Apple stores are iconic throughout the world for the level of design that goes into their construction. In fact, it’s almost like they’re Apple products themselves.
Today Apple posted a video to its YouTube channel showcasing the preparation for its new store in the Omotesando area of Tokyo, Japan. With giant glass panes stretching stories-high, it’s a big store in a country that Apple is doing very well in right now.
Apple devices are already wiping the floor with the competition in Japan — but things look to be getting even better on the iOS front, thanks to news that the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are set to launch on the DoCoMo network in two week’s time.
With more than 63 million mobile subscribers, NTT DoCoMo is the largest mobile service provider in Japan.
“With the addition of iPad alongside iPhone, we now offer the complete lineup of Japan’s most popular mobile devices on the nation’s most reliable LTE network,” says NTT DoCoMo CEO Kaoru Kato.
I don’t need to tell the readers of a blog called Cult of Mac that Steve Jobs could be brilliant. Nor, if you’ve read much about Jobs’ life, do you likely need to be informed that he could sometimes be a little unhinged — whether that meant berating co-workers, or bursting into tears because the design for a forthcoming product didn’t totally live up to his expectations.
A good case can, in fact, be made for the fact that these two qualities went hand-in-hand: that treating the creation of a personal computer or a smartphone as if life depended on it was what made, and still makes, Apple products great.
Taking this idea into consideration, a new plan by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications seeks to find the country’s next great technology mogul who is just a bit “hen” — the Japanese word for odd, weird, or crazy.
The iPhone has hit a new all-time high when it comes to market share in Japan: representing a massive 36.6% of all Japanese smartphones in the first quarter of 2014.
This increase, which is up from last year’s 25.5%, was driven by Apple’s deal with NTT DoCoMo, a.k.a. Japan’s largest carrier. Apple launched the iPhone 5s and 5c with NTT DoCoMo back in September, and sales have been rocketing upwards ever since. Sales have proven so good, in fact, that Apple recently moved Doug Beck, chief of sales for Japan and Korea, over to handle the North American beat — where it is hoped he can apply some of the same sales mojo to increasing U.S. market share.
Notorious vegetarian Steve Jobs had few weakness. Black turtlenecks were one. The other was an extreme love of sushi.
Some of the West Coast’s best sushi places dotted Steve’s backyard, but Kaygetsu, a small sushi spot in Menlo Park, held the key to Steve’s heart stomach so tightly that Silicon Valley’s most impatient CEO could be spotted waiting up to 30 minutes like a normal pauper just to get his tongue on some hamachi.
Jobs loved the place so much he had a surprise birthday party for his wife there and even crammed Apple’s board of directors into the tiny restaurant for board meetings.
When Apple starts sniffing around, looking to buy a company, it’s time to pay attention. That goes double if they make chips. Back in 2008, Apple purchased P.A. Semi, a low-powered chipmaker, whose acquisition soon paved the way for an entire series of revolutionary ARM based chips. And recently, Apple purchased a low-energy chip maker who could help power the iWatch.
Now Apple’s out to do it again, this time with Renesas SP, if reports can be believed. But what for?
Three out of every four smartphones sold in Japan are reportedly iPhones, but how did the Apple devices get there to start with?
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son shed some light on that question during a television interview with Charlie Rose which aired earlier this week, in which he told the story of how he landed the iPhone back in 2008.
Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday, New Year in Japan is the time of choice for retailers and shoppers alike — since this means Fukubukuro.
Literally translating as “lucky bag”, fukubukuro gives stores a chance to make room for incoming stock and drum up some publicity by selling off inventory at a massively discounted rate. The catch? That customers hand over their money for a grab bag they have no idea of the contents of.
In Japan and other Asian countries, an annual tradition that many retailers participate in during the holidays is called “Fukubukuro,” commonly referred to as “lucky” or “mystery” bags.
The concept is simple: you put together bags of heavily discounted products at random and sell them to customers who don’t know exactly what they’re getting. It may sound weird to westerners, but if you really think about it, an overweight old man in a bright robe coming down your chimney at night is a lot weirder.
Anyway, Apple Japan is participating in the tradition again this year, and it has confirmed the special sale’s kickoff date of January 2nd. Lucky Bags will cost 36,000 yen, or around $345. Bags usually contain items like iPods, random accessories and t-shirts, but customers have received more expensive hardware like iPads and even MacBooks in years past.
Supplies are limited, so Apple stores in Japan will definitely have lines of eager customers after New Years.