With iPhone 8 rumors peaking and the keynote date leaking soon, 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. 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 group smartphone transit fare interoperability startup date from July to late September.
The last item is perfect timing for the iPhone 8 announcement, a great marketing opportunity for Apple in Japan.