iPhone 7 and the potential for FeliCa tap-to-pay in Japan

iPhone SE
iPhone SE

When iPhone 7 debuts on September 7, it could include a unique model for the Japanese market, offering support for Japan's ubiquitous FeliCa tap-to-pay standard used in subways and on buses and trams.

According to Bloomberg, FeliCa is much more common than NFC (Near Field Communication) in the Pacific country:

The FeliCa chip will let customers in Japan store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. Users would then be able to tap their phones against the entrance scanners instead of using physical cards. While the FeliCa chip is the standard technology underlying the service, there are several different providers of transit payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan.

FeliCa is used in nearly 2 million payment terminals in the country, around 30% more than the 1.3 million used today in the U.S.

A unique SKU of the latest iPhone wouldn't be new to Apple; the company has developed China-specific models that take advantage of that country's unique TD-LTE and TD-SCMA networks, offered to China Mobile's more than 850 million subscribers.

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader is a Senior Editor at iMore, offering his Canadian analysis on Apple and its awesome products. In addition to writing and producing, Daniel regularly appears on Canadian networks CBC and CTV as a technology analyst.