Although seventeen more countries will be getting the iPhone 4 at the end of this week, South Korea’s not one of them… and it’s getting a lot of airplay in Seoul, with Steve Jobs being explicitly called a liar by the South Korean press.
The issue isn’t really the delay, so much, but a comment by Steve Jobs saying: “It’s going to take us a little longer to get government approval [for the iPhone 4 in South Korea].”
In actuality, government approval doesn’t seem to be the issue. In fact, the Korean government says that the iPhone 4 has yet to be submitted for approval to the proper channels, either by Apple or their local carrier partner, KT Corp.
The government statement has sparked some confrontational headlines. “Jobs lied, didn’t he?” one local newspaper wrote.
The real issue is pretty clearly supply, “We don’t know why it’s been delayed, but one thing is that KT sold the phone very well and now wants to have a better profit from selling iPhone 4,” said Kim Dong-jun, an analyst at Eugene Securities in Seoul. “Negotiations over sufficient supply must also be going on.”
At the end of the day, I think this is just a case of Jobs misspeaking. I think it’s pretty obvious that Apple’s trying to get as many iPhone 4s to as many different countries as they can as quickly as possible: it’s money in their pockets, after all. Given the worldwide phenomenon that is the iPhone, that’s a Herculean task, and Apple should be credited with doing as good a job of it as they do.