iOS 16: missing features in Japan

Any WWDC OS announcement is always a matchup contest of what’s coming for America and what’s missing in other regions like Japan. Let’s take a quick look at what’s coming, what’s not and other quirks on the iOS 16 Preview page.

What’s missing

  • iOS 16 Preview All New Features page
    • As the iOS 16 feature set needs to be pruned for Japan, the iOS 16 all new features page will likely appear later this summer as the beta gets closer to final release.
  • Intelligence
    • Japan is finally getting Live Text. Visual Lookup is still missing but the new, fun to play with Visual Lookup ‘lift subjects from picture backgrounds’ is listed works just fine. It’s great that Live Text supports Japanese but test scans with vertical Japanese text with iOS 16 beta 1 all failed. Hopefully the feature will improve before the final release because Live Text Japanese will be pretty useless without robust vertical text support. And yes it’s depressing to think that iOS and macOS in 2022 still cannot do precise multilingual vertical text selection that QuickDraw GX could do back in 1993.
  • Maps
    • It’s weird that Apple is advertising transit cards and low fare balance warnings as a new Maps feature. I guess it’s new when it’s new for America. Apple Maps has had low fare warnings for Suica since the October 2016 iOS 10.1 update. The add new card part is new either but low fare warnings aren’t working in beta 1. Bottom line: there is no new transit functionality such as granular route selection, sorting etc., thought the UI is improved and more compact. Walking directions have also added elevation information. As Japan is missing from the WWDC22 announced list of countries getting New Maps this year (countries like Saudi Arabia that have yet to see an Apple Maps Image Collection van), Japan will continue to be the Apple Maps challenged country. I’m pretty sure Taiwan will get New Maps long before Japan does, if ever.
  • Apple Pay and Wallet
    • Apple Pay Later is only for America at this point, ditto for ID in Wallet, both missing and no surprise. Order tracking in Wallet is listed for Japan and also key sharing, though BMW is currently the only company offering a digital key for Wallet. Wallet compatible Home-Office-Hotel digital keys have yet to be announced though there are many digital keys on the market for Android.
  • Other things
    • Live Captions, Control Apple Watch with iPhone, Apple News, Weather app minute by minute precipitation are missing. Siri Japanese voice 1, the guy voice, and voice 2 are new and higher quality. Voice 1 sounds more soft and fey to my ear. That’s okay but the previous guy voice was a bit easier to hear outside with ambient noise.

iOS 16 Gallery

Live Text now supports Japanese but vertical text scanning doesn’t work
Live Text Japanese scan in Translation app doesn’t work for vertical text