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India delays iPad and Mac import limits until October 31

Chennai, India [Unsplash/Karl Janisse]

Apple has been given a reprieve from halting imports of MacBooks and iPads into India, after the government delayed the implementation of new limits by three months.

On Thursday, major device vendors including Apple, Dell, HP, and Samsung had to deal with new rules designed to limit the import of products that could be produced locally in India. By Friday, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the rules won't actually come into effect for three months.

Deputy IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Friday that there will be a "transition period" before the new policy is implemented, reports TechCrunch. During Thursday's introduction of the rules, the Ministry of Commerce had said the restrictions were being implemented immediately.

Under the Thursday order, device vendors had to apply for licenses to import hardware into India, such as the iPad or MacBook Pro for Apple. While hardware producers were expecting some form of import measures, the sudden introduction and initial implementation caught the companies off-guard and forced them to halt imports straight away.

The suddenness also has the potential to heavily impact sales during a typically lucrative back-to-school shopping period and Diwali seasonal sales.

The now-delayed import rules will instead come into effect on October 31, giving Apple and other major importers more time to prepare. This could take the form of increasing local hardware production, which Apple has gradually done in the country for some of its product lines.

"It is the government's objective to ensure trusted hardware and systems, reduce import dependence and increase domestic manufacturing of this category of products," Chandrasekhar tweeted. "It is about regulating imports to ensure trusted and verifiable systems and ensuring India tech ecosystem uses trusted and verified systems only that are imported and/or domestically manufactured trusted systems/products."

There was also a clarification for travelers, with the restrictions not being applied to passengers carrying affected hardware as part of their luggage.