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.

Mr. Apple Maps Japan Real Life Funnies!

Bus route maps,Caption 1: Wow I didn’t realize Apple Maps shows bus routes when you tap a bus stop. This looks convenient!

D626110A-A5D8-4FDA-9CCC-CEAF85B23F0A.jpegCaption 2: Wait a minute Mr. Apple Maps, this # 28 bus route looks really weird.

the number 10bus does not stop here

Caption 3: And the #10 bus doesn’t stop here.

Caption 4: Well showing bus routes is convenient, let’s wait for Mr. Apple Maps to fix it.

Fixing anything Apple Maps is a long wait folks. No joke. While you wait Mr. O’Beirne can do an analysis for you. It won’t change anything but you can impress friends and tech bloggers.

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

Touch and Go Shinkansen for Suica

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Touch and Go Shinkansen service is limited to certain routes and destinations

One of the current limitations of Japanese IC transit cards like Suica is they have a daily storage limit of  ¥20,000. Suica will not accept more than that. Transit cards were conceived long before the arrival of smart connected devices and designed for local area transportation.

This is part of the reason why systems like Mobile Suica and smartEX have a separate Shinkansen e-ticket that piggybacks on Apple Pay Suica and Mobile Suica. Wouldn’t it be nice to just touch and go Apple Pay Suica for Shinkansen travel like regular trains with no special ticket purchase?

This is exactly what JR East is doing with their new “Touch and Go Shinkansen” service starting April 1, 2018. Touch and Go Shinkansen for Japanese transit IC cards still has to deal with the ¥20,000 balance limit and only offers certain routes and destinations from Tokyo that fit within that limit, and is only good for non-reserve seats.

This is convenient but the real test will be how much of a discount stingy JR East will offer. Pricing is still being cooked but the example Touch and Go fare discount from Tokyo to Utsunomiya was a measly ¥200. If JR East wants people to use Touch and Go on a regular basis they’ll have to do better than that.

On the plus side, JR East said they are working with the other transit card partners to remove the ¥20,000 limit by April 1, 2019 when JR East plans to unveil their own smartEX like service. It would be very nice to have real Touch and Go Shinkansen with Apple Pay Suica  without limits, and better discounts.