Does Japan hate the iPhone as much as Wired thinks it does? No, say local experts Nobi Hayashi and Daiji Hirata, who were somewhat misquoted by Brian Chen in his article.
Though the quotes were accurate, Chen lifted them from other items earlier published by Wired. Their decontextualized words may agree with the story's position, but it turns out that Hayashi and Hirata do not.
This is why one has to be careful when refrying old quotes.
If at first it seems like fair turnaround, however, don't hold your breath. Exciting in principle, Chen's offenses turn out to be unbelievably trivial. Neither source is important to the article: buried near the end, their quotes describe phone features that are popular in Japan.
Far more interesting is the rage of Apple fans, who pounced onto these ethereal misrepresentations to denounce the author.
Edible Apple imagines that the article is "largely based" on a quote in the twelfth paragraph. iPhone Asia calls it a "hit piece". One blogger takes an unseemly interest in racist remarks aimed at Chen.
Best of all, though, is Apple Insider's epic deconstruction of the story. A masterpiece, it is fully five times as long as Chen's original. In the first paragraph, subject-verb pairs tumble over themselves like puppies scampering down a hillside:
A report intending to portray the iPhone as "hated" in the Japanese market turns out to have been built upon fake quotations from industry writers and observers who were misrepresented by remarks attributed to them that they never made.
Though I fear this illustrates why one should never write when angry, an overwhelming sense of kinship with author Prince McLean remains. McLean obviously feels exactly how I feel when people talk smack about Apple. Denounce the lies! But do it in measured, even steps!
And so at the cost of reminding the world that we Apple fans are completely mad, we unravel the questionable provenance of two peripheral remarks, fished out of the archives to pad a story to the required 600 words.
Meanwhile, the iPhone is still not (Update: yet!) a hit in Japan.
Writers fuck up because of deadlines, not because they are party to schemes to destroy your favorite companies. The proper way to deflate our errors is with wit. Dig the knife deep and hard. In, out. You win.
See how Hayashi himself did it:
I have to thank Brian X. Chen for helping me diet.
Boom! It's not even his first language.
Apple Insider's response, in contrast, does not end until it has traversed a continent of systematic wrath: it's nearly 3,000 words long. That's almost as long as February's issue of Wired! It's laced with recriminations aimed at Chen and "media" who aim "fierce assaults" at Apple. This is my favorite:
Hayashi's reply, sent within same day, didn't provide Chen with the facts he was hoping to use.
That Apple Insider originally got Brian Chen's name wrong is an irony best left unmolested.
Hayashi's own response was the best, laconic and effective, explaining why Japan seems to hate the iPhone and why, in fact, it likes it just fine.