H.I.S. Mobile Strange SIM Shocks Japanese

Junya Ishino’s report on H.I.S. Mobile’s “Hen na SIM” (Strange SIM) has raised a few eyebrows and comments on Twitter. Comments like how is Apple OK with this brazen hijacking of iOS Enterprise certificates and iOS Enterprise App distribution for profit?

Hen na SIM appears to be a global SIM sticker package for overseas use that is bundled and sold by H.I.S. Mobile along with an iOS “app” that customers download not from the Apple App Store but from the H.I.S. site. H.I.S. sidesteps Japanese regulations with the Overseas use only label and seems to be sidestepping Apple rules as well by misusing enterprise iOS app distribution.

H.I.S. is a Japanese discount travel company with a less than stellar reputation. I used them 10 years ago and knew some people who worked there. The water cooler stories were vicious “black company” yakuza stuff. A normal person didn’t last long in such a deranged corporate culture. I would never consider giving them my business again, or my iPhone.

It will be interesting to see if Apple pulls the H.I.S. developer enterprise account for rule violations.

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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.

My docomo Gets a Big Update

docomo iPhone customers got a big update today, My docomo v2 with a completely new design and iPad support. It’s now easier to see monthly data usage and buy more (naturally) if necessary, access plan options and d Points, finally there is much better integration of multiple device accounts. It used to be that docomo branded Android phones had all the bells and whistles but those days are waning fast.

Unfortunately changing plan options still kicks you over to the My docomo browser page forcing you do make changes there. I’d rather keep all my business in the app but I think docomo will get there eventually.

Today’s big app update is just the first part of the My Docomo makeover. The My docomo web site gets a big refresh this Thursday, February 8.

One last thing, docomo is dropping tethering charges for Ultra Pack data customers that were due to kick in on April 1.

Docomo tethering charges
docomo is dropping tethering charges for Ultra Pack users.

Last Day for Mobile Suica on KDDI au Flip Phones

End of service announcements from KDDI and JR East were made a long time ago but today is the last service Mobile Suica service day for KDDI au 3G Keitai ‘flip phones’. It was a good 11 year run.

KDDI au is pushing holdout 3G users to upgrade to 4G smartphones and be done with CDMA support once and for all. Too bad that the rumored Global FeliCa capable iPhone SE 2 isn’t out yet. SE 2 would be the perfect upgrade for Mobile Suica KDDI au users looking for a small inexpensive replacement device.

Correction: iOS 11 does not activate Apple Pay for older Japanese iPhone

Update 11/1/2017
The kind folks at ePayments.jp went out of their way to conduct extensive field tests and contacted me that my post reported incorrect information, I am thankful they did so. I should have done a better research job before posting and apologize both for the error and any confusion resulting from it.

When Apple introduced Apple Pay Japan in October 2016, the official release stated:

When paying for goods and services on the go within apps or Safari, Apple Pay works with iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 and later. You can also use Apple Pay in Safari on any Mac introduced in or after 2012 running macOS Sierra, and confirm the payment with iPhone 6 or later or Apple Watch.

This has not changed for older Japanese iPhones in iOS 11:

Apple Pay Japan Page

However some Japanese iPhone 6 and 6S users were confused when adding Apple Pay cards for the first time in iOS 11. Apple Pay Japan cards in Wallet display the iD or QUICPay store payment logo artwork even when the device does not support Apple Pay store purchases, because of this and reports of Japanese credit card companies adding NFC Pay support, some people thought iPhone 6 and 6S running iOS 11 could be used with NFC Pay (EMV contactless) store terminals.

As Apple documentation and field tests make clear, they do not.

Users who want global FeliCa, NFC switching and all the other Apple Pay goodies need to upgrade to iPhone 8, and later/iPhone X and later/Apple Watch 3 and later.