iPhone 5c Blue Yellow

Now we know why Apple recently pulled its four years old iPhone 4 from store shelves in India, just a few months after re-introducing the handset to the 1.24 billion people market in January: according to a new report by an Indian newspaper, the Cupertino company is gearing up to launch its 8GB iPhone 5c in the country by early next month.

Apple’s mid-tier handset with eight gigabytes of storage will cost Rs 35,000/37,000 with a buyback offer, which works out to about $585/$618 in U.S. dollars…

The Times of India wrote Monday that Apple bets that the handset will help it gain share in the Rs 30,000-40,000 smartphone segment dominated by Samsung and Sony.

It is likely to be priced at around Rs 35,000-Rs 37,000 with a buyback offer that could bring this down to around Rs 30,000, according to four people who are local trade partners of the Cupertino-based company.

That would make it about Rs 2,000 cheaper than the 16GB version with a buyback offer.

In addition to competition, the handset should help improve Apple’s margins as the iPhone 4/4s used to represent the bulk of iPhone sales in India. The average selling price (ASP) of iPhones has dropped globally by $41 in the March quarter, down to $596.

Many analysts attribute the ASP drop to the January iPhone 4 relaunch in India and the iPhone 4s price cuts in emerging markets.

In this regard, the 8GB model of the iPhone 5c should “do well in India, since most consumers in India do not care much about the storage memory if there is a good price and deal,” a source told the paper.

iOS 7 teaser (iPhone 5c ad 007)

In March, Apple rolled out the 8GB iPhone 5c in emerging markets and select European territories where it had lost significant ground to Android. The markets where the 8GB iPhone 5c is currently available for purchase include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and China and fourteen other countries.

The handset is not available in the United States, a territory where Apple traditionally enjoys a dominating share of smartphone sales. The company publicly said that the handset is aimed at mid-tier markets where “LTE is becoming more established.”