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South Korea upset over iPhone 4 delay

updated 12:35 pm EDT, Mon July 26, 2010

May help locally-made smartphones

The decision to drop South Korea from this week's list of iPhone 4 launches has generated some controversy in the country, says the Wall Street Journal. Apple CEO Steve Jobs actually announced the move on July 16th, saying that it would "take us a little longer to get government approval there." The current Korean iPhone carrier, KT, initially insisted that a July 30th launch was still on track; the company was later forced to admit that the phone would arrive "in the coming months."

Local media has reportedly been in an uproar, accusing Jobs of putting South Korea behind other countries, or outright lying about the delay's causes. Officials in the South Korean government are said to be unhappy, since they have spent the last year removing trade barriers to make it easier to sell foreign phones. Communications regulators, in fact, say that neither Apple nor KT have even submitted the iPhone 4 for approval.

The firestorm is said to be related to South Korea's perception of itself as a leader in high technology. The country has some of the fastest cellular and Internet networks in the world, and is home to Samsung and LG, two of the world's biggest electronics companies. Since the iPhone 3GS arrived nine months ago however local media had described a phenomenon known as "iPhone shock" -- a realization that Korean companies and the public are lagging behind in smartphone technology. Compounding this is news that Windows Phone 7 devices will not be available in the country until 2011, and that Samsung's own Bada-based phones are only shipping in Korea later this year, after their European launch.

Apple's delay will not hurt the company in the long run, analysts say. It may return some edge to Samsung and LG; the former has had success with the new, Android-based Galaxy S smartphone, selling over 500,000 units so far. LG is scheduled to launch several Android devices of its own in the next few weeks, products which will go unanswered by Apple.


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By Electronista Staff
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  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +2

    Koreans clamoring for the iPhone 4 pretty

    much shows that Antennagate didn't have much impact on consumers intent on owning an iPhone 4. It also reinforces the claims that since Koreans always had well-featured cellphones that they had no use for the iPhone. I would think that the Galaxy S is on par with the iPhone 4 for features, so Samsung should be happy and so would the government be happy that a Korean manufacturer will get a chance to sell more smartphones.

    I still don't see why they're saying that Apple is lying about holding up iPhone 4 release in Korea. What does Apple have to gain from lying about that. If the release date is held up, why couldn't there be a legitimate reason?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -4

    Re: Koreans clamoring

    Koreans clamoring for the iPhone 4 pretty much shows that Antennagate didn't have much impact on consumers intent on owning an iPhone 4.

    So, when the press and bloggers (and some gov't types) go all nuts over the antenna issue, it's just everyone overblowing an issue and trying to get publicity or whatever. But when it's going the other way, it somehow is proof of something grand for Apple?

    As the article states:
    Local media has reportedly been in an uproar... Officials in the South Korean government are said to be unhappy, ...

    Basically, it's media types and gov't officials who are 'upset'. Did it occur to you that, perhaps, the media is upset because they're being left out of the antennagate news story?

    It also reinforces the claims that since Koreans always had well-featured cellphones that they had no use for the iPhone.

    Please show us where people said that Koreans had "no use" for the iPhone. (And I love the generalizations - apparently not one person in Korea had use for an iPhone, huh?). I believe the claims were more along the line of "Koreans are used to such things, so there isn't a great demand for the iPhone as in some other countries, like the US".

    But, let's not worry about distorting facts when we can make it sound like everyone is once again just against apple!

    I would think that the Galaxy S is on par with the iPhone 4 for features, so Samsung should be happy and so would the government be happy that a Korean manufacturer will get a chance to sell more smartphones.

    The gov't is not unhappy at apple because the iPhone is delayed. They're unhappy at Apple for blaming the gov't for the delays, when they've gone out of their way to open the market up to competition. Apple's inferences make it seem like South Korea is still a very closed market to phones. (Probably Apple's way of dealing with low stock, instead of just saying "We can't make enough to meet demand!" they're saying "Well, we would, but it's the damn gov'ts fault!").

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +4

    I think that...

    ...Apple's only problem is keeping up with orders.

  1. climacs

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +3

    If only

    Samsung, HTC and Microsoft (kin you imagine it?) had that problem.

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