The iPhone X Suica Golden Boy

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index


The ongoing iPhone X Suica Problem is, well, a continuing problem for many. But not all! Twitter user yuya-310 has been a loyal reader sharing his iPhone X Suica problems and thoughts. He alerted me to the XPERIA Z5 Suica problem which suspiciously resembles the iPhone X problem, he thought it might be related to the OLED power saving function part of iOS 11 for iPhone X unique to X hardware.

An iPhone X exchange at the Omotesando Genius Bar did not fix my Suica problem, 4 other readers told me their iPhone X exchange didn’t work for them either. Despite the negative reports yuya-310 bit the bullet and exchanged his iPhone X on May 14. He has not experienced a single Apple Pay Suica error since.

Do we have a winner? Time will tell but 3 weeks of daily problem free iPhone X Suica use, with an iOS upgrade to boot, is good enough for me. Congratualtions yuya! But why did his iPhone X exchange fix the Suica problem while everybody else lost out?

iPhone X Apple Pay Suica Problem Hardware or Software?

A few things to consider:

  • iPhone 8/8 Plus do not have the Suica problem
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus/iPhone X all use the same NXP NFC chip
  • The iPhone X OLED screen and battery are considerably different from iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus
  • There are separate iOS 11 builds, one for iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus and one for iPhone X

Because they all use the same NXP chip and because iPhone 8/8 Plus do not have the Suica problem, we can eliminate the NXP Chip, Mobile FeliCa stack and Suica stack from the iPhone X Suica problem matrix. This leaves us with the different screen, the different battery and the unique iOS 11 build of iPhone X. The screen or battery or something else might use slightly modified parts and revised drivers that are different from early iPhone X production units.

There is also the possibility that iPhone X production quality is uneven with good and bad NFC iPhone X models rolling off the assembly line with Apple Q&A unable to spot the difference. This kind of scenario is a whole different kettle of fish and I think highly unlikely.

Only Apple engineers know the answer. Let’s hope they find the answer and solution for all iPhone X Suica users sooner than later. We deserve to be golden boy winners too.

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More Google Pay Suica MIA

Apple Pay Suica transaction list includes transitJapanese Twitter users are posting lots of interesting details and the list of Google Pay Suica limitations continues to grow: one Suica per phone, no Suica Commuter support, no Shinkansen e-tickets, Google Pay Suica transaction records only cover purchases, not transit, and so on.

Is this a HCE-F limitation thing to keep the JP carriers happy?

Osaifu-Keitai Android users will continue to rely on the Mobile Suica app to cover the functions that Google Pay Suica does not support.

Google Pay Suica only records purchase transactions not transit

iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC Switching in Action

It’s interesting being back in America, somehow I envisioned Apple Pay availability being the same as it is in Tokyo. It’s not, at least not in Salt Lake City. The payment terminal infrastructure is pretty creaky too. Those fancy Flight Holdings Incredist payment terminals would be a welcome sight.

It is fun using the iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC switching feature. My Docomo dCARD/Mastercard ‘just works’ for Apple Pay everywhere. How boring, as it should be. It would be nice if it worked that way for everybody everywhere too.

Docomo dCARD Mastercard is Global NFC

iPhone Stock App Loses Japanese Language Ability

The Old Yahoo Inc. backend for the iPhone Stock app was changed recently and has completely lost the ability to search Japanese stocks in Japanese and display Japanese company names. The only way to add Japanese stocks is the English company name or the stock number which is the only ticker information displayed now. Unless you trade Japanese stocks for a living, nobody remembers them by code number.

In addition to those changes there is now a 20~30 minute lag before Japanese stock market prices are updated. The iPhone Stock app used to update Japanese market info within a minute or so and was very handy. Not anymore.

If this is Verizon’s idea if a stock market app backend for Japan, Apple needs to find a replacement ASAP.

The Daily Grind

The above tweet, from an iPhone X Apple Pay Suica user I’ll bet, perfectly captures the frustration experienced by a daily commuter: “I want to quit Apple Pay Suica, it’s so slow, yesterday it didn’t work. Mobile Suica is useless if I have to worry about it every time I go through a gate.” Some users like this one encounter the iPhone X Suica problem every commute of every work day. Apple not doing anything to fix it tarnishes iPhone X at a time when sales are apparently not doing well. It kills the killer Japanese feature of Apple’s killer product.

The line between a boring daily commute and a horrible one is so thin it’s almost nothing at all. The woman passenger with long, lose not so clean hair (the longer it is the less women are inclined to wash it daily) that drapes across my face and backpack in a packed car and clings on my clothes long after the encounter. The delayed train platform crush, The rainy day stinky train car. Small things in the crush add up into a stressful commute day but there is nothing one can do about rainy days or somebody else’s dirty long hair.

iPhone X Apple Pay Suica is different. Customers buy one expecting Apple Pay Suica to work quickly and reliably just like plastic Suica does. Except that it does not. When that happens it’s not just another small thing that adds up into a bad commute day, it’s also another small thing that adds up with clueless Siri, bad Apple Maps and more, to a negative iPhone X customer experience. For a Tokyo commuter on the daily grind anything less than a flawless, reliable Suica is nothing at all.

One thing I can say about Japanese customers after living in the country for 30 years is this: Japanese customers are quiet, fair, possess a dry, critical but practical way of dealing with things and are hard-nosed, some of the most hard nosed customers in the world I think. They like what is good, dislike what is bad, and simply stop using something that doesn’t work for them. But once they feel betrayed by a product, they silently drop it and never come back.

Angela Ahrendts had said that Apple is going to reinvest in the Japanese market after coasting on it for a few years. Fixing Apple Pay Suica performance bugs in iOS 11 would be an cheap, easy and practical place to start.

And remember Angela, if iPhone sells well with Japanese it will sell well with Chinese too.