Apple in Japan - Price, Popularity and Curiosities


Ever wonder why Apple is so successful in Japan? Are macOS iOS devices more used than other operating systems in the country? In this article we are going to talk all about Apple from Japan. 

Apple's success in Japan

Apple is very present in Japan, almost 72% of market share of mobile devices in Japan belongs to the iPhone and iPad. It is not the same with MacOS, but they are also quite popular.

For every 5 people in Tokyo or Osaka with a phone in hand, 6 are iPhones. Otherwise it's some flip phone (which are incredibly modern with Android and Touchscreen).

The Japanese do not usually like non-Japanese brands, Apple is one of the exceptions. Samsung despite worldwide success, may end up lagging behind Sony (which is dead) and others.

Currently Cellular Marketing in Japan belongs to the following brands:

Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities

Japanese like Apple Simplicity

One of the cultures that predominates in Japan is simplicity and ease. Everything is created to make people's lives easier, from simple packaging to public transport systems. Surely they would prefer a standardized interface than a system totally different from each other. 

Recalling that the fact that few Japanese use notebooks and computers, make the cell phone their main technological tool. Apple features many advantages to replace a computer system, especially iPads that are also quite popular in the hands of the Japanese.

The general population of Japan that is not used to technology, simply does not know cellphone brands like LG, Xiaomi, Motorola and others, except Apple. In fact, there are Japanese people who don't even know the Android operating system.

Apple's marketing and popularity in Japan has been around since the first releases. Many Japanese people have become accustomed to their tools and today they cannot give up on something different. So much so that the arguments of some Japanese for using the iPhone do not make so much sense.

It is worth remembering that price is not a relevant factor when buying in Japan as it is in Brazil. The Japanese value physically well-designed products and are not concerned with the ideology of open software, not least because they do not usually resort to piracy and jailbreaks.

Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities

Apple in Japan is cheaper than the competition 

I don't think the Japanese buy Apple products because they are cool or want to show off with the Brazilians do. Unlike the reality in Brazil, Apple in Japan can be cheaper than other competitors. I myself was one who migrated to Apple after being the most affordable option between Microsoft and Samsung. 

In the case of mobile devices, the plans offered by operators always prioritize an iPhone, making it super accessible with the plan. The purchasing power and affordability allows Apple devices to be widely marketed among the entire Japanese population.  

I remember that I paid ¥ 56,000 on an iPad Pro while a Samsung equivalent tablet cost over ¥ 80,000 yen. Not to mention the used iPads that can be found in the range of ¥ 20,000.  

With less than a Japanese minimum wage you are able to buy a MacBook or iMac, while in Brazil we need the full year's salary. Deciding between Apple and another brand in Japan is just a matter of taste and not price. 

Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities

The Price of Apple in Japan

Talking about prices is something very relative, because it tends to change depending on the specifications of Hardware, year of release, if it is new or used, or if it was obtained in some type of plan and discount. For this reason, the price list below are estimates of new products:

To get a dollar equivalent, just put a comma after two zeros.100 yen is equivalent to approximately 0.96 USD. Example: 100,000 yen is worth about $ 1,000.00.

ProductYen Price
MacMini72,000 - 120,000
iPad (+ Air)40,000 to 65,000
iPad Pro60,000 to 120,000
MacBook100,000 to 130,000
iMac120,000 to 300,000
MacBook Pro134,000 to 280,000
iMacPro300,000 to 1,000,000
iPhone70,000 to 150,000
iPhone (PRO) Max80,000 to 170,000
Apple Watch40,000 to 75,000

It is worth mentioning that Japanese Operators usually sell cheaper and exclusive iPhones linked or not to a monthly plan. Unlike Brazil, most Japanese opt for a monthly telephone plan. Unlocked iPhones in Japan are much more expensive than $ 1,000.

If you're looking for used Apple products, you can find something good for less than 50,000 yen. Some iPads can be found even for 20,000 yen in good condition.

Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities

Apple Marketing is Strong in Japan

No matter where you look, especially in big cities, Apple’s marketing is gigantic, starting with its sophisticated and modern stores that stand out in the large neighborhoods.

Television, train stations, everywhere we see Apple marketing that wins over young Japanese easily. Whether you are an Apple fan or not, the ubiquity in Japan is quite noticeable.

When Apple entered Japan, it already came with everything, without even giving space to the Android operating system. It simply blew up Japan's native operating systems. It took a long time for Android to market in Japan, yet its reach is still low and limited.

Even some Schools in Japan often suggest iPads to students. When watching anime it is common to find only iOS devices, cell phones flips or some smartphone from Sony and Huawei. I believe that for a long time Apple will remain a priority, even if it takes a while to update Hardware, I still consider its software unbeatable.

Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities
Apple in japan - price, popularity and curiosities

The iPhone established in Japan before Android

When the iPhone was launched, Softbank ranked second in the market and was looking for an advantage in reaching the first. So Apple and Softbank joined an exclusive contract and both got a big boost in front of Android.

Even before Android spread, iPhone was practically the first to arrive after flips. The simple fact that the Japanese take public transportation constantly helped further the need to have a new system that had maps and integrated payments. Apple was the pioneer, so it dominated Japan.

After a few years, when it became clear that the iPhone was only saturating at SoftBank, Apple released plans with Docomo and au, further increasing sales.

This exclusive contract with Japanese operators makes it very difficult for foreigners traveling to Japan with the intention of buying an iPhone. Generally, iPhones that are not blocked by any operator cost more than those sold in official stores linked to an operator.

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