Find My AirPods

I love macgeek san’s videos. He has a great way of explaining things by actually showing you no matter how far he has to travel.

On iOS 10.3 day he walks us through the update via iTunes 12.6 (I didn’t know 12.6 was required for an this update). Then he puts his AirPods in a coin locker (dig the Suica Apple Pay Apple Watch transaction) and drives off to Yokohama Landmark Tower to test Find My AirPods. It works.

Macgeek san makes a good point that the Find My AirPods ‘play sound’ feature only works when AirPods are out of the case and you are close enough to hear the sound. Limited but useful. Nice work.

The Apple Pay Japan Ad Juggernaut

Why are you so slow? Don’t you have Suica Apple Pay?

The Japanese ad blitz that kicked off for the Apple Pay New Life campaign is shaping up as something unprecedented for Apple in Japan. The closest thing in scope, frequency and reach is the famous iPod dancing silhouette campaign at its pre-iPhone peak.

This is much bigger. Think of iPod ad intensity with ten more companies each contributing their own iPod ads. Since the October 29 Apple Pay Japan kickoff, ads have wrapped Yamanote trains, plastered train stations and escalators and that was just for JR East’s Suica Apple Pay.

Now we have Apple Pay ads from Docomo iD, JCB QUICPay, ORICO, Mitsui Sumitomo, Saison/UC, View and of course Suica. Lots more Suica Apple Pay advertising than ever: more wrapped trains, station posters, ticket gate stickers and six ads featuring hot actor Ryuhei Matsuda (son of Black Rain’s Yusaku Matsuda) using Suica Apple Pay on Apple Watch, looking at the camera saying “Let’s Go!” These ads loop endlessly on the Yamanote line train info-screens.

The JR East Suica Apple Pay ads in particular feature Apple Watch Series 2 in action and are enormously effective in a way that Apple’s own Apple Watch ads are not. The Apple Pay ‘ka-ching’ sound going through the ticket gate is the one single killer feature everybody gets instantly. It’s the perfect pitch to Tokyo commuters on the go.

Enjoy the ad gallery.


Ticket Gate Stickers

McDonald’s Japan Adding Full Apple Pay Support


The new ‘World Ready’ Panasonic NFC JT-R600CR Reader
スクリーンショット 2017-03-23 11.25.45
The full spport list

Mono-News Net reports that McDonald’s Japan is adding Apple Pay support in “the latter half of 2017.” The thing is, McDonald’s already supports Apple Pay Japan payments if you have an iD compatible card loaded.

The robust support coming later to all 2,900 stores nationwide is detailed on the McDonald’s Japan press release and includes Suica, QUICPay and, surprise, NFC A/B. In short this means McDonald’s will support Apple Pay across the board for all, from abroad and Japan. It just works.

The reason? Look carefully at the picture and you will see that McDonald’s is rolling out those fancy new Panasonic NFC  JT-R600CR readers announced in February that can do it all: NFC A/B/F (FeliCa) and the accompanying payment systems.

Panasonic is gunning to capture business from the card payment infrastructure investment frenzy related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Looks like they made their first big catch.

A Shinkansen Trip with Suica Apple Pay

apple-pay-japan_inline-01The iPhone Suica app lets you purchase Shinkansen express tickets and reserve seats. I love using Suica Apple Pay but have not yet had the chance to try it on the Shinkansen. Fortunately Japanese blogger macgeek takes us on a his Suica Apple Pay Shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Ueno with a side trip to a his favorite Chinese restaurant.

His video walks you through the Shinkansen ticket purchase in the iPhone Suica app and his journey from Yokohama, Tokyo and Ueno. He uses Suica Apple Pay on his Apple Watch Series 2 and it is slick. If there is a reason to buy Apple Watch, this is it.

Currently Suica Apple Pay Shinkansen ticket purchases only work for travel on the JR East rail network. JR East is working with JR Central (Tokkaido Shinkansen) and JR West (Sanyo Shinkansen) to rollout complete smartphone compatibility, including Suica Apple Pay, in September 2017.

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling When Puppets Use Apple Pay in Japan

NTT Docomo TV ads are running in connection with the Apple Pay Japan New Life campaign. I never understood the appeal of the d CARD bird mascot puppets but the in-joke that puppets don’t have finger prints to use Touch ID and Apple Pay is clever.

The Docomo iD Apple Pay posters in Shinjuku are also appearing in Tokyo trains. That gold wrapped Docomo iD Apple Pay Yamanote train should be hitting the rails soon.

Apple Pay Docomo iD Ads


The Apple Pay Japan ‘New Life’ advertisement blitz continues with Docomo Apple Pay iD posters plastering parts of Shinjuku JR and other stations.  Instead of the familiar JR East Suica Green, Docomo posters are a very nice gold color that this photo does not do justice to. It’s also nice that Apple has keep the Myriad JP font branding in place for instead of the San Francisco JP font disaster. And of course there are TV ads

I just hope there will be a Yamanote train dressed in Docomo iD Apple Pay gold running on the Yamanote line soon.


Japanese E-money Marketshare & Apple Pay

More interesting Apple Pay related Japanese market data, this time from Creco Research. Their February survey sample is only 100 people but it is a helpful take on the where the e-money market is three months after Apple Pay and one month after Android Pay launched  in Japan. Like the previous market information post, I suspect the results would be the same with a much larger sample.

CRECO Chart 1

Pie chart #1 shows the breakdown of e-money payment systems the survey participants have.

  1. Suica (Apple Pay): 20%
  2. nananko: 15%
  3. WAON:15%
  4. Rakuten Edy (Android Pay): 14%
  5. au WALLET: 9%
  6. QUICPay (Apple Pay): 8%
  7. PASMO: 7%
  8. iD (Apple Pay): 7%
  9. ICOCA: 5%

It’s not surprising that JR East’s Suica is the most widely held e-money payment system but the upside for Apple Pay users is that all the transit payment systems, Suica, PASMO, iCOCA are compatible with each other.

CRECO Chart 2

Pie chart #2 lists usage: where do you use e-money?

  1. Convenience store: 25%
  2. Transit: 23%
  3. Station stores: 17%
  4. Vending machine: 16%
  5. Supermarket: 14%

Transit use is also the lead here, transit and station stores combined are 40% and probably represents most of the vending machine use as well.

CRECO Chart 3

Pie chart #3 asks what is the merit of using e-money.

  1. No need for cash: 29%
  2. Convenience: 28%
  3. Points: 26%
  4. No more lining up to buy transit tickets: 15%
CRECO Chart 4

The last Pie chart is Apple Pay Use: most respondents do not have iPhone 7/Apple Watch Series 2 required to use Apple Pay Japan, but roughly half that do have those devices do not as yet use Apple Pay.

Wrap up
The key takeaway is that public transit is a perfect fit for e-money payment systems such as Suica. NFC infrastructure is ubiquitous in Japanese transit from ticket gates to station store and has been around for a long time. Not surprisingly it is used the most.

But there are still too many holdouts: smaller stores to the Walmart owed Seiyu like grocery chains do not have NFC payment infrastructure in place and this is holding back wider use of e-money payments. There is a lot more work to do if Japan wants to showcase e-money payments to world at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.