iPhone – big in Japan or not?
I’ve had this post waiting to be written for a few months now. Luckily, the time that has elapsed since the articles I’m referencing have been written haven’t made this post any less relevant. Note that the Wired article I reference has since been updated by their editor due to a lot of reader feedback.
I understand when you’re writing for the media, it’s temping to inject your headlines and article titles with a lot of hyperbole. Depending on who your employer is, many times it gets you more hits (and more money).
I came across this article on Wired.com back in February, Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone.
Pretty bold title …was it true? The writer, Brian Chen cites out-of-whack pricing plans, high and complex standards of users and lack of a TV tuner as the larger hurdles Apple is up against.
Fair enough. I am well aware that Japan has pioneered in many technology markets (but not necessarily innovated) and are far ahead of us in many respects.
But a few months later I came across this article at Electronista, iPhone dominates Japanese smartphone market.
The iPhone is currently the best-selling smartphone in Japan, at least at retail, according to a recent survey. Gathered by research firm BCN, data from 2,300 stores shows the 8GB iPhone 3G as the most popular smartphone, followed by its 16GB sibling.
The Japanese iPhone is carried by Softbank, which is said to have adjusted its plans to make the product cheaper in terms of fees and hardware. The iPhone may also be benefiting from a relatively static local market, which has little incentive to develop new features beyond items like better cameras, sharper displays and mobile TV.
Now the Wired article was written 26 Feb 2009, and the Electronista article was written on 3 Jul 2009. What I can surmise from these two articles is either:
A) Brian Chen at Wired.com is full of shit and the Japanese don’t hate the iPhone
B) Consumer opinion of the iPhone has changed dramatically in the 5 months since the Wired article was written due to Softbank’s ‘adjustments’ mentioned in the Electronista article. Consumer opinion changed so much so that they went uout and bought enough iPhones to make it the #1 smartphone in Japan.
If B) is the case, that’s a pretty impressive 360 degree turn in consumer opinion.
Whatever the case may be, always try be well-informed on news – be it political, technological, social or artistic.