On Friday, technology behemoth Apple announced the opening of its App Accelerator in Bengaluru, which will provide specialised support for developers on Apple’s iOS platform.
According to an official release from Apple, this support will include tools as well as best practices from the company to hone the developers' skills and improve the performance of apps built by them on the iOS platform.
Last year in May, Apple’s CEO, Time Cook, had announced this new initiative to set up an iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, during his visit.
At that time, he had said,
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world. With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we’re giving developers access to tools that will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.”
Further, Apple states that each week, the company experts will lead briefings and provide one-on-one app reviews for developers. While providing specialised briefings for over 500 developers every week, Apple Technology Evangelists will also offer a detailed app analysis feedback for developers as they work to enhance their apps.
At the same time, the first-of-its-kind facility is looking to provide support and guidance on Swift, Apple’s intuitive programming language created to build apps for iOS, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Further, according to the Cupertino-headquartered company, Swift enables its developers to write safer, more reliable code, save time, and create richer app experiences.
Speaking about why Apple chose India to set up the accelerator, Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, said,
“We are impressed by the great entrepreneurial spirit in India, and are excited to provide a platform for these developers to share their innovations with customers around the world. In just the first few weeks, we’ve already seen some incredible developers here at the App Accelerator Bengaluru, including Practo and Reliance Games, create innovative apps that can meet the needs of customers in India and around the world.”
But what do members of the Indian ecosystem think about this?
Speaking on the initiative, NASSCOM President R. Chandrashekhar said,
“Apple’s commitment to the developer community through the opening of the App Accelerator is a tremendous investment in the future of India’s digital economy.”
He further believes that mixing a sustainable technology sector with leading-edge design and insights from Apple engineering may create an innovative pipeline that will have both local and global appeal.
Adding to the conversation, Shashank N.D., Founder and CEO of Practo, said,
“We are thrilled to be one of the first developers to collaborate with the team at the App Accelerator. The Accelerator has really helped us make the best use of iOS technologies to rapidly digitise and improve the healthcare experience for millions of consumers in India."
Moreover, the App Accelerator is now open to iOS developers in India through a sign-up process on the App Accelerator Bengaluru website.
Over the past years, Apple has enhanced its focus on India, while announcing a slew of initiatives including the setting up of development centres, apart from planning to manufacture locally in the nation.
The Apple Inc. team had been making the rounds of the power corridors in Delhi from the last week of January, meeting officials of the commerce and other ministries to seek tax concessions for manufacturing and setting up its stores in India.
However, while Apple had already announced it would start an assembly unit for iPhones in Bengaluru, the Centre had expressed its inability to treat the global giant differently, as it would mean giving it favourable treatment while ignoring the requests of other companies that had set up shop earlier.
This renewed focus towards India could partially be explained by the decline in the smartphone manufacturer's sales in China.
According to Quartz, revenues from China slipped 26 percent to $12.5 billion, with the country losing the title of Apple’s second-biggest market in the third quarter.
According to the publication, Greater China had overtaken Europe as the company’s second largest operating segment by revenue in the second quarter of 2015, when it contributed $16.8 billion to Apple’s top line.