Living with iPhone 3G in Japan

According to an article on CNN, 3 million iPhones has been sold in first month worldwide.

One month after its debut, Apple's new iPhone has hit the 3 million sold mark, according to analyst Michael Cote of the Cote Collaborative.

Apple has not confirmed that number, but at least we know that they sold 1 million iPhones in 3 days.

CUPERTINO, California—July 14, 2008—Apple® today announced it sold its one millionth iPhone™ 3G on Sunday, just three days after its launch on Friday, July 11. iPhone 3G is now available in 21 countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US—and will go on sale in France on July 17.

“iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world.”

So how is iPhone doing in Japan? Apple and Softbank are both not releasing the numbers, but it looks like is having some difficulty.

BCN released the sales ranking(Japanese) of cell phones in Japan based on the POS data. iPhone was not in best 10- iPhone 3G 16GB was in 13th place, iPhone 3G 8GB was 48th place as of data on 2008/8/27-9/2.

FujiSankeiBusiness released an article about this, and according to the article, people expected 1million iPhone units to be sold, only 200 thousand has been sold so far.

Why did this happen? If you search on Google "the reason why I won't buy iPhone" you'll find a bunch of people writing "3 reasons I won't buy iPhone""7 reasons I won't buy iPhone""10 reasons I won't buy iPhone" etc.

Personally, the direct reason I bought iPhone 3G was because I have injured my back a month ago. Carrying my Mac Book Pro all the time had become a pain, and as an alternative to that, I am using iPhone. It is more of a mobile PC rather than a cell phone for me.


I am quite satisfied with my iPhone so far - except for several issues:

1) battery last so short that I need to charge it very often
2) can't view websites with Flash or Java
3) network reception is very unstable- I lose 3G connection so often- even in places where my other 3G Softbank cell phone works, and other people's iPhone works
4) camera quality is low
5) no video camera
6) have lots of issues in Japanese input (at least for me... )
7) No neckstraps - seriously, I think I might drop my iPhone some day.
8) No One-Seg digital TV tuner
9) No Felica (e-wallet) function

10) was supposed to be the price- until Softbank announced a price reduction on 8/5. Having iPhone in Japan was very expensive, as you needed to pay 5,985yen (60USD) flat fee packet price + 980yen for voice + 315yen for internet connection + price for the hardware (2,880yen * 24 months for 8GB model, 3,360yen * 24 months for 16GB model). There is 1,920yen discount, so the actual amount paid would be 8,240 yen per month for 8G model, 8,720 yen for 16GB model. It was pretty expensive- and Softbank announced to reduce the price. Instead of forcing 5,985yen flat rate packet price, they announced to make the pricing range from 1,695yen to 5,985yen maximum.

Why did Softbank make this price reduction?
1) Sales of iPhone has slown down - when I went to Softbank shop 2 weeks after the launch, there was nobody in line, and I could get any iPhone (white or black, 8GB or 16GB) very easily. Geeks / heavy users rushed to buy them on the launch, non-geeks / light users found it too expensive. Softbank needed to reduce the price to get non-geeks.
2) Softbank has less infrastructure compared to NTT Docomo and au.There are already network complaints from the users. By abolishing the packet flat rate price, they want the users to use wifi more to save cost, which is also good for Softbank to save the network bandwidth.

As for network issue, although I sometimes have issues, I think it is far better than the situation in US:

A huge thread on Apple's discussion boards has sprung up related to problems that iPhone 3G users say they are experiencing with AT&T's network, and I received several e-mails from CNET readers following last week's Ask the Editors session reporting similar problems. It's not clear at the moment exactly what is causing the issue, but it has some iPhone 3G early adopters up in arms.

The most common complaint seems to be poor reception in areas that are known to have a strong 3G signal. AT&T's 3G network is not nearly as pervasive as its EDGE one, but its Web site claims that 3G coverage is available in large cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as smaller metropolitan areas like Sacramento, Calif., Tulsa, Okla., and Hartford, Conn.

As for the iPhone application sales, I think the Japanese developers are doing quite well- I see many of their applications in Top25 list.

According to an article in Wall Street Journal,iPhone application downloaded from App Store counted more than 60 million and although most of them are free software, total sales over the month is $30 million. (Apple gets 30% and the creator gets 70%), so I think there is a big chance for the Japanese developers.

In the month since Apple opened an online software clearinghouse called the App Store, users have downloaded more than 60 million programs for the iPhone, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in an interview at Apple's headquarters. While most of those applications were free, Apple sold an average of $1 million a day in applications for a total of about $30 million in sales over the month, Mr. Jobs said.

There's some of articles on iPhone Apps:
"50 Applications recommendation" by ASCII
"10 applications I can't live without" by Lifehacking.jp

A list of Japanese iPhone application developers

08/10/08 update:

11) No copy and paste. NO COPY AND PASTE!
12) Safari is extremely unstable. mail app is unstable as well.
13) Horrible auto correction. When I put "Fumi" (my name) it always corrects to "Gumi".
14) no emoji -although it looks like they will include emoji on iPhone 2.2 ver
For those of you who don't know what emoji is, check this out.