Business / Tech

Apple's 11 series handsets go on sale in iPhone-loving Japan

Kyodo

Apple Inc. launched its iPhone 11 series in Japan on Friday amid increased competition from other major smartphone manufacturers, including those from China and South Korea.

Japan is one of the most important markets for Apple. Its iPhone models were the best-selling handsets in the country in fiscal 2018 with a 49.6 percent share, according to the MM Research Institute.

The figure is well above the iPhone’s roughly 10 percent share of the global market in the second quarter of 2019, according to data provider Statista.

On Friday morning more than 100 customers lined up in front of an Apple Store in central Tokyo for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max, two high-end models featuring new cameras, and a standard iPhone 11 model with a more affordable price tag.

“I like the design of the triple-lens camera” on the new models, said a woman in her 40s who had waited in a line at the Apple Store in the Marunouchi business district since Thursday night. About 130 people lined up at the store before its 8 a.m. opening.

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are both equipped with three rear-facing cameras that enable users to take wider-angled pictures, and are available in four colors including gold and silver. They have 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch organic light-emitting diode displays with starting prices of ¥106,800 and ¥119,800, respectively.

The standard iPhone 11, available in six colors including green and purple, has a 6.1-inch liquid-crystal display with two cameras on the back. The model is priced from ¥74,800.

Three major Japanese mobile carriers — NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. — also held events for the rollout of the new series.

The same day, Apple released its Apple Arcade subscription service in Japan. The service offers access to more than 100 games, for a monthly fee of ¥600.

The California-based tech giant plans to start a video on demand service, Apple TV+, on Nov. 1 with the same monthly charge.

Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch Series 5, which features an always-on display. Prices start from ¥42,800.

A new iPad tablet will be on sale from Sept. 30, featuring a larger display and pencil and keyboard support.