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Question of the Day: Will the iPhone Win Over Japan?

Illustration for article titled Question of the Day: Will the iPhone Win Over Japan?

It's official: the iPhone is heading to the land of the rising sun. But will it win the hearts of Japan? After all, Japan is pretty much the ultimate testing ground for phones. No one takes their cells more seriously than the Japanese. These are the people who not only text message with the best of them, but watch TV and even write novels on their mobiles. It's almost like they enjoy the restriction of accomplishing so much on a punishing, oversized handheld. Then again, the iPod is quite popular in Japan, the iPhone has a unique UI and brands carry a lot of weight in the country.



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Interestingly enough, SoftBank, the telecom carrier offering the iPhone, is a second-tier brand in Japan. They don't have nearly the dominance of Docomo or au, and the company falls back on heavy celebrity endorsements (like Cameron Diaz) to interest the public in their service. Described to us as "the darkhorse" by Japan-native Gawker writer Brian Ashcraft, he added that landing the iPhone is "a major coup" for the company. Do you agree?

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It's not a major coup - Apple would much rather have the phone on one of Japan's leading carriers. SoftBank is Apple's consolation prize after neither of the majors would accept there terms.

Think about it - is there ANY amount of money that would have made Apple release the iPhone on Alltel over ATT? It's a branding proverbial black eye; and Apple is smarter than to sell out the brand for a quick paycheck.