Japanese ready for iPhone’s arrival

Despite the country’s advanced cellular industry, many Japanese are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the iPhone, reports USA Today. According to a July survey conducted by research firm Yahoo Value, 13 percent of the 400 surveyed want an iPhone, and 15 percent of those would switch service providers to get one. “This is the first phone that thrilled me,” freelance journalist Tsutsumu Ishikawa says. Ishikawa flew to Hawaii on June 29 to pick up an iPhone, despite the fact that the device’s phone features don’t work in Japan. “People regard it as cool and advanced. And the interface is easy to use.” Several obstacles stand in the way of the iPhone and success in Japan, according to the article. Obstacles include Japan’s 3G networks, the iPhone’s pricing, privacy issues, and the process of negotiating a deal with a service provider, a process which, the article suggests, may be expedited by a “personal friendship” between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who happened to be on hand at the device’s unveiling at the Macworld Expo in January. SoftBank is one of Japan’s three top service providers, along with KDDI and DoCoMo. “We are interested” in the iPhone, says DoCoMo spokesman Roland Arafat. “But nothing has been decided.” The iPhone is scheduled to be released in Asia in 2008.

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