You know the old joke that 99% of statistics are made up on the spot? The reality is somewhat worse: 100% of statistics can be skewed any way you like.
The buzz today is that 91% of Japanese don’t want to buy an iPhone, which makes it look like the WonderBrick is going to flop in Japan. But let’s take a look at the survey itself. First, the sample size was just 402. Four hundred people in a country of around 127 million people. 402 “members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service”, according to the blog “What Japan Thinks”. The distribution of age was skewed to the high side, with the majority of respondents in their 30s (43.5%) and 40s (34.8%).
But the survey was taken on the 5th and 6th of June, several days before the iPhone 3G was even official. So, if these people represented the average Joe, and not the geek crowd, they might not even have known about a Japanese iPhone. Worse, the iPhone question was apparently tacked onto the end of this survey, which was actually about “mobile phone battery changing”.
Let me say that again. After a bunch of questions about swapping out batteries, you are then asked if you would buy a phone with no user swappable battery. A phone which, at the time you are asked, doesn’t exist. I’d probably say “no” to that, and I plan on buying a 3G iPhone.