What about Asia, Apple?

What about Asia, Apple?

Summary: weekly roundup It's cool, it's hip, it's sleek…and it's not in Asia. I'm talking about Apple's new mobile device iPhone, of course--walk past any water cooler this week and that's probably what you'll hear others talk about, too.

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TOPICS: Apple
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weekly roundup It's cool, it's hip, it's sleek…and it's not in Asia. I'm talking about Apple's new mobile device iPhone, of course--walk past any water cooler this week and that's probably what you'll hear others talk about, too.

After keeping the rumor mills busy for months, the iPod maker finally raised the curtains on its much-anticipated mobile phone which analysts say may have etched a new category in the handset market with its "very high degree of differentiation".

Apple has also differentiated the device by putting Asia last on the list as the region in which the iPhone will be commercially available. While the mobile phone will make its debut in the United States in June, followed by Europe in the fourth quarter, Apple fans in Asia will have to wait until 2008 before the device makes its way here.

I am baffled by this decision, especially since Asia currently has some of the world's highest mobile penetration rates and houses some of the most savvy mobile users. In fact, Gartner stated that Asia-Pacific led the global mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2006, accounting for 54.7 percent of sales--one in every two new mobiles worldwide was sold in this region.

It's perhaps hardly surprising that the company has chosen this route, when you think about how Apple's online music service iTunes is still not available across most of Asia, other than Japan and Australia.

Maybe it has concerns over illegal file-sharing problems and the hassle of getting copyright licenses from each country, but can Apple really afford to put Asia last if it's serious about becoming a major player in the mobile space?

It also remains to be seen if the iPhone, which runs on the Mac OS X platform but doesn't come with 3G support, will indeed ring in the cash registers, and whether Apple will be able to resolve its lawsuit with Cisco Systems.

In other news this week, Singapore's multimedia tech industry gets a boost while Dell Computer goes green. Also, find out what stones Microsoft has left unturned and what Motorola wants to strap onto bikes in future.

Topic: Apple

About

Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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4 comments
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  • Maybe that's exactly the point. Steve Jobs did say in his keynote that they (Apple) may even develop a 3G iPhone in the future, so maybe Apple will take this one year to come out with a 3G iPhone, in time to launch first in Asia in 2008?

    Cheers
    anonymous
  • Well I suppose its bcos the US are not very well implemented for 3G. they are quite behind Asia and Europe in this area. Steve living in a world where 3G is next year?
    anonymous
  • It doesn't make sense to launch a product much later in Asia unless,
    1. He is projecting that his production cannot meet the demand.
    2. Since it does not have 3G, it will make iPhone look bad in a market that expects one.
    3. Perhaps, based on their historical sales record and projections for their other products, Asia does'nt account for as big a pie as Gartner suggest
    anonymous
  • Availability issue aside, the lack of 3G is disconcerting but not a killer deal, given the spotty 3G experience here in Singapore (as Eileen Yu can also attest, based on her previous blog entry)and elsewhere. The upside of the iPhone? A strong indication of where the iPod's going. But please already, open iTunes Singapore.
    anonymous