Where Does the S Go?

New iPhones and Global FeliCa
More Apple Pay Suica Inbound Users

iPhone leaks from Apple are phun. People are debating whether we’ll get XS, X s or X S on the box. Whatever.

Other people are wondering if the new iPhone models and Apple Watch Series 4 will have Global FeliCa. They certainly will, hopefully free of the NFC hardware issues that plagued iPhone X production. The more important question for the Japanese market however is not the top-tier models but the iPhone 7 replacement aka iPhone SE 2 as tweeted by Guilherme Rambo.

SE 2 should be Global FeliCa as well and will make a great entry level Apple Pay Suica device, not only for Japanese students on a budget but older Japanese who don’t need or want the latest bells and whistles. An entry level Global FeliCa iPhone has been missing from the JP lineup and will certainly help Apple hold onto Japanese market share. It will certainly help too if Apple throws in a few NFC Wallet goodies and Apple Pay Transit additions such as Apple Pay PASMO at the event. We shall see.

Long term I think Apple Watch will be next revolution thing for transit but only when transit cards and credit cards can be added directly to Apple Watch without an iPhone. When that happens, and it will, watch out.

Guilherme Rambo SE2 Tweet

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NFC Wallet Passes for September 12 Apple Event (U)

Apple is using it’s just announced September 12 event to show off the new NFC Wallet Pass feature of iOS 12 and watchOS 5 to invited journalists and guests running the iOS 12 beta. The new feature was unveiled at WWDC and will be used for the Student ID Passes that Assa Abloy and Blackboard are developing with Apple.

Apple clearly wants to promote NFC Passes in Wallet over clunky QR Codes and showed NFC Passes on Apple Watch in action with a Wembley Stadium NFC ticket gate in the WWDC18 Apple Pay session video. In the same session Apple software engineers explained how to strip out QR Codes in Wallet Passes and easily replace them with NFC.

It’s also clear that Apple wants to promote NFC Passes on Apple Watch over iPhone, the new Wallet feature will be shown off in the Apple Watch segment of the upcoming event.

UPDATE
Japanese IT journalist Junya Suzuki is saying there could be more NFC goodies and partners on tap for the September 12 event and the iOS 12 GM. Back at WWDC18 I wrote:

NFC Certificates should be the ticket for developers to gain NFC access that was not possible up to now… It will be fascinating to see what developers do with wider NFC Certificate distribution and what NFC passes/reward cards, and hopefully much more, that come out of it with iOS 12 and watchOS 5.

It would be in line with expectations if Apple announced some extra NFC Wallet goodies, such as NFC reward cards in addition to NFC Passes and Student IDs, during the keynote. It would be beyond expectations, but not far fetched, if Apple also announced Apple Pay Transit for MIFARE based Taiwan transit cards, FeliCa based Octopus Hong Kong transit cards or perhaps something else…like Apple Pay PASMO. We won’t know until the event as Apple has certainly cut code references out of the iOS 12 beta mix to keep the 9to5 Mac code spelunker elves at bay.

Enjoy the show.

Suica App v2.2 Security Update…Again

This is an update of my previous post, copied below for reference. JR East is really going out of its way to make sure that everybody…EVERYBODY… updates to Suica App v2.2 to the point of sending out emails to people who have asked not to receive emails from JR East, pictured at bottom. They have never done this before. It sounds like some heavy-duty Mobile Suica cloud infrastructure reconfiguration will be taking place.

The only new information is that all previous versions of Suica App will not even boot or connect to Mobile Suica from September 5. JR East has already announced major unscheduled Mobile Suica maintenance downtime on that date 1am~4am JST with any remaining maintenance to be carried out September 12.

What’s the rush and the heavy breathing for? Wait a minute…do I smell a September 12 new iPhone announcement connection here? It’s sure fun to think so.

Previous post:

A security update for Suica App v2.2 has been released with a notice from JR East to update to the new version before August 28. From this date older versions of Suica App will no longer be able to log on and access the Mobile Suica network for Shinkansen e-ticket purchases, commuter plan purchases and other Suica app features.

The update is a security update with no new features. The JR East notice does not specify any details other than: “please update for better security”

JR East email notice:JR East Suica App Security Update Notice

You’re Holding It Wrong

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index


Apple Pay Suica Express Transit

My American stay is drawing to a close. It has been good but I look forward to getting back to work and home in Japan, and finally getting my hands on a Rev-B iPhone X. All summer long I’ve had this fantasy blog post in my head that goes something like:

Apple has finally, yes really finally, issued a service program for iPhone X Suica users who have the iPhone X Suica Problem. Please see Apple Support details if you are affected.

I have no illusions that I’ll ever write that post, or that any of my posts will have any impact on resolution of the iPhone X Suica NFC issue, but I keep writing about it anyway. Why? Here is a recent story. I ran across a Japanese high school student on Twitter who had the iPhone X Suica problem. He hit dead-end after dead-end but finally managed to get an exchange for a Rev-B iPhone X at a local carrier store. I gave him the information I had gathered and he finally understood the problem he had been facing alone and excitedly asked if he could share it with his friends, which he did.

Nothing is worse than facing a problem alone in a vacuum. That’s the kind of person I hope to help by writing about it. I wish Apple would try to help them too. Unfortunately I think all we will get is the typical Apple modus operandi: ‘deny, deny, deny some more, charge for repairs, deny more, sell off all the faulty SKUs, admit it was actually a problem and refund the minority who persist in chasing us.’

Part of what makes the iPhone X NFC problem so frustrating is the difficulty of quantifying anything NFC. I was reminded of this when shopping for my Dad at Harmon’s grocery the other day. They have Apple Pay but this time the cashier told me, “You’re holding it wrong. The antenna is on the right side, hold it there.” I sighed to myself and held my iPhone X to the right side of the Verifone reader. It worked but doubt it made any difference: there’s nothing on the reader that indicates where the NFC hit area is, or even if there is one, and of course no audio-visual NFC user feedback at all. Another vacuum.

A NFC engineer source explained the difficulties of NFC testing: “Again, though, the real test with NFC is whether the card-emulating device works with a particular reader, and there are too many variables there to replicate with an amateur test setup – that’s why things such as (FeliCa Certification) exist.”

The vacuum is all there is to work with, but I’m a half glass full person even when it’s nothing. There’s always hope nothing will be replaced with something. I’ll keep writing.

iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index

This is a Japanese version of the iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
*このガイドは英語版から翻訳したものです(-.-;)
基本

Q: iPhone X Suica 問題は何ですか
A: iPhone X Suica問題はNFCハードウェアの不具合で、不具合のパタンは:平均3回に1回が端末側にエラーが発生される、2発目のNFCが問題なく通る、全体のNFCパフォマンスが鈍いという特徴です。

以下読者から寄れられたiPhone X生産集計情報を見ると、2018年4月までのiPhone Xの生産した台数にNFC不具合があります…が、2018年15週目からNFC改善されているiPhone Xが生産されている。改善されたNFC問題のないiPhone XはRevision B iPhone Xの名前をつけた。Rev-B iPhone Xを手に入った読者によるとNFCパフォマンスがiOSバーションと一切関係なくiPhone 7・iPhone 8と同じレベルで、パフォマンスの差がすぐ分かる特徴です。

iPhone X 生産 集計

iPhone X Production Tally 2018-10-6
Reader Feedback iPhone X Production Tally (as of 2018-10-6) : A simple tally of good/bad iPhone X devices and manufacture dates reported by readers to track production switchover from problem iPhone X devices to Revision B iPhone X devices. The tally includes JP and international iPhone X models

**2018年15週目からはRev-B iPhone Xへ切り替えのようです。

Q: 大きな問題ですか
A: Yahoo ジャバンやGoogle検索する際、iPhone X Suica問題関連キーワード入力補助がよく出ますので、多くな方々が検索しているようです。

Q: なぜiPhone Xだけの問題なのか
A:  iPhone 8・iPhone Xが同じNFCチップが搭載されているが、8よりXのロジックボード構成がかなり複雑で、ロジックボード上のRF(高周波)ルーティング問題、アンテナのスペック問題、他のコンポーネントとの相互作用、など考えられます。

Q: 日本だけの問題ですか
A: いいえ、中国でApple Pay 交通系 IC カード(北京と上海)のユザーが同じiPhone X NFC問題を報告している、アメリカでも iPhone X ユーザーがこのブログを見てから問題を気づいてる。自分の2018年1月製造した「Suica 問題あり」のiPhone Xが米国ではApple Pay使用する際同じiPhone XのNFCエラーが発生しているので、2018年4月以前生産iPhone X台数がこのSuica・NFC問題が抱えていると見ています。

Q: なぜ日本外のiPhone Xユーザーがこの問題を意識しないのか
A: これはApple Pay SuicaおよびFeliCa環境が関係している。 日本のレジ・POS・交通の決済インフラが高性能環境で、iPhone X Suica問題が目立つので分かりやすい。 米国などではレジ・POS・交通の決済インフラが悪いので、通常のApple Pay使用で目立つことなく分かりにくいです。

THE iPhone X交換チャーレンジ
Q: iPhone X Suica問題確認方法は?
A: iPhone X Suica 問題発生している場合、iPhone Xシリアル番号をコピーし、ここにペイスト。2018年4月以前生産した場合、NFCハードウェア不具合ありのiPhone Xです。

Q: 「Suica問題あり」iPhone Xの交換方法は?
A: 簡単ではありません。Appleサポート内部がiPhone X Suica問題を認めているが、公式に認めないながらも、交換には応じるという対応をすることです、ただし交換条件は初期化してダメだったら交換する。

初期化してもiPhone X Suica問題が直らないことをAppleサポートに説明してください。 Appleサポート係がiPhone Xを交換してもSuica問題を解決保証がないと説明します。 確認した上「交換をお願いします」と回答して下さい。

AppleサポートがiPhone Xを交換手続きし、交換方法は二つ:Genius Barで交換するか、または在宅自己交換修理する。iPhone Xハードウェア診断テストが行い、「問題ない」という結果が出ますが、確認した上「交換をお願いします」と回答して下さい。

最後に新しいiPhone Xのシリアル番号をチェック、2018年4月以降生産したことを確認して下さい。

お疲れ様でございます。

*iOS 12.0/watchOS 5.0アップデート注意
iOS 12.0および watchOS 5.0にSuicaバグがあると報告されており:効かないApple Pay Suicaエクスプレスカード、改札機で一瞬エラー、更新しないSuica残高、など。次期のiOS 12.1/watchOS 5.1のアップデートにiOS 12のSuicaバグが直る予定です

Q: AppleiPhone XSuica問題を内部では把握しているのでiPhone 8 ロジックボード交換プログラムのような修理プログラムを実施しますか。
A: 可能性が低いと思います。問題ありのiPhone X台数が多く、Apple Payユザー数が比較的少なく、欧米ユーザーやITジャーナリストなどがiPhone X Suica問題に対するの関心が薄い。iPhone 6sの突然シャットダウン問題・電池問題と同じレベルな騒ぎがない限り、Appleが前向きにならないと思います。