Fellow blogger “Mono Suki Techo” (Notebook of Things I Like) has also been digging into the iPhone X Apple Pay Suica problem and hit gold. One of his readers reported that Apple Pay Suica worked fine with the iOS 11.0.1 his iPhone X shipped with, but he started experiencing the Suica error problem only after directly updating to iOS 11.3. This is the magic baseline that had been missing, the key that unlocks the mystery.
It’s a software issue after all.
I upgraded iPhone X to iOS 11.1 at the Docomo Shop right out of the box and missed the iOS 11.0.1 experience. That’s probably what most people did when setting up their new iPhone X and the reason why there were very few iOS 11.0.1 iPhone X Suica user experiences to compare with later. Unfortunately iOS 11.1 was the starting point for iPhone X Suica error problems which spiraled out of control with the Apple Cash iOS 11.2 Update. Apple Pay code changes for Apple Cash stomped on something in Suica and that hasn’t been fixed yet.
None of this changes anything or resolves the problem, but it’s nice to know. There’s nothing else to do but wait for Apple to fix it. I created a dedicated page to cover the issue, news and developments will be posted there.
UPDATE: as always, I spoke too soon. Further developments point to a iPhone X NFC hardware problem.