Why Japan Doesn’t Like The iPhone

What don’t the Japanese like about this feature-rich device that’s forcing SoftBank, the official iPhone carrier in Japan, to have to literally give it away to get them out the door? Not enough bang for the buck and local brand loyalty, according to Global Crown Research analyst Tero Kuittinen. While the iPhone is considered the top of the heap elsewhere, Japan finds it unfashionably underwhelming.

“The pricing has been completely out of whack with market reality,” said Kuittinen. “I think they [Apple and its partners overseas] are in the process of adjusting to local conditions.”

He says that while we all see the iPhone as being the best of the best, phones in Japan’s market as a whole are considerably more feature-rich, and users aren’t getting the bang for their buck with the iPhone that they usually get.

Things like video recording and high-quality cameras are the norm these days. MMS is also big there. Many phones even have a TV tuner in the device that lets them watch TV in the palm of their hand at any time. And in a market where all of this is common, data rates are a lot lower, too, making the iPhone much too pricy in comparison.

Another issue is the need for a PC. Many users in Japan rely on their smartphone as a replacement for a home computer, but the iPhone requires a computer to run.

Even before the iPhone launched in Japan, analysts predicted the device would fail in the Japanese marketplace, and it wasn’t too long before their predictions were showing signs of coming true.

Based on this, the iPhone’s rapid decline is understandable. Without a feature update soon, the iPhone might not last much longer there. We can only hope Japan’s standards will carry over to the rest of the world.

[via Wired]

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