The Israel iphone saga continues…Steve Jobs responds
Well, judging by the amount of comments my last post, bringing the iphone to Israel is something of interest to more people than just me. A comment was left by a Yuval Vizel, founder of the Facebook group “Bring the iPhone to Israel”
Dear Mr. Jobs,
On behalf of “The Group for the Promotion of the iPhone’s Release in Israel”, I’d like to to bring your attention to the fact that the absence of Israel from Apple’s list of 70 countries, which are slated to release the new iPhone 3G within the next few months, has caused a great disappointment among the Israeli mobile phone users, and particularly among Apple’s loyal Israeli fans. We believe that Apple is missing a great business opportunity by ignoring the Israeli cellular market.
As written in an article by John H. Christy III, editor of Forbes International Investment Report :
“Israel’s mobile telecom market is fairly well developed, with a penetration rate almost 125%. In other words, there are more than nine million mobile phone accounts for a population of 7.2 million people. Furthermore, spending on telecom services in Israel accounts for 4.4% of gross domestic product. That’s a higher proportion than even the US and Europe.” (From “A Clear Connection to Israel”, published in MoneyShow.com, June 2nd, 2008)
In addition, we’d like to bring your attention to the great demand for iPhones in Israel and to the active community which has evolved to support the Israeli iPhone users. There are well over 10,000 “unlocked” iPhone units in Israel and many Israeli fans have already created web sites and online groups in order to share information about the device, help fellow users and localize it. As written in a recently published CNN article: “Unlocked and pricey, iPhone is coveted in Israel”.
Therefore, we would highly appreciate your effort to release the iPhone in Israel as soon as possible. We are enthusiastically looking forward for the official release of this great device in our country!
The response from Apple headquarters? Actually, from Steve Jobs himself?
“The iPhone currently does not support right to left text. Don’t you think this will severely limit its success in Israel?”
Click here for a screenshot of the email.
Too bad Jobs doesn’t have his facts straight. Several of the countries where the new iPhone will be available are Arabic speaking nations. Including Qatar as well as our neighbors Jordan and Egypt. Last I checked their language is read right from left too.
Israelis are obsessed with their cellphones and gadgets, it would be a natural place to market the iPhone (allegedly there are already over 10,000 iPhone users in Israel) and frankly quite odd that we are being overlooked here…perhaps the other cellphone companies are flexing their collective muscles? I can’t think of any other reason. What are your thoughts? Why was Israel overlooked? Has Israel’s Apple distributor idigital made any statement about this?