iPhone is a BIG NEWS in Japan
So who said iPhone would be a big flop in Japan because Japanese phones are so advanced?
Well, it is true that Japanese phones have some advanced features but it doesn't necessarily mean they've been used everyday.
Some features are so hard to use and some are even hard to find.
They are not like iPhones; 80% of iPhone owners use more than 10 features.
Read this nice piece of article by Lisa Katayama on Wired:
In Japan, Cellphones Have Become Too Complex to Use
How many would they sell?
In Japan, the biggest question nowadays is how many iPhones will be sold in Japan this year?
My honest guess is: I don't know.
Everyone around me is making a bet but I seriously have no ideas if it would stop at the 10,000 Apple fan boys or extend to 100,000 or maybe even more.
No one knows how important the "One-Seg" TV features found on most Japanese phones are.
I don't need it.
No one knows how important the e-wallet features found on most Japanese phones are.
I, personally can't live without the wallet feature of my phone. I use it to ride on trains, taxis, buses. I also use it to pay at cafe, restaurants, massage place and convenience stores. I get points/discount with it, etc. etc. I wouldn't go back home to get my real wallet, if I noticed that I've left it at home. But I will run back home, if I left my cell phone because of this wallet feature.
But it is also true that there are many people who haven't discovered the benefit of this wallet feature.
So I honestly don't know how broad the iPhones will be accepted; every analyst is saying a different thing but they aren't based on any convincing data, after all, they are all hunch.
NOT ENOUGH iPhones
One things, I can say for sure is this:
There will be not enough iPhones in Japan for a while.
I found it so cynical when I read American IT news say "there will be ample supply of iPhone 3Gs" because here in Japan, it is not.
Maybe, Apple wasn't sure how successful iPhone will be in Japan and put a limit on shipping volume.
It is said that Masayoshi Son asked all Softbank mobile stores to cancel any pre-orders BECAUSE there will NOT BE ENOUGH iPhones for a while.
There will be much less iPhones 3Gs than the pre-orders made at those stores which were taking pre-orders.
If Apple could fill the demand and Japanese news paper can write 10,000 iPhones sold in one day or something like that; iPhones could attract more people.
Because many Japanese follow what the neighbors do ;-)
But that won't happen :-(
feature rich ≠ easy to use
Another thing I can be sure of is, as more and more Japanese see iPhone in action, the demand can go much higher.
This YouTube video of one of the iPhone copy-cat phone can be a good explanation: