Apple is reportedly preparing to build a new research and development facility in Japan. The new facility will apparently be on par with the larger R&D operations in other parts of Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo told a crowd at an election rally, according to Reuters:
Apple's Q1 2014 earnings are out, and an early highlight on the conference call was talk of how well iPhone has been doing in Japan. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer cited the new partnership with NTT Docomo, along with continuing strong relationships with KDDI and Softbank for the strong growth iPhone showed in the country.
Apple has confirmed on its Japanese website that the now annual "Lucky Bag" New Year sale will return for 2014 on January 2. For one day only, Apple will be hosting discounts on products for Japanese customers, but the highlight is the 36,000 Yen Lucky Bag, which will be available again in limited quantities.
NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile carrier, will reportedly carry the iPhone starting this fall. While talks between Apple and NTT DoCoMo have been reported for awhile, it now seems that the deal is done. NTT DoCoMo has struggled against rivals that do carry the iPhone, according to Nikkei:
A new report has suggested that the largest cellular carrier in Japan, NTT Docomo, is in talks with Apple over carrying the next iPhone. Rival carriers KDDI and Softbank – recent acquirers of Sprint – already carry the iPhone. From Sankei via Bloomberg:
In today's conference call after the Q2 2013 fiscal results, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed that Apple products are selling like gangbusters in East Asia. In China and Japan both, iPad sales more than doubled this quarter from the quarter the year prior. In China specifically, iPad sales were up 138% from last year.
According to recent market surveys, Apple has become the top-selling phone manufacturer in Japan. The iPhone was the best-selling phone in Japan in 2012, allowing Apple to capture 15% market share. This puts them just ahead of Sharp and Fujitsu, both Japanese firms and both holding 14% of the market. Counterpoint Technology Market Research believes that the increase in iPhone sales was due to heavier marketing by KDDI and Softbank, Japan’s second- and third-largest carriers, respectively:
The iPhone 5 is just barely available to the public and already two high-volume burglaries have cleared out the inventory in some stores. In the UK, an O2 store assistant from Ilford is suspect of stealing some 252 iPhone 5 units and an unspecified amount of cash from the store's safe at around 1:30 AM this morning.
Research firm MMRI has tallied up local mobile sales for 2011 and figured that iPhone has claimed 30% of Japan's smartphone market with 7.3 million units, making it the most popular individual brand of the bunch. In the overall mobile landscape of Japan, iPhone claimed 17% share, which is second only to Fujitsu.
Apple has just announced from the iPad 3 event that their popular voice assistant, Siri, will be making its way to customers in Japan. It will be part of iOS 5.1 which will be available starting today. Siri will be rolled out in Japan over the next few weeks.
Siri is currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and France. This aligns with Apple's plan to roll out Siri to even more countries during 2012.