updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed June 18, 2008
Japan iPhone 3G Study
Despite the relative success of the iPod in Japan, the iPhone 3G isn't likely to get an immediate footing in the country, according to a new iSHARE study. Of the Japanese adults polled, 91 percent say they have no plans to buy the device when it becomes available on July 11th. Of the remaining nine percent, nearly all (8.9 percent of the total) said they planned to purchase the device. Slightly under half of these are users already signed up for SoftBank, the carrier picked for the initial Japanese launch.
The demand is a slight decrease from nearly a year ago despite the reduced pricing and features, the research group notes: about 9.6 percent were committed in July 2007 to buying an iPhone if made available for their carrier. About 62.2 percent of the survey group was also seriously considering the device after weighing its features and availability.
iSHARE doesn't make a direct explanation for customers' choices but notes that SoftBank is relatively small in the Japanese market with 22.9 percent of those polled using the network. Originally government-backed NTT DoCoMo holds the clearest lead at 39.8 percent of all the subscribers in the study, while KDDI's au service is used by 26.9 percent of the group.
The researchers also attempt to make the absence of a removable battery a point of contention in the study and say that 77.1 of those asked prefer a removable battery, though the report doesn't specifically ask respondents which if any technical reasons are considered hurdles to buying the iPhone.
Japan has been historically resistant to adopting non-native phones both due to network limitations and for technological preferences. Japanese networks require 3G cellular service both for calls and data, excluding many 2G-only phones altogether; most media-intensive phones in the country also focus on services such as the Japan-only 1Seg digital TV standard as well as very high resolution (800x480) displays, neither of which will be available with first-run iPhone 3G models.