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back to article Japan falls for the iPhone

The iPhone continues to gain market share worldwide. No news there. What's interesting is the country where it achieved its highest rate of growth during 2009: Japan. This news comes from the latest smartphone ad-tracking report from AdMob, the mobile ad-delivery service that recently walked down the aisle with Google after a …


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  1. David Webb
    Jobs Horns

    Semi-useless info

    Without a direct split between iphone and ipod, there is no way of telling which device the Japanese are using. Are they sticking with their advanced mobiles and using the ipod touch, or are they switching to the iphone?

    Apple have (worldwide) sold 34m iphones, 17m of them to the US and 17m to the rest of the world, Japan has 120 million people, 3% of 17m is 510,000, doesn't really seem so impressive like that does it, Apple selling 510,000 phones in Japan. But again, without knowing the exact figures of the split between iphone/ipod then it's just a rough percentage guess.

    However if you look at:

    It gets broken down pretty well, Apple may hold 46% market share for smartphones, but in Japan smartphones are a tiny market, Apple doesn't even break out of the "other" category which have a total market share of 22.6% (others that is, not Apple on its own).

    So in summary, the iphone market in Japan is tiny, lumping it in with the ipod to seem like it has higher growth than it has is pretty terrible.

  2. nanchatte
    Thumb Up

    IPhones spreading

    Softbank, the iPhone carrier here in Japan is known for being the edgy underdog vs docomo the incumbent player. Their prices are also known to be keen.

    Their cheap 5500 yen, truly unlimited plan undercuts practically anything the competition have.

    Plus the fact that an iPhone 3GS 32gb adds only about $8 to the monthly bill for a mere 2years with zero up front to pay and -in my case- a month free and you have an immediate hit on your hands. I'm practically broke but it was so affordable I ditched my Sony Ericson docomo phone as soon as this deal came along and now I have an iPhone and am paying only about $15 a month more with the added benefit of all you can eat Internet. It truly is a no brainer, especially the 16gb model which is now being vietually given away.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A mobile for the Vicky Pollard generation

    Shame it is such a piece of locked-in crap.

    1. B 9

      Riiigggt. . . .

      It's a shame you are too myopic to see a great meld of hardware and software. It's a shame your idea of "open" trumps the common sense goal of "useful".



    sorry but im so sick of hearing about the iphone every time in either studys or reviews its starting to bore me everyone goes on about the iphone saying its the bestg phone ever. year right there is other phones out there im not buying a iphone im buying a different phone make not paying apples prices for it end of.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Actually, for once this is a useful article

      Quite an interesting article. However, I do not see the really important bit about interpreting the data. It is not iPhone or Symbian or whatever share. It is a share of users actually _USING_ it for access to _MOBILE_ _SPECIFIC_ services. The ads in question were served on services that were pretty much mobile-only as they were served by a dedicated mobile oriented agency.

      What this represents is that the two OSes which purposefully ignore IMS and operate within media and VAS delivery frameworks of their own are slaughtering the mobile industry's own even on their "home turf" - the mobile services. The picture when using a "generic" internet sample is likely to be even more pronounced.

      Not a nice xmas present for our 3GPP mongering friends from operators and vendors I am afraid. And lots of food for thought...

    2. Patrick 14
      Jobs Horns

      ha ha ha

      The iPhone is like a DRUG its good but we all know we should not use it LOL.

      I have had just about every "smart" phone from the makers and when using them you was forever having to reboot from a lockup which happened just about once a day if you was lucky.

      Nokia smart phones where so god damn slow.

      Yes the iPhone is locked down tighter than a nuns PRIVATE BITS, BUT it does work. there is something about how clean the OS is. yes you cannot use most bluetooth device's with it. etc etc

      If the likes of Microsoft with its windows mobile rubbish was as slick and as fast and they had something like iTunes then maybe they would rule the world. But look at how long they have been going and look what they have done. NOTHING in the way of Apple. Yes you can install most things and use bluetooth GPS etc. BUT the OS cannot handle it.

      And NO I don't own a mac or imac etc, but I know a good phone when I see one.

      And most people slag off The iPhone without even using one for say a week etc.

      And yes I'm a married man of 36 with 2 kids and not some spotty teen that talks out of there arse...

      Job cause he is the Devil but his shit works

  5. Anonymous Coward

    indeed, indeed

    ... but wait a minute there.... aren't we supposed to believe that the iphone will fail and fail badly much like many at el reg predicted a couple of years ago ? I'm not sure who should i believe quite frankly.

    A little bird tells me the Psion will come back to life in 2010 and steal the show. but i ain't gonna take the bird's word that easy either.

  6. Ryan 7

    These stats are soooo sampling-biased it's a joke!

    Of course the jesus Phone has a huge number of mobile web ad requests - it is far and above the most-promoted platform for mobile browsing!

    It doesn't directly relate - hell, it doesn't even correlate - to the number of devices existing and/or in use.

    1. Adam T

      Not so

      I understand where you're coming from, but I'm not sure I agree.

      First off, Admob stats are not exclusive to browsing (in fact, do they include browsing at all?)

      If you're a mobile developer or publisher then it *is* important. The fact that these are admob stats may not correlate to actual devices, but they do correlate to devices making money. Which is what devs are interested in, and subsequently, consumers.

    2. Robert Hill
      Jobs Halo


      Methinks you really don't get it - AdMob don't count the MENTIONS of a device, they count how many mobile browsers running on what device get served ads on the mobile networks - i.e., who is using what to browse the web, and thus get served ads. Most of those ads are not for phones - most of them are for gambling, social networking, "chat", and general brand building (Coke, BMW, etc.). And from what I have seen, Apple's ads are a very, very low percentage of any ads served.

      The fact is that the iPhone has perhaps the best web browsing experience (at least until Android 2.0), with one of the best screens for it, and is nearly always sold with an unlimited data plan as part of the packaging. THAT is why so many ads are being served to iPhones (and Touches) - not because anyone is paying for Apple ads. I used to work in mobile advertising, I've seen the AdMob reports first hand and had them explained to me by their staff in detail - even though my carrier didn't use them (we don't DO remenant sales - yet). Face it, your dislike of the iPhone isn't translating very well into the general public, who HAVE made it the most used mobile browser at present. And regardless if/when they get caught up, Apple will have made the notable contribution for making mobile web work well, first - all the rigth pieces came together. Except Flash... ;-)

  7. IT specialist

    Windows Mobile sinks into oblivion

    It's interesting to watch the demise of Windows Mobile. Every analyst group has different methods of compiling data, but it all leads to the same conclusion about Windows Mobile... the end is nigh.

    Look at that last graph from AdMob, and see how Windows Mobile's internet usage is already near zero, and declining rapidly. No wonder the business users and software developers have already deserted it.

    On the same graph, you can see Android on the rise to become the 2nd most popular OS. I think Android will match iPhone's net usage in the next year or so. Android and iPhone are the winners of the new era of mobile computing.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. B 9

      Funny you should mention disingenuous

      I wonder if you might want to rewrite your post to avoid the title yourself. 40 million iPhones is still 40 million iPhones. Your attempt to carve it into separate models in order to lessen the iPhone's impact is the very definition of disingenuous.

      As usual with Apple haters, you continue to focus on old school metrics and fail to see the big picture. Deny it as much as you want, but even the other manufacturers know they must find a way to match the iPhone or die. They are all busting their hump to turn out copycat models and all failing miserably. Nokia is starting to feel the pain, Palm has a few nails in the coffin, and we'll probably see in retrospect that Blackberry has peaked. The iPhone isn't perfect, but manipulating statistics to to try and deny the iPhone's global impact is pathetic. If you don't like them then don't buy them, but face reality and realize that iPhone is here to stay and is going to continue to turn the mobile market upside down.

  9. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    These stats are utterly meaningless

    I have seen these stats reported on various sites and it leads me to believe that Apple have the best PR in the world. Tech sites are lapping this shit up and only a very few have actually been critical of what the stats represent. If anybody needed evidence of just how overhyped Apple's products are this is it.

    1. Adam T

      You think so?

      You're living under a Rock of Denial.

      When Apple said they were after 10% of the smartphone market, they were met with derision. They'll never appeal to everyone, and sure, the reality is that iPhone is surrounded by a reality distortion haze, but dismissing it is naive. It is what it is, and it's kicking the arse of every other mobile phone manufacturer in the world, because for once someone is making something and sticking to their guns over it.

      I don't much like the Apple company line, but their placement and approach is gutsy and undeniable.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      I do not think so. These are the right stats needed when predicting the viability of a mobile Value Added Service. What is interesting is that they show that the standards for VAS railroaded by the mobile industry will not be used. The only two growing players for mobile specific services do not give a damn about them.

      Frankly, that is the most useful bit of stats for mobile usage I have seen for the last year. I was predicting it all along, but there were no numbers to back me up. A great Xmas present indeed.

  10. Mark Spooner

    New Palm Models not out for long enough.

    I don't use and have no immediate plans to try either of the new palm offerings. However, it seems to me they have not been on the market long enough for their comparison to others to be meaningful.

  11. Jim 4

    Lies, damned lies and statistics.

    But the straw man beats them all.

    "Apple have (worldwide) sold 34m iphones, 17m of them to the US and 17m to the rest of the world, Japan has 120 million people, 3% of 17m is 510,000, "

    So, from the article, the US has 50% of the share that you correctly identify as being half of the 34m units shipped. But for some reason when Japan is quoted as 3% this has morphed from being 3% of 34m to 3% of what remains after the US has taken its share?

    "There are actually 3 iPhones, the iPhone, the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS, whilst Apple likes to treat them as the same phone it's really disingenuous, particularly as most statistics separate say, for example, the N95 and N96 (and sometimes even the N95 8gb) as separate phones even though the differences are as trivial as the difference between the different iPhones out there."

    Erm... having read (and re-read) the article I see no differentiation by device or even manufacturer. The only differentiator is the OS that the device uses so all iPhones get lumped together - as do all Symbian based devices. You seem to be criticising a different useless survey.

  12. David Webb

    @Jim 4

    Quite correct I guess. 3% of the total 34M is 1,020,000, just over 1 million iphones sold in Japan.

    Japans population is 127,704,000 / 1,020,000 = 1 iphone per 125 people.

    USA's population is 304,059,724 / 17,000,000 = 1 iphone per 17 people.

    If the iphone holds 3% of the market, 100% of the market is 34,000,000 mobile phones in Japan which access the internet (a totally incorrect figure, market penetration on mobile phones in Japan is something like 65%, 65% of 127m is 82m) so based on 34m mobiles, 1m isn't really all that much (based n 82m it's trivial numbers).

    What we are seeing is market rubbish "ohh the iphone holds 49% of the market in Japan!" when in reality, the iphone in Japan holds (based on 82m) just over 1%.

    Compare that with Nokia who "only" managed a 0.3% market share in Japan before pulling out, Apple are only slightly higher than that, so by anyones standing, Apple have failed in Japan, with a minuscule market share of a minuscule market using CDMA technology, whilst the majority of Japan uses FOMA (FOMA has roughly 40 million subscribers in Japan).

    Depending on where you read, you can come up with figures that the Japanese mobile market shifts 5 million units a month, any person who can consider shifting 1m units in 2-3 years a total success needs treatment for their Steve Jobs obsession.

  13. eugene

    App usage, not smartphone market share

    Don't forget that many free apps have Admob ads on them. The huge number of half-useless apps would drive the admob numbers up, yet have little relevance to real life.

    Sensationalism anyone?

  14. wim

    somebody else read this wrong ?

    I really read

    Japan fails for the Iphone.

    living in Japan and seeing lots of people abandoning the Iphone ship for some reasons.

    Softbank (the carrier) sells a cheap plan where you can talk to other softbank phones for free. But not with Iphone. Iphone to Iphone is free. Non Iphone to non Iphone is free but for non Iphone to Iphone communication you have to pay.

    Don't ask why.

    AU is offering now a cheaper plan also with free communication between all AU sets always.

    The softbank used to be free from 01:00 till 21:00

  15. David Love

    Market share in real world

    Apple 50%

    RIM 30%

    Other 20%

    Source: Top deck of London bus, any day, any week.

  16. JWS
    Thumb Down

    Why the hype??

    I'm too getting sick and tired of every "phone" article ranting on about the CrapPhone. It's an overpriced, locked down, limited slab of junk. It just happens to be marketed very well, which isn't hard when the audience is, lets face it, less than able to think on their own.

    Also, I'm getting more and more annoyed at how many articles all over the press are based on weak or very limited data sets.


  17. Mage Silver badge

    Phones are More Than Browsers.

    Even Smart phones are bought for more reasons than Browsers.

    This just measures Browser use. Which probably is easier to use on an iPhone. This survey doesn't measure iPhone vs other phones or smart phones.

    It's totally useless statistic.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    The real FAIL? That some of you wrote pratical essays on something that isn't important! I think that commentards have reached a new low, due impart that their mobile device of choice isn't regarded by the press as number one. I'd agree with the fact that iPhone is suffering from over exposure, but it's interesting to note that the majority of post on these subjects are from fanboys of other devices (or companies perhaps?) pouring scourn and derision on a device because they don't like it, or don't agree with the stats! Fucking loosers! Oh, and those calling bias, Aple dindnt commisssion the study, so how can there be a bias on their part. Retards.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?

    The Admob stats aren't worth much without understanding what they're measuring. It's particularly stupid to look at the stats for a single country like Japan without understanding mobile advertising in that market. I suspect Admob has a miniscule percentage of that market and there are very few devices that get to view Admob ads at all (Japan is a place where operator walled gardens still rule and most devices are locked down - there are tens of millions of Symbian devices in Japan for example, but you can't install native apps on them). As such it's meaningless to try to conclude anything from statistics in isolation.

  20. IR

    What the statistics actually say

    Japan used to have a really low number of users in Japan. Now they have 3.5 times as many, but it is still really low. If it is still rising at such a rate in another 6 months then it might be newsworthy, but right now it is still just noise.

    I notice that statistics on South Korea are completely missing.

    Is it just me getting sick of these "someone mentioned an iPhone in a report" articles? They are only worth reading for the crazy "iPhone iz best" and "iPhone iz worst" comments that follow.

  21. ian 22
    Jobs Horns

    Fanboi Nation

    Britain? IPhone? I wouldn't say both of those words in the same sentence, much less the same paragraph, based on the comments here. But yet....

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