags meaning the company will need to widen and diversify its range in order to become accessible to people there.

So what has India been working on?

Nasscom’s report (written in 2015) says developers in India have been focused on:

  • Wearable technologies,
  • Big data and analytics,
  • Augmented reality,
  • Hardware,
  • Education,
  • Advertising,
  • Healthcare.

Join the dots and you’d have to be dumb to ignore Apple has a big interest in each of these sectors. Apple's investment in India isn’t solely focused on selling products, but also on enabling the best developers in the country.

Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said: “Initiatives like these move the country forward in our efforts to advance a growth-led and sustainable technology sector.”

With all these statistics to back it up, it’s clear Apple’s plan really is ‘insanely great’.

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