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How Steve Jobs Got the iPhone Into Japan

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

Iphone 104

hcs_$reboot writes "Masatoshi Son, SoftBank CEO, remembers the early days when he tried to cut a deal with Steve Jobs in order to be the first to offer the not-even-named-iPhone-yet- 'new phone' from Apple, back in 2005. At the time, Son didn't even own a mobile carrier. He then purchased Vodafone, and was indeed the first to sell the iPhone in 2008 (then Au-Kddi in 2011, and DoCoMo in 2013). Today, 75% of smartphones sold in Japan are iPhones."

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WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480887)

I kinda like some Japense perspectives. But... this chanegs everything.

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 5 months ago | (#46480921)

Have you seen how big the Android phones are? Now remember this is Japan. :P

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46482581)

Actually, practically everyone in Japan had oversized cellphones before the iPhone took over. It's all essentially a status thing. Just look at the low iPhone usage across the sea in Korea and China.

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480981)

Why is yet another Apple Slashvertisement stinking up the front page?

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481253)

Because a requirement to join the Slashdot editorial team includes being a flaming homosexual. Duh.

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (1)

Enfixed (2423494) | about 5 months ago | (#46486029)

I don't care if I get down modded for life, this made me lol.

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46484021)

Not everything that mentions a company is an advertisement. If you want to circlejerk about how bad corporations are in every context, then try going to reddit.

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480983)

I kinda like some Japense perspectives. But... this chanegs everything.

There are a lot of gay Japs

Re:WTF is with the Japnese? Why such a high percen (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46484203)

I kinda like some Japense perspectives. But... this chanegs everything.

The Japanese have a very strong propensity to conform. So if your friends all have an iPhone, you need to get one too. They even do this when they decide to be a rebel. When I lived in Japan in the 1990s, all the "rebels" wore a plain white t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve, their hair greased back Elvis style, and they all hung out on a street corner in Harajuku. They all looked like clones of each other.

American saying: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Japanese saying: The nail that sticks up will be hammered back down.

who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480891)

whose job ?

Re: who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481759)

That Jobs guy who was a coke dealer in the late 80's. His street name was "Blow." He dabbled in blueboxing a few years before that.

BULLSHIT! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480901)

Android phones far outsell iPhones in Japan. See these charts as just one example

http://kakaku.com/keitai/smartphone/

IPhone sales only surpass Android sales for a few weeks after each new model comes out. Then it settles back down into the top 5 to 8 phones sold being Android phones.

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480957)

What chart are you refering to?

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 5 months ago | (#46480997)

I suspect the OP isn't native English. Think chart as in the music chart. It is more often described as a table(a type of chart), not the table with four legs. I hope that helps.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46481015)

What chart are you refering to?

yes a direct link would be useful for those of us who can't read Japanese!

Re:BULLSHIT! (3, Informative)

amoeba47 (882560) | about 5 months ago | (#46481163)

kakaku.com is the largest online price comparison shopping site in Japan, it's very popular. The page shows a popularity ranking list of smartphones. Here's a link to a detail page (ninki ranking / popularity ranking) showing a longer list, most popular at the top http://kakaku.com/keitai/smart... [kakaku.com]

Re: BULLSHIT! (4, Insightful)

Migity (1199059) | about 5 months ago | (#46481469)

It's still bullshit because anybody can go on there and rate whatever they want. It's not a real chart of sold items but a popularity contest.

Re: BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481987)

This and the biggest demographic : Old japanese people do not use kakaku, why everybody thinks that Akiba is Japan?

Re: BULLSHIT! (1)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#46482157)

So are you saying that in Japan, only old people use the iPhone?

Re: BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482343)

Kind of like Distrowatch.

Re: BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480967)

true that nowadays android sales far outweigh (though no stats backing that at hand...) iPhone sales in Japan - but two, three years ago everybody and their grandma had a fresh iPhone.
you still see a lot of iPhones around, but not necessarily new ones, and at least as many android phones.

Re: BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482031)

around me, I saw a lot of new iPhones switching from Samsung and others, so I can not agree with you

and yet you can find graphs like this (2)

glennrrr (592457) | about 5 months ago | (#46481033)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EZYE... [blogspot.com]
So who is right?

Re:and yet you can find graphs like this (3, Insightful)

Flytrap (939609) | about 5 months ago | (#46481961)

I think that the charts are depicting different things... the first is based on online votes (and we all know the kinds of people who flock to those), and the second is actual retail sales.

Mobile network operators do not care which mobile phone brand you choose (save for the amount of subsidy each brand may require)... as long as you take it with a contract from them. In other words, they have little reason to lie about which smartphone brand their customers are choosing when they sign up for new contracts.

I am more inclined to believe the CEOs of 3 different publicly listed companies who are fiercely competitive and have to answer to the scrutiny of shareholders and analysts, than some random web site running an unscientific online popularity contest.

Re:BULLSHIT! (4, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46481057)

Irrespective of what sells and what does not , both the iphone and the android have let down the geeks. Iphone is a decent platform but the proprietary bulls**t of apple is anything by geekiness.. The android on the other hand is pure evil . based on big data money models , google cares a squat about the users. The application layer is inherently insecure and the whole open sauce thing is pseudo.
IMHO Both are crap phones .

Re:BULLSHIT! (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46482407)

And anything else will also be the same way. I have been trying to use the Ubuntu phone releases for 2 years now and they have the exact same problems that geeks hate on android and iphone. It also is a walled garden (Yes kids android IS a walled garden, go ahead and install a new hardware driver in your phone)

Ubuntu phone suffers from a lot of the same problem because it is designed by a company looking for profits. not by a bunch of engineers and programmers that want to make something powerful and extendable.

we will NEVER get a cellphone that is perfect for "geeks" not in the sense of a tiny pocket device. now if you instead think outside that box and think in the lines of a "deck" like in the game shadowrun or the TV show "almost human" that is your computer in a larger formfactor that you always have with you, then use a small display+audio device to use the cellular modem/board in the "deck". this means having to carry around essentially a 13" laptop everywhere (OH THE HORROR!) but it will allow someone the best of all worlds. their choice of OS, their choice of Software with full open protocols. you pick the cellular board (arduino type cellular board, someone out there has an LTE type that has a full open control, data, and audio channels) and interface it to your hardware.

and honestly with some of the arduino high power quad core clones out there, it's possible to make it smallish. will it be a tiny paper thin thing? nope, but it will be better than anything your non techie friends will ever own.

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482795)

What about Sailfish? Seems like a decent phone platform!

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46484097)

Yes kids android IS a walled garden, go ahead and install a new hardware driver in your phone

The standard definition of "walled garden" is that the user can only install approved, signed, applications. That is not the case with Android.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

bagorange (1531625) | about 5 months ago | (#46484467)

Is it still a walled garden if 90%+ of what you encounter in an app store search is the result of search-optimising?

So much irrelevant garbage in the android store.

I really have no idea if apple is any worse or better, but I would be more likely to spend if I could actually find useful stuff.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#46484741)

Is it still a walled garden if 90%+ of what you encounter in an app store search is the result of search-optimising?
So much irrelevant garbage in the android store.

I really have no idea if apple is any worse or better, but I would be more likely to spend if I could actually find useful stuff.

Until recently it seems, Google Play had a horrible search (from a search company, no less). Search for something like "angry birds" or other common app by its name and you'd find the actual app somewhere down the list - #2 or #3 if you're lucky.

These days it seem to have improved and searching for apps by name generally gets you the app as the #1 hit.

Apple's search generally was good as well - if you search for an app by name, it returns it at the first app on the list.

For a long time though, Android's Market and Google Play search was just awful that the app was simply buried behind other apps. Today it seems to have improved significantly.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46486513)

That would make it a messy, cluttered garden- not a walled one.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

antdude (79039) | about 5 months ago | (#46484685)

I don't want a mobile phone, but I do want a smartwatch that doesn't need a mobile phone like the old school Casio Data Bank 150/300. :(

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#46485187)

we will NEVER get a cellphone that is perfect for "geeks" not in the sense of a tiny pocket device.

The problem isn't that nobody is willing to make a "perfect" cellphone for geeks. The problem is that when you design something for a limited market, its design cost has to be amortized over fewer sales. Consequently it costs a lot more.

Unfortunately the same geeks who clamor for these features also demand rock-bottom pricing. They look at your expensive "geek" phone, complain why it's priced so high compared to "consumer" phones, and refuse to buy. The geek phone maker then goes bankrupt, causing the geeks to complain that nobody makes phones that suit their needs. The industries where the limited markets do not have this cost bias - the customers are willing to fork over the extra money - are all doing well (performance car enthusiasts, off-roaders, PC gaming enthusiasts, audiophiles, "prosumer" amateur photographers, etc).

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46486319)

Yes kids android IS a walled garden, go ahead and install a new hardware driver in your phone

I have in fact done this in the past. Years ago when I had a HTC Hero I installed a modified GPS driver and upgraded the radio modem to one ported from another HTC device.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46487521)

On a stock phone without any hacking, rooting or other tricks needed? HTC hero must have been an awesome phone to come fully open like that.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46481481)

I was going to say the same thing. If you go to any major electronics retailer they have vast arrays of smartphones from manufacturers like Sharp, Samsung, Sony, LG, Google and carrier own-brand devices. The iPhone is just a small part of the line-up.

In fact the iPhone has been getting kind of a beating lately due to lack of features and some failed publicity stunts. They gave a reported a new iPhone on launch day (4S?) when Apple Maps was brand new and she noted that even standing outside the Apple Store in Ginza it said the nearest one was 20km away. For the iPhone 5 launch they set up long barriers for people to queue behind in Akiba and Ginza but hardly anyone turned up, and the pictures made the evening news.

The lack of NFC is a big deal in Japan. You have been able to pay for stuff with your phone for years now, but you need to have NFC. Contactless payment is very popular, and even if you prefer a card to using your phone at the terminal having NFC allows you to read the transaction history and current stored value.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Ark42 (522144) | about 5 months ago | (#46482869)

How exactly do you pay for things with NFC. Do you have to download and run a specific app tied to your bank account? Or does it get billed to your cell phone bill somehow?

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46484087)

I've only ever used Google Wallet to buy drinks from vending machines (which, as usual, have perpetually broken cash and credit card readers), when I didn't have change, but all that takes is opening up wallet, tapping the phone on the reader, then inputting a PIN on the phone. It's tied to a credit card and charges it.

And according to my bill, it only charged $1.20 rather than the usual $1.25, making it an awesome buy-24-get-1-free deal.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46486241)

You have an app. What you spend appears on your bill at the end of the month. Everything is recorded and itemized, great for claiming back business expenses.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Ark42 (522144) | about 5 months ago | (#46487875)

So vending machine purchases appear on your cell phone bill?
Does the app have to be opened and accessed to make the purchase, or can you just take your phone out with the screen off and touch it to the vending machine?

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46488545)

Everything appears on your bill. How it is shown depends on the phone company and if you want fully itemized billing.

The app doesn't need to be open. It registers itself as a NFC handler so when the phone receives NFC comms it starts automatically. Having said that the app typically runs as a lightweight background service so that it can process the transaction instantly (so you can move quickly through the gates at the train station for example), but what I mean is you don't have to do anything to use it, just touch the phone to the payment pad.

Re:BULLSHIT! (2)

zioncat (632849) | about 5 months ago | (#46481527)

Android phones far outsell iPhones in Japan. See these charts as just one example http://kakaku.com/keitai/smart... [kakaku.com]

kakaku.com is a price comparison site and its popularity ranking is based on page views and not sales. It is a testimony to iPhone's popularity in Japan that a product without a need for price comparison still rank that high on price comparison site's list. As for sales number, let's go to the people who actually studies and publish [kantarworldpanel.com] those kind of number:

In Japan, consumers' desire for all things Apple continued into the final quarter of 2013, with iOS taking 68.7% share of smartphone sales.

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482375)

So how does that translate into installed base and actual smartphones in use?

Re:BULLSHIT! (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 5 months ago | (#46482807)

Forbes disagrees that the number is "bullshit" [forbes.com] , though I doubt they'd agree with the 75% number being representative of the iPhone's current market share either, since they do agree with what you've said about the sales trends of iPhones. According to numbers from BCN (a group that measures Japanese smartphone market share on a weekly basis), the three-month rolling average for the period ending at the start of December last year was around 60% for the iPhone's market share, with a spike up above 75% for the first week of December. Apple had the first 9 out of the top 10 smartphones during that time, and 11 of the top 14.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that iPhones historically do well at the holiday season compared to their competitors, and that, as you brought up, the release cycle for the iPhones also happens to correspond with the period being mentioned by Forbes. As such, I thought I'd dig a little, and if you look at the six months prior to that three-month window I just mentioned, iPhones had a 37% share [9to5mac.com] of the market. Of course, that was mostly before they launched on DoCoMo, the nation's largest carrier, so it's likely that their average this year may see a boost compared to last.

Long story short, yes, iPhones enjoyed a 75% market share in the Japanese smartphone market, but it was due to a combination of their release schedule and holiday sales, which makes the numbers legitimate, but misleading. It's likely that they are doing better than the 37% they had last year starting around this time, simply due to the greater availability of the device, but it's certainly not as high as it was during the holidays.

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46484911)

BCN is a Japanese company that tracks consumer electronic device sales in Japan. It publishes data on a weekly basis and in its latest findings Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c are in the first nine positions and 11 of the top 14. (Note that my family and I own Apple shares).

In BCN’s findings for the week ending December 1 (December 8 does not seem to be posted yet) the iPhone held the following positions:

iPhone 5s: #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14
iPhone 5c: #4, 8, 20, 24, 26
Softbank had #1, 3, 4, 6, 20
Au had #2, 7, 8, 12, 26
NTT DoCoMo had #5, 9, 14, 24

i understand that this will expose my ignorance, but how the fk do you read those forbes stats?

i read that as saying: for the week ending Dec 1, the iPhone 5s was simultaneously in sales positions #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, AND 14.
WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 5 months ago | (#46485147)

They break it out by carrier and configuration, rather than adding together all of the sales across all carriers and configurations. So, a 16GB iPhone 5S on DoCoMo is tabulated separately from a 32GB iPhone 4S on Softbank.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46486359)

How come you hardly ever see anyone using one then? On the train you see lots of Android phones, mostly Sony and Sharp, and quite a few Samsungs and Nexus 5s. iPhones are somewhat unusual. I use the trains every day.

The only explanation I can think of it is that it is mostly older people buying them as they are less likely to use their phones in public. Only a little less these days though.

Re:BULLSHIT! (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 5 months ago | (#46486727)

Are we speaking of Japan, or your local market?

If Japan, I have no idea. I don't know any more than I said in my last comment.

If a local market, I find the opposite to be the case where I live (College Station, Texas, USA; population ~200K). I probably see two or three iPhones for every Android device. I know my perception of the local trends is not representative of the nation as a whole. It might just be that I'm predisposed towards recollecting or recognizing iPhones over other devices and that my estimates are wrong. It might be that there's a networking effect that occurred locally here, wherein early Apple adopters have helped to establish pressure on newcomers to also adopt Apple products. It might be that it's simply a demographic to which the iPhone is a more popular choice. It might be that I just travel in Apple-heavy circles. I really don't know and can't speak towards my own local market, let alone yours, with any level of knowledge or certainty.

So, as you, I have no explanation and no answers.

Re:BULLSHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46486097)

Android phones outsell iPhones everywhere, because they are cheaper. A lot of people dream of being rich enough to own an iPhone and buy an Android instead.

How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46480989)

The story was hilarious as it showed the sheer depth of incompetence at apple, and Jobs' utter inability to be flexible until reality hit him in the face several times over.

When you think about it, the Japanese market is perfect to iphone's "style over substance" approach. That's how it always functioned, and now just with phones but with many consumer goods ranging from electronics to plush toys (which have a huge adult market in Japan!) Problem is, Japanese have some very specific requirements when it comes to their goods that are typically completely unique to Japan and do not exist outside that country. They need to be made suitable for them functionally and culturally, as they have a very different approach to many things from one we have here in the West.

So initial foray was an unmitigated disaster. People returned early iphones back to stores in droves and the reason was utterly obvious - Jobs' idea for iphone was "same thing everywhere", and Japanese absolutely needed several significant adjustments to their phone, such as integration of certain Japan-centric services and input methods. The crash of iphone in market that everyone thought it would immediately take it by the storm actually got major players like Fujitsu say that Japanese market was so different, Western companies just don't stand the chance.

Then someone at Apple hit Jobs with clue bat hard, "one approach for all markets" paradigm was buried for Japan and iphones sold in Japan were significantly adjusted to match expectations of Japanese public.

Rest was history. While numbers are not quite as silly as this article suggests, Japan today has one of the highest iphone sales per capita in the world, because the general idea behind iphone, the "style over substance" approach is simply what Japanese market and mindset is all about. All it needed was understanding that no, your product is not perfect for all people everywhere and that some important adjustments for cultural differences and expectations are necessary.

In many ways, it makes for a good extreme case study on how products, no matter how good they are, always need to be adjusted for sales in target area.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481065)

I'm not sure how per-market adjustments = "style over substance." That soundbite reduction seems unnecessarily condescending and simplistic.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (3, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46481147)

To clarify - Japanese take the East-Asian concept of "face (cultural concept, not part of the head) over reality" to the extreme in everything, from their ties with other people to the products they buy to their conflicts with their neighbours.

As a result, many things sold in Japan personify this particular aspect. Substance is certainly important to an extent, but style is absolutely necessary to get anything sold. Iphone nails the style and image concepts, and these alone will often sell your product in Japan as long as it's not completely awful otherwise. The extreme popularity of plush toys with adults in Japan and the fact that you must own the current, heavily advertised plush toy and not one that's a year old shows this well.

All of these are essentially the same part of the "image and style is important, substance is optional as long as it meets bare minimum requirements" as those clearly visible in Apple products. There's a reason why macbooks have a backlit apple on the opposite side of the screen, or why apple fights so hard over "curved rectangles" in courts - it wants to be distinct as to reinforce the concept of "apple is more stylish and very distinct from competition".

I'm not attempting to be condescending and simplistic. I'm merely pointing out that apple's design paradigm of "image and style first" align very well with Japanese culture.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481463)

I'm not attempting to be condescending and simplistic. I'm merely pointing out that apple's design paradigm of "image and style first" align very well with Japanese culture.

I think every single person of Apple's design team would vehemently disagree with the "'Image and style' first" idea. Steve Jobs said "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." Part of that is the physical layout as well as the software functionality. Certain things may be too subtle for most people to recognize (like the differences between Helvetica and Arial), but that doesn't mean they weren't thought about.

Now you may disagree on how well the iPhone works for you, but I think it would be unfair to project your preferences onto the Apple iDevice phones and simply say they're only image conscious. Similarly many folks think that iDevice buyers only purchase things because of marketing (where in fact Samsung actually spends four times more marketing than Apple), and not because they think they're the least crappy thing out there (e.g., 90+ % of the mobile malware being on Android).

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 5 months ago | (#46482333)

How dare you try to bring facts to a wonderful fandroid rant?! I'm starting to think all these are paid shills. There can't be that many drooling idiots out there spouting all these nonsense...

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46482589)

Sounds nice and all, but I haven't owned a single android device to date.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 5 months ago | (#46486723)

Sounds nice and all, but I haven't owned a single android device to date.

That's what a paid shill would write :)

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46486979)

Would you like a picture of my nice nokia 5230 I still use to date?

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46481515)

Sorry, that's rubbish. The Japanese value features in the electronics above all else. Their entire economy is built in consumers replacing perfectly good appliances with new ones just to get some new feature the old one didn't have. Even mundane stuff like rice cookers keep adding new things and you can pay over 100,000 yen for a top of the line model.

When the iPhone first came out it did have a bit of an edge on features in some areas. The problem is that it was rapidly overtaken. There are a lot of Japan-only phones that it was competing with but which people in the west know nothing about. These days the lack of things like NFC is a big issue. Even stuff like the camera, traditionally an Apple strong point, is looking weak in the face of competition with optical stabilization.

It is absolutely about substance and tangible features in Japan. Style is important too, but the Japanese actually research stuff before buying and specs matter. Just visit any bookshop and see the shear number of books on which smartphone to buy, and how they evaluate them.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481671)

Just visit any bookshop and see the shear number of books on which smartphone to buy, and how they evaluate them.

To me, that says more about the cultural idea in Japan that you can learn just about anything from a book and further that a book should be written (possible multiple books) about near any topic. It does make me wonder, was "Swimming for Dummies (or How Not to Drown)" a big hit?

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481885)

Lol
Have you ever lived in Japan? I mean not just going over a few weeks on holidays ...

Old people do not value features, they cannot use them!
I know an old lady who seing my iPhone got sold a crappy android smartphone for old people made by NTT Docomo
The interface resemble the Windows 8 interface (but greyish and vertical)
The funny thing is : it seems to be simplified so much it has the same functionality as regular phones but with a touch screen!
To get back to the point, Japan is a country of old people, raised in a culture where look/apperances/style/brand is much more important than substance

Akiba is not representative of Japan as a whole, they have a lot of guide about everything because they have to know how to conform to social codes to be accepted and preserve their image and status.

Not that they are dumber/weirder than other people, it is just the way things are done here

The iPhone became popular because the Samsung Galaxy was a piece of crap (all versions of the Android champion were too much unreliable), it is Korean (remember the fight about a small island near the Korean coast claimed by Japan?), and Japanese don't like to stand out (all their friends have iPhones), and the brand factor (Apple is american, big, famous, ...)

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46482019)

Right. As if there aren't any Japanese companies making Android smartphones.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482483)

....and the brand factor (Apple is american, big, famous, ...)

Right. Because big famous American companies do so well in Japan based on brand factor alone (*cough* XBox sales in Japan *cough*).

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#46482987)

If the only games I care about are Zelda and Metroid, you won't see me buying an Xbox or Playstation. The same goes for the japanese players. The Xbox failed because it only mostly had western-style first-person shooter games and not enough RPG games.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46486423)

The XBox 360 had several AAA Japan-developed RPGs from a company called Mystwalker, led by a fairly well known Japanese developer who worked on the Final Fantasy series. It also had more shoot-em-ups from popular Japanese developers like Cave than any other console. The PS3 still has a severe dearth of shmups.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46481999)

the camera, traditionally an Apple strong point

What?! I have an iPhone 3GS and the camera was WORSE than the camera on my Sony Ericsson K750i which was several years older. Less resolution. No LED flash. Less light sensitivity. You name it. They only got it to be decent when the 4 came out.

Re: How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482797)

So an old phone has a bad camera?
And an older phone is better?
The point is?

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46484575)

Every review I read of the Nexus 5 (which is the only phone I know of with optical image stabalization) rates that camera horribly and the videos I've seen shot from it don't look any more stable than any other phone camera. And every review I read of the iPhone camera raves about how great it is.

I guess maybe the Japanese value bullet point features over quality? This is very contrary to how they are in the car market - they are typically relatively late to adopt fancy features but focus instead on reliability and quality.

I suspect the NFC is a big deal to them though.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

ed1park (100777) | about 5 months ago | (#46481545)

It sounds that way because it is. Haha...

Style over Substance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481101)

As opposed to the android we know it's crap but it's cheap approach?

I've got both an iphone 7.1 and Android Kit Kat Phone. They are both good in their own way.

However I've also looked at a whole array of uttery dire Android phones.

Biggest problem with Android? Which Android. Since Froyo phones are still available, it will give android a bad name.

Which is a shame, as Android is "almost there" in comparision with iOS and mostly a hell of a lot cheaper.

Re:Style over Substance (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46482037)

Froyo phones are still available

Good luck finding one for sale. There are people still using them which is quite different.

Re:Style over Substance (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#46482055)

All 1.2% of them [android.com] BTW.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#46482051)

I also remember hearing that the iphone was suffering poor adoption because they had a reputation for needing to be connected to a PC regularly. Many japanese customers didn't like that, a surprising number didn't have any home PC. Low-end japanese phones (sold for a penny) in the early 2000s were capable of most of what people use smartphones for today: they got e-mail, they could surf the web, they could take pictures.

I went there for a few months, and was really annoyed at having to take a step down in terms of phone function when I came back. There were comparable phones, but not in the same price range. As we all know, apple is mainly a marketing wonder, the iphone was successful because it was leaps and bounds ahead of what most people THOUGHT a phone was capable of here, but it wasn't much ahead of what was available in japan.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about 5 months ago | (#46483041)

As we all know, apple is mainly a marketing wonder

Speak a lie often enough and its accepted as the truth.

Apple is not, and never has been, mainly a marketing wonder. They have made good use of marketing but the success they've had is based on quality and usability rather than simply marketing. Check out the user satisfaction surveys of Apple users.

Yes phones in Japan were more feature rich than phones elsewhere when the iPhone was released but that was largely due to carrier limitations. I had a number of Nokia 'smartphones' whose facilities were crippled by my local carrier. Apple changed things partly by refusing to give the carriers the ability to cripple the iPhone.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46484109)

Not all apple products are garbage. But Apple products that are garbage (e.g. MacOS prior to X) sell well and a derped all over by fanboys who tell themselves the same things about the garbage as the good stuff.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 5 months ago | (#46487605)

While MacOS9 was positively embarrassing technically, relative to its competition, it still ran Mac software and had the Mac interface. Macs at that time were still generally easier to use than Windows machines. An inferior product you can use to the fullest can be better than a harder-to-use superior product, depending on your needs.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46488037)

I didn't expect one to volunteer. Thanks for proving my point!

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 5 months ago | (#46482493)

This racist bullshit is modded "insightful"? WTF are you talking about "style over substance"? Guess what you racist piece of shit, the iPhone does as much as Android does, and in my opinion, it does it better. I personally find Android to be incredibly buggy and have a really frustrating interface. But guess what, that's just my opinion. I hate you dipshits that think "since I don't like something it must be worthless, because I am the absolute judge of everything. If you have different preferences than I do you must be wrong".

You can't make a device that satisfies everyone because guess what, people want different things. I know someone with such a minuscule brain like you has trouble grasping that fact so you revert to racist bullshit, but it's true. Guess what, there are multiple types of keyboards. Does that mean that any keyboard you don't like is "style over substance"? What about cars? But I guess since my opinions aren't racist garbage they are worthless in your view. Fuckwad.

Re:How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46484143)

The Japanese buy fully half of the worlds overpriced designer bullshit. They are very status and style conscious.

Re: How Steve Jobs got iPhone to Japan. Real story (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#46483503)

What does style over substance mean in this context? The only thing I can think is design over specs?

That's not a strictly Japanese, or apple thing though. It's what makes an M3 better than a neon srt (obviously other things, this is an extreme example, as they were priced no where similar ).

The iPhone provided a good browser experience, yes, it wasn't 3g, but the browser was great, and there was WiFi. Everything you wanted to read on a phone, you could see twice as much of on an iPhone, calendars were better, text histories were better, maps were better, reading email was better. These are all arguably things of style, but it me for a better phone.

Style is how you get more out of the same substance, and it counts for a lot. It's why pottery is worthless, while others is priceless.

iPhpne is worse in suggesting Japanese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46480999)

Compared to the previous Japanese mobile flip phones the iPhone is worse in predicting Japanese. The way you write Japanese on a cell phone or smartphone is that you enter the characters representing the sound of a word and the device suggests which kanji you want to use. Furthermore, using buttons people could write a lot faster. Being a nation with a soft spot for hypes, many are switching to iPhone but at a cost of writing at a much slower pace.

Re:iPhpne is worse in suggesting Japanese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481149)

"Being a nation with a soft spot for hypes"

In other words, it's a nation of unsophisticates, rubes and children.

Summary is wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481011)

"Today, 75% of smartphones sold in Japan are iPhones" is not true and is not claimed by the linked article.
.

What the article claims is that according to one research company this happened for one month last year, in October, the first month after launch of iPhone 5c and 5s.

Re: Summary is wrong (3, Informative)

Pikoro (844299) | about 5 months ago | (#46481067)

the iphone is a non player here in japan. a good estimation based on what i see on the train is one in ten. the rest are a split between android and flip phones, which still offer more features than an iphone. things like saifu keitai, one seg, etc.. are considered necissary features here. the iphone just cannot compete.

Re: Summary is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481109)

Maybe the Japanese have learned not to bother other people with their iPhones on the train?

Re: Summary is wrong (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46481229)

Maybe the Japanese have learned not to bother other people with their iPhones on the train?

If so I wish they would teach the commuters in the UK!

Re: Summary is wrong (1)

Xylantiel (177496) | about 5 months ago | (#46484429)

Yep, "most popular smartphone in japan" is a rubbish statistic. Japanese feature phones were so far ahead of those in other parts of the world in features and usage that making a distinction between smartphones and featurephones in the same way one does outside Japan is just nonsense.

It's almost enough to make you wonder if the introduction of the "smartphone" is not what really changed the phone culture in the West. Really Japan had already transitioned to what we think of as the "new" phone-oriented culture, but it was based around high-quality feature phones. So the west might have transitioned even without the introduction of the iphone. The iphone just happened to be the right product in the right place at the right time. I know I was startled to see the speed that Americans transitioned from making fun of asians always poking at their phones to doing the same thing with their own smartphone.

It's Masayoshi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481075)

Or actually Jonggi or something since he is ethnic Korean.
Apple's is the least worse offering here. I wonder how one can sell a phone with handwritten Chinese recognition but not Japanese with a straight face. At least iPhones look decent and fit in pockets

UGLY! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481193)

This slashdot beta is ugly as hell.

37% (2)

fullback (968784) | about 5 months ago | (#46481299)

That's the iPhone market percentage in Japan, but 8 out of the 10 most popular smartphones sold for the last four months are iPhones. So yes, the iPhone market share is increasing.

Oh, and the "East-Asian concept of 'face'..." post above is utter nonsense. The real esoteric reason it's popular is because people just "like" it.

Re:37% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46482377)

The real esoteric reason it's popular is because people just "like" it.

Now you're just making things up, who would do that?!

Re:37% (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 5 months ago | (#46483395)

The reason of this increase is because DoCoMo, the main Japanese carrier, started to sell iPhones from end of last year. Thus, today, iPhones are the smartphones the most sold in Japan.

Sony Xperia (1, Informative)

Stephen Chadfield (7971) | about 5 months ago | (#46481497)

I live in Japan. I have a Sony Xperia. iPhones are locked-down, corporate, American shit.

Re:Sony Xperia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481949)

Sony stuff not locked-down? They have their own format for everything ...
I have been trolled? Lol
I saw one once a few years ago, it was not impressive at all, I don t know what you are bragging about.
My iPhone was the first phone that let me select my native language (you could select English on a some models before that but no other language)

Japan and iPhone hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46481839)

Funny how far we (Japan?) has come in the ~5 years since the iPhone started getting big there.

http://apple.slashdot.org/story/09/02/27/144256/why-japan-hates-the-iphone

Of course, that article was torn to pieces (http://apple.slashdot.org/story/09/03/01/1358233/japanese-hate-for-the-iphone-all-a-big-mistake) for recycling a myth, but interesting that despite the apparent interest from Japanese stakeholders in Japan in launching the iPhone as well as the success that the iPhone is now seeing in sales, people for whatever reason want to gloat over any perceived stumbles in the iPhone success story.

How Steve Jobs got the iPhone into Japan (2)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 5 months ago | (#46483701)

He took one with him.

As a Japanese... (1)

lunatix (236608) | about 5 months ago | (#46483797)

I must say the story itself and comments are pretty hilarious.

First of all, Masayoshi Son is not even Japanese. He's Korean who was neutralized recently, with a very strong Korean background and ties to his home country.

And Apple was really stupid to give Softbank an exclusivity for so many years. Softbank remains the smallest of the 3 major carriers in Japan with 26% market share even after years of iPhone exclusivity. With their shoddy reputation, almost fraudulent sales tactics, crappy reception and coverage, unreliable and overloaded network capacity, they just could not steal any meaningful number of subscribers from NTT DoCoMo (45% market share) and KDDI au (29%) even after MNP became available. As the recent increase in iPhone sales proves, it's obvious that many people waited for KDDI and NTT to start offering iPhones.

I mean, we weren't missing any features that iPhone offered, so people didn't have much incentive to switch in a hurry. Even now, flip phones and Android phones made by Japanese manufacturers offer many crucial features (to Japanese consumers at least) such as waterproof body, TV tuner, NFC(FeliCa), etc. All of these had pretty much been standard features in Japan even before iPhone came out.

In fact, it's hard to find phones that do not have these features except for iPhone. To a typical Japanese, his/her cell phone has been their train pass, wallet, TV set, main email client (not just SMS/MMS, but a full html email, with huge library of emoticons and templates), internet browsers (a full-screen opera-browser as well as an iMode/WAP browser on the same device), high-res camera (with flash of course), music store + player, and 3D game console (with hugely successful app stores), all on pretty fast 3G networks, for about a decade.

I've been a mac user for more than 20 years and I use iPhone myself (on DoCoMo, no less), but Apple still have a long way to go before they can win over a majority of Japanese users.

Re:As a Japanese... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46484175)

He's Korean who was neutralized recently, with a very strong Korean background and ties to his home country.

Neutralized how? Did they kill him?

Re:As a Japanese... (1)

lunatix (236608) | about 5 months ago | (#46485077)

s/Neutralized/Naturalized/

Re:As a Japanese... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46489491)

Typical japanese if you think typical is young, and living in Tokyo ...

Sic semper Nippon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46486659)

I recall when Lucas tried to show Star Wars in Japan, the Japanese blocked him for about six months, so that a Japanese studio could rush out a pathetic clone of Star Wars.
It was something about a flying ship.
I also remember when American skis weren't allowed into Japan because Japanese snow was different.
And American foods weren't allowed because the Japanese digestive tract different.
And...

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