Stuff I Say

Japanese People May or May Not Be Interested in the iPhone

Posted in Apple, Mobile Computing, Mobile Telephony by 51future on July 3, 2008

It’s hard to tell.

The survey–this time conducted when people had heard a bit more about the iPhone and its pricing–gave a list of several devices either just out or soon to come out. The iPhone was #1 on the wish-list of the Japanese respondents…

Even the 9% survey was a stretch–if 9% of Japanese cell phone owners bought an iPhone, it’d be a coup for Apple and Softbank. But 58%?

Basically, there was this survey that I saw some press on briefly in June, talking about the iPhone, which is now contradicted by another survey by the same company? that says that 58% of the respondents were most interested in the iPhone out of a group of upcoming and/or currently released smartphones. But even before that there was this survey that was done around the release of the original iPhone that said that 40% were interested in the iPhone– and that was the model without GPS or 3G.

I think the big difference here is that the survey conducted in June was based on a negative headline: “iPhoneにない“電池交換機能”に高いニーズ” and was primarily about whether or not people wanted a Softbank iPhone. It contained a lot of leading questions like (literally translated): “It’s been decided that Softbank will release the new iPhone; do you want it?” I can’t find a link to this newer survey in Japanese but according to Nikkei Electronics, it sounds like this new survey was primarily aimed at smartphone users, which obviously would come to different conclusions than the previously released figures.

But I think the most important information here is the fact that most Japanese smartphone users wanted to limit their monthly access fee, which sounds like a bad translation to me, but I assume that this means that they’d like to curtail the high fees that are usually associated with unlimited data. Softbank charges about 1,628円 per megabyte of data transmission off-plan, so it’s not surprising that people were worried about data charges. I pay even more for my data at DoCoMo (about 1,000円 for 128kb of data by my calculations– that’s on a “packet plan” too). Which is why I pleasantly surprised by the price of Softbank’s unlimited iPhone data plan for 5,985円 per month, even though a few people I talked to in the USA were shocked by the price.

But it’s clear that a lot of people remain duped by the phone companies. From the looks of the survey, it looks like their business customers don’t even realize that the e-mail they send is considered data, nor do they realize, I imagine, the theoretical utility of a VoIP application on an ubiquitous 3G network like Japan’s. Although it’s pretty unclear what exactly people on their phones are doing when I hear things like this:

Those free minutes may mean more to you, but not to me–I make phone calls other than to my wife maybe once a week, most often to my office.


One Response

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  1. Corey said, on September 18, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Here is a video showing the great way Japanese people are putting the iphone’s multitouch interface to use.

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