With iPhone 8 rumors peaking and the keynote date
leaking soon set for September 12, it’s time to add my two cents. I predict Apple will announce FeliCa support for all iPhone 8 and Apple Watch 3 devices worldwide in the iPhone 8 keynote Apple Pay section with the other major transit cards joining Apple Pay. Phil Schiller will probably say something like this:
Last year we announced FeliCa and Apple Pay support for our customers in Japan and the response has been incredible. This year we’re happy to announce FeliCa support in every iPhone 8 worldwide and that Apple Pay in Japan is adding support for other major transportation cards like PASMO and ICOCA in addition to Suica. Now all our customers in Japan and visitors from around the world can use their iPhone 8 for riding public transit all across Japan.
The mention will be brief. There may not even be a slide, but a 15 second mention with a slide would pay huge marketing dividends in Japan and costs nothing.
The reasons for the prediction are simple.
- NFC-F (FeliCa) is now a requirement for Global Certification Forum (GCF) NFC certification
- NFC-A-B-F already shipped in iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 (Apple only activated NFC-F for devices sold in Japan)
- The mysterious realignment of the JR Central smartEX startup date from July to late September strongly suggests the other major transit cards will join Apple Pay
- Special Apple Pay Suica system maintenance just before the September 12 iPhone 8 event also strongly suggests other transit cards will join Apple Pay
The full set of Japanese transit cards joining Apple Pay Suica for iPhone 8 announcement would be a great marketing opportunity for Apple in Japan.
Phil Schiller did not mention FeliCa in the keynote but global FeliCa made it into iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3.
Added the September 12 iPhone 8 event date.