iOS 11.2.5 Release Due This Week

With iOS 11.2.5 reaching the end of the beta cycle, the official release should come this week as predicted. Beta testing has been a very smooth experience with improved Apple Pay Suica performance on iPhone X that eliminates transit gate error flicker and Suica mis-reads at store readers, and also fixes the Suica Notification bug introduced in iOS 11.2.

If you have experienced either problem I recommend updating to iOS 11.2.5 with the official release.

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Kintetsu Railway To Roll Out New Express Train for Tokyo Olympics

Kintetsu announced a new “Meihan Express” train to debut in the spring of 2020, just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Wait a minute, won’t this luxury train run between Nagoya and Osaka? Indeed but what a great excuse for traveling down to Nagoya just to ride it.

Who knows, by then we might be able to purchase Meihan Express tickets in an app and use them in Apple Pay. Tokyo Olympic fever is in the air. This could be fun.

iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC Switching in Action

fullsizeoutput_882cThe Apple Pay NFC switching feature in iOS 11 along with global NFC A-B-F support in every iPhone X and iPhone 8 gives Japanese Apple Pay users the unique ability to use the same Apple Pay credit card with FeliCa contactless payment networks in Japan and EMV contactless payment networks abroad.

There is just one catch. Credit card issuers have to support it. American Express announced NFC switching support for Apple Pay Japan customers shortly after the Apple Event last September, the same time that J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless Apple Pay Japan support was announced. KDDI au and Mastercard said they were also working on NFC switching support but nothing has appeared so far.

Twitter user Riikun shared his American Express Apple Pay Japan purchase experience in Hawaii. The FeliCa QUICPay mark in Wallet is visible on the left, the EMV contactless receipt is on the right. It looks boring but it all just works. That’s neat. It would be great if Mastercard and Visa joined the party.

 

The Incredible Shrinking FeliCa Contactless Logo

New POS systems are appearing in 7 Eleven stores with much bigger touch screens and NFC readers that add the EMV NFC logo while shrinking the FeliCa NFC mark down to a ridiculously small size.

New Panasonic JT-R600CR terminals at McDonald’s and MOS Burger are not much different and also shrink the FeliCa NFC logo until it almost disappears.

Big EMV – NFC Pay logos are mostly wishful thinking at this point rather than wide based FMV contactless support. There just isn’t that much, ahem, financial incentive on the merchant side to make it happen.

Of course the EMV consortium could always help things by adding NFC-F support to their NFC spec now that it is a requirement for global smartphone NFC certification. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one big EMV NFC logo that incorporates NFC A-B-F?

Mastercard the M of EMV would probably be willing as would JCB, but Visa the V would probably not. As always these things have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with politics, market share and money.

iOS 11.2.5 Arriving January 18?

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Apple Pay Suica performance tweaks in iOS 11.2.5 are holding steady in the beta 3 release. JR East also released a special Mobile Suica system maintenance downtime notice today. Major maintenance will be done January 30 from midnight to 4 am. There is also special iPhone only Mobile Suica maintenance scheduled for the early morning hours on January 18.

Maybe it’s nothing but the timing feels like a perfect fit for the official iOS 11.2.5 release: January 18 Japan/January 17 USA