The Apple iPhone: Successes and Challenges for the Mobile Industry

This is the title of a recent report produced by Rubicon Consulting, which I picked up via Michael Mace’s blog. I love statistics and stories on the iPhone, and although this is a study of the USA market, I will project from the US findings to look at if similar trends can be observed in Japan, and will Apple’s device be a success or not over here based on the reported results. You may have heard the recent news that the production of a 3G iPhone has started, so the Japan release is surely getting near. Let us look at the key statistics in the full report and see what they mean. All statements about the Japanese market are based on surveys previously translated on this blog.

Demographics

460 randomly-selected iPhone users from all over the US completed an internet-based questionnaire. The sex breakdown is not listed, but by age 0% were under 18, 5% were between 18 to 21, 15% between 22 to 25, 30% between 26 to 30, 26% between 31 to 40, 13% between 41 to 50, 6% between 51 to 60, 4% between 61 and 70, and 1% over 70 years old.

User satisfaction

Overall over 40% were strongly satisfied with most of the features, and almost 80% satisfied to some degree. However, under 30% were strongly satisfied with data speed; in Japan with ubiquitous 3G, the need for speed will surely be even stronger.
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Apple’s iPhone: Japan will love it, Japan will buy it

Although I started out as somewhat of a skeptic about the iPhone, mainly in reaction to the blanket news coverage it has been receiving, reflecting on the situation I now consider that the iPhone has what it takes to be big in Japan; indeed to become the very first foreign mobile phone (Sony-Ericsson doesn’t countas foreign!) to be a success in Japan’s rather insular market. There are, however, a small number of additions and modifications that I propose Apple must make to the hardware, software, and design before they can consider selling it in Japan.

iPhone: Japan’s carriers

Looking at the market image of the three big mobile phone carriers, namely NTT DoCoMo, au by KDDI, and SoftBank, the most natural fit would be au, as according to many surveys they have the strongest image for being on the leading edge and for supporting music playback on their phones. However, if a bidding war starts, SoftBank may be prepared to lay the most cash on the table as they are most desparate for customers, and with Cameron Diaz and Bradd Pitt pushing an American image of talking on the phone for SoftBank, SoftBank’s president Masayoshi Son may see the iPhone as a natural extension of his brand. Therefore, I predict there will be a SoftBank iPhone on the shelves early next year.
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Misleading acupressure statistics

Watching Aru Aru Daijiten (“Encyclopedia of Living” is the official translation) on television last night, they were talking about diagnosing problems with internal organs via acupressure, that is acupuncture pressure points, but just pressing them instead of sticking needles in. Whether on not you accept the medical validity or not Read more…