chapter  5
20 Pages

“In Bed with the iPhone”: The iPhone and Hypersociality in Korea


Before the launch of Apple’s iPhone in Korea in November 2009, the domestic market share of local handset makers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics had reached almost 90 percent, and the number of smartphone subscribers accounted for merely 2.6 percent of the population between the ages of 12 and 59.1 After its launch, the number of iPhone users reached 500,000 in four months. Korea was the 85th country in the world to introduce the iPhone, but it became one of the top seven countries where iPhones sold more than 500,000 within a year.2 Subsequently, there was a sharp increase in smartphone subscriptions in Korea. According to the Korea Communications Commission, the number of smartphone users rose from 800,000 in December 2009, to 7.22 million in December 2010 and to 10.02 million in March 2011.3 One in fi ve Koreans uses a smartphone, and the number of iPhone users accounts for 27 percent of total smartphone users.