updated 10:20 am EDT, Mon July 14, 2008
Japan iPhone Demand Spikes
Japanese interest in the iPhone 3G surged to where more than one in seven Japanese phone customers has been considering an iPhone, according to a survey published today by iSHARE and conducted at the end of June. The researchers note that while a pre-announcement study showed just 8.9 percent of buyers considering an iPhone, that number has since climbed to 14.5 percent, a jump of about 63 percent in just a few weeks. Existing subscribers with official iPhone carrier SoftBank are disproportionately more likely to want the device, with exactly one in five (20 percent) likely to buy while just 10 percent of those with other providers mulling a switch of carriers to get the device.
Most of the shift came once customers were aware of the new device prices and the service plans, iSHARE says.
Of those set against the device, the largest group at 29.3 percent said it simply prefers whatever phone it already owns, according to the report. About 18.4 percent claim the iPhone is too expensive, while 16.7 percent blame excessive publicity for pushing them away from the phone and 14.2 percent claim the phone would be too difficult to use.
A full quarter of those turning down the iPhone also explained that they disliked having to switch to SoftBank, which has 21.5 percent of respondents and is eclipsed by NTT DoCoMo (40.5 percent of the market) and KDDI's au service (28.6 percent)
A relatively small group specifically cite the absence of features that are common on the Japanese market and at times considered essential to success in the country. About 12.6 percent demand a 1Seg tuner for digital over-the-air TV on the phone, while another 11.2 percent are looking for contactless mobile payment systems like FeliCa, which let cellphone owners buy items by bringing the phone physically near a terminal at a store.
The news comes on the heels of the actual launch of the iPhone 3G, which reports say had 1,500 customers alone lined up at SoftBank's flagship store in Tokyo's Harajuku district for the Friday release. Neither Apple nor SoftBank is believed to have broken down launch statistics by country. [title image via Akihabara News]