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 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
Pie chart #1 shows the breakdown of e-money payment systems the survey participants have.
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.
Pie chart #2 lists usage: where do you use e-money?
Convenience store: 25%
Station stores: 17%
Vending machine: 16%
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.
Pie chart #3 asks what is the merit of using e-money.
No need for cash: 29%
No more lining up to buy transit tickets: 15%
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.
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.