Before the iPhone 3G was launched in Japan, some analysts were saying the iPhone would have a difficult time gaining ground in Japan due to it's lack of 3G and the cultural elements like scanning QC codes or a way to enter Japanese characters, or Sony's RFID-based "FeliCA" swipe chip for using Japanese vending machines. While this all may have been true for the iPhone, the iPhone 3G is enjoying great success.
We thought that all iPhone 3Gs around the world were made equally, but it turns out we were wrong. With the original iPhone, putting the device in silent mode mutes all sound coming out of the device. The same is true for the iPhone 3Gs around the world, with the exception of one country. In Japan, the shutter noise of the Camera app cannot be muted completely. Strange, yes, but not nearly as strange as the reason for it.
It looks like the 5th Avenue Apple Store isn't the only one seeing some pre-iPhone 3G launch excitement. Japan carrier Softbank is seeing crowds of people line up at their flagship store on Omotesandou street, Tokyo. At the front of the line is Hiroyuki Sano, who will be the first person in all of Asia to be getting an iPhone 3G (assuming Hong Kong stores open later that day).
Apple posted their guided tour for the iPhone 3G a little while ago, but for those of us who don't understand English, Apple has posted a Japanese version of their iPhone 3G guided tour. While this probably isn't going to be all that important if you don't speak the language, it is kind of interesting, and they do a longer demo of the Chinese character recognition tool in the keyboard. You can check it out here. [via MacRumors]
According to a survey from RBC Capital Markets, the majority of customers planning to purchase a smartphone in the next 90 days are planning to get an iPhone. Following Jobs's announcement at WWDC of the iPhone 3G, RBC surveyed 3,600 members of it's Technology Adoption Panel. Of those the participants, a whopping 56% said that they planned to buy an iPhone. Before the features and pricing were announced, that number was at only 35%.
TokyoMango has posted a video demonstrating the new Japanese language input system for the upcoming 2.0 software that Steve mentioned at the keynote. It appears from the video that it's running in the iPhone SDK simulator. Video after the break.
According to these squiggly lines, Masayosi Son, CEO and founder of Softbank, stated at the company's 24th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders held in Tokyo recently that he believed that Softbank would sell out of iPhone 3G units within hours of it's launch in Japan, despite it's US$214 and $316 price.
Japanese carrier Softbank has announced the pricing details for iPhones in Japan. They will be selling the iPhone on July 11 at the subsidized price of ¥23,040 ($215) for the 8GB and ¥34,560. They have also confirmed that customers will be able to pay for the device over a period of two years, and will come with a "come with a 5,985 Yen monthly data plan". Tokyo-based analyst Hiroshi Tamashina predicts that Softbank will sell around 1 million of the device within it's first year in Japan. [via Bloomberg]
Apple has announced several iPhone carriers in countries around the world, but NTT DoCoMo in Japan is not on the list. They were long rumored to be the most likely candidate for Apple to choose, but for one reason or another they couldn't close the deal and SoftBank won out. Now DoCoMo CEO Masao Nakamura is defending their inability secure Apple's latest device.
Despite the fact that the iPhone has done relatively well, the Japanese aren't feeling the love. According to a new iSHARE study, 91% of adults polled say thay have no plans to buy the device when it becomes available on July 11th. Of the remaining 9% nearly all (8.9% 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.