Despite some signs, and hopes, that Apple would turn on FeliCa for the rest of the world, it appears the same strategy is in place for the new iPhones: global NFC chips with NFC A-B-F, but only NFC-F turned on for devices sold in Japan. The Apple Japan page is the only one that lists FeliCa in the iPhone 8, X and Series 3 tech specs, same as is was for iPhone 7.
No sooner than I posted that global FeliCa did not appear to be in the works that Japanese twitters users pointed out the different wording on the refreshed Apple Pay Japan page. The phrase “only for devices purchased in Japan” is not used with the new devices announced today and the specs are very clear: global FeliCa (NFC-F) support is built into iPhone 8, X and Series 3 Watch and those devices bought anywhere in the world can be used for Apple Pay Japan.
Japanese press on-site reports from the Apple Park keynote also confirmed global FeliCa support in the new devices from Apple staff in the hands on area.
This is in line with the new NFC A-B-F certification requirement that started in April 2017 and it also means that ‘inbound’ visitors to Japan can add Apple Pay Suica with the new devices.
Though Apple is very low key about global NFC-F support, FeliCa systems outside of Japan, such as Hong Kong’s MTR system and Octopus Card, and Singapore’s EZ-Link will be able to add Apple Pay Suica-like services. We will find out more as iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3 and iPhone X go on sale.