Reliance Jio-powered Apple iPhones in the offing

Nearly two million Reliance Jio-powered iPhones will soon make it into the Indian market as Apple Inc chief executive Tim Cook, who is on his maiden visit to India, is believed to have entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Reliance Industries, according to a PTI report.

Such a partnership will boost iPhone sales while also providing a fillip to the new telecom service Reliance Jio.

The decision to enter into a strategic partnership, which is believed to have been approved by Cook in principle, was taken in a meeting between Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and Cook in Mumbai, from where the Apple top boss started his India tour on Wednesday after arriving late on Tuesday. The Apple boss is on a charm offensive tour of Asia to boost the dwindling iPhone sales globally.

India is a key market for Apple as it is the fastest growing smartphone market and has recently taken over from the US as the second-largest smartphone market globally.

In addition to Jio-powered iPhones, both business leaders have also decided to deploy an enterprise solution for Relaince's retail outlets under which the Cupertino-based technology major will provide iPhones and iPads to its shop-floor employees to improve consumer experience.

While Reliance is believed to have pitched for the tie-up as Apple's iPhones bundled with Jio data will make a lucrative offering for consumers, Apple has asked Reliance to push its Apple Pay service in all its retail outlets.

 ''Jio is better placed among all other telcos to form a strategic partnership with Apple to push its products in other corners of the country,'' Tarun Pathak, senior telecom analyst, Counterpoint Technology Market Research, told PTI, adding that Reliance was going to take the dominant role in the partnership.

''Apple Pay is directly in contrast to Jio's own JioMoney wallet service and in case of Airtel, Wynk is in direct competition to Apple's Music services,'' Pathak explained. However, it will be interesting to see how the long-term strategic partnership moves forward.