iOS 11.4.1 Does Not Fix The iPhone X Suica Problem

The bad news: iOS 11.4.1 does not fix the iPhone X Suica Problem. Given that the problem has being going on since iPhone X day one despite many iOS updates, this is expected and more proof that it’s a hardware issue. Some users tweet that 11.4.1 seems a little better but over time I think it will average out to the same old story.

The good news: another Revision B iPhone X golden unit has appeared after a user exchanged his iPhone X Suica problem unit. @osamumoro’s exchanged iPhone X unit was manufactured on iPhone X 2018 production week 24 (June).

It would be great if the Revision B iPhone X theory turns out to be true with production ramping up so that iPhone X Suica problem units can be reliably swapped out for good ones.

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Apple Maps Japan Reboot Start Line

Apple Japan Map Data CollectionNow that the Apple Maps reboot has been announced and is starting a slow rollout in San Francisco, what kind of improvements can Japanese users expect in the months ahead? It will be a very slow rollout as Apple’s map data collection effort has only just started in Japan. Slow is good: 3rd party Japanese map data suppliers, imperfect though they may be, should only be swapped out when Apple’s own map data is properly collected, vetted and edited.

It’s clear that Apple plans to incorporate local cultural user conventions with the new map data. Matthew Panzarino:

The maps need to be usable, but they also need to fulfill cognitive goals on cultural levels that go beyond what any given user might know they need. For instance, in the U.S., it is very common to have maps that have a relatively low level of detail even at a medium zoom. In Japan, however, the maps are absolutely packed with details at the same zoom, because that increased information density is what is expected by users.

Actually Matthew they don’t. The biggest challenge of mapping Japan is presenting information density intelligently. Like a good editor who cleans up and brings clarity to a cluttered and confused article submission, a good map team intelligently edits complex information making it easy to understand and find things on the map.

I have been highly critical of the Justin O’Beirne led Apple Maps 2012 cartography design that is still in place because it’s a poor design fit for high density maps areas like Japan. Here’s a quick big 3 (Yahoo Japan Maps, Google, Apple) comparison of Shinjuku Station west exit area:

It’s easy to see that Apple Maps shows way too much stuff and overwhelms the user with information. To paraphrase Mean Girls, this is map vomit. The poor cartography design and poor editing, Apple’s misuse of ‘3C’ color coded icons for restaurants, hotels, schools, etc., gobbles up precious screen real estate forcing users to hunt for things.

Google Maps goes too far the other way and strips out too much information forcing the user to zoom in and Google’s 3C icon scheme is curiously lame.

The Yahoo Japan Maps team gets it just right with better color contrast, easy to read Japanese text labels with different sizes and intelligently deployed icons that reserve 3C icons for map search views. This is good map editing in action.

Here are possible changes I will be on the lookout for:

  • Higher contrast cartography with better Japanese text labeling
  • No map vomit: a default map view with far fewer, better designed icons and 3C icons reserved for map search
  • Intelligent indoor mapping for major Japanese stations
  • 3D mapping that doesn’t obscure surrounding map information
  • Traffic, Lane Guidance, Speed Limits and other missing iOS features of Apple Maps Japan
  • More Apple collected Japanese map information with missing pieces proved by top-tier JP map supplier Zenrin. The less 3rd rate 3rd party JP map data from Yelp, Foursquare and IPC the better
  • Destination check lists: smart transit information that updates on the fly and lets me set more than one destination

It will be slow but slow, constant intelligent updates will get Apple Maps Japan where it needs to go and finally deliver a superior map experience for Japanese iOS customers.

iPhone X Suica Problem As Opportunity

Sony founder Akio Morita, Steve Jobs’s model hero, had a unique approach with technical problems and product repair centers. Back in the day Sony maintained a large domestic walk-in repair center network in Japan. I repaired my first Sony FireWire digital video camera at one.

Technicians not only fixed customer Sony products they also evaluated the broken parts and feed the information back to the product engineers and designers. But it didn’t stop there. Sony repair technicians also listened to how customers used Sony products and what features they wanted to have.

In short Akio Morita’s Sony used repair centers as an important part of product development. Morita’s successors dropped the practice and Sony’s product development quality declined because of it.

Apple has an opportunity with the iPhone X Suica problem. They could communicate with customers while fixing the problem, find out how they use NFC on iPhone, what they like, what they want to work better. Japanese iPhone X customers could be a great resource that could help Apple build a much better iPhone NFC experience.

Instead we have silence and confused users like this one who doesn’t like the way Suica works on iPhone X and wants to switch to a Galaxy smartphone.

What a wasted opportunity.

Yes, You Can Talk And Recharge Apple Pay Suica at the Same Time

Nobu Ringo (Nobu Apple) is my kind of Apple Pay Suica guy. His YouTube channel is filled with fun imaginative slightly dopey Apple Pay Suica exploits. Apple Pay Suica at McDonalds, KFC, Esso, parking meters and the extra, extra, extra spicy curry take home plate from Coco Curry House (complete with eating timer).

His latest exploit: recharging Apple Pay Suica while having a phone conversation. Tricky but it does work in case you are really on the run. And if you are wondering, he does it all on what appears to be iPhone 8 Plus not iPhone X. Good choice.

iOS 12 Beta 2 Does Not Fix The iPhone X Suica Problem

Yep iOS 12 B2 Does Not Fix iPhone X Suica NFC Problem

Yep. Suica Full Error City all the way. With each new iOS release it looks more and more like the iPhone X Suica Problem really is a iPhone X NFC design flaw. Here’s hoping that iPhone X Suica users get the scenario 3 option:

iOS 12 does not fix the iPhone X Suica problem Apple admits the iPhone X NFC flaw and issues a replacement program. Every Day 1 iPhone X user gets a Revision B iPhone X replacement.