Apple will open its first retail store in India next year and an online store this year, CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting at Apple headquarters on February 26, CNET reported. Cook told shareholders that opening a store in India has taken time because Apple has been trying to get approval to operate without a local partner. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the development to MediaNama and said that they had “nothing further to add to what the CEO said at a public forum”.

In August 2019, the 30% local sourcing FDI norm was relaxed for single brand retailers in India. At the time, it was also announced that retailers could sell their goods online up to 2 years before opening brick and mortar stores. Earlier, online selling by single brand retailers had to be preceded by brick and mortar stores. After these FDI norms were relaxed, Apple had said that it would take it some time to get its plans for a physical retail store underway in a statement.

Other highlights

  • On encryption: In response to a question about complaints that Apple is not cooperating in an investigation about a shooting on a Florida Navy base, Cook said that Apple had given law enforcement agencies all the information it had. He further said that Apple or the government should not have a backdoor into iPhones as the backdoor can never be just for the “good guys”, CNET reported.
  • On freedom of expression in China: The shareholders had moved a proposal for the company to report whether it has “publicly committed to respect freedom of expression as a human right”. The proposal criticised Apple’s 2017 move to delete VPN apps from its App Store in China. Although the proposal was defeated, 40.6% shareholders voted in favour of it, Reuters reported. Apple had opposed the proposal saying that it already gives extensive information about the apps it takes down at government requests.
  • On venturing into enterprise-grade healthcare data: Cook said that he did not see the company doing that in future as the patient should own the data, Apple Insider reported.
  • On Apple TV Plus programming: When asked why Apple did not buy the rights to the Friends reunion, Cook said that Apple TV Plus is about original programming and a rerun wouldn’t have fit into that model, CNET reported.