Apple said to plan iPhone for Japan that supports FeliCa

telecomasia.net

Apple is reportedly planning to launch an iPhone in Japan that supports FeliCa, the contactless mobile payment standard widely used in the market.

Sources told Bloomberg that a future iPhone designed for the market will include a FeliCa chip to support payments using the Sony-developed standard.

FeliCa is used in multiple public bus and train pass payment systems across Japan. The standard dominates in Japan over the NFC standard used in Apple Pay - there are an estimated 1.9 million FeliCa payment terminals in the country handling around $46 billion worth of transactions per year.

According to the report, Apple plans to work with multiple transit card providers on the launch, and is currently planning to store virtual representations of transit passes within the iPhone's wallet app.

Apple is said to currently plan to introduce the FeliCa functionality into the next iPhone models bound for the market, although the introduction could be held back to next year if talks with Japanese payment networks stall.

One hurdle that could complicate the plan is the fact that FeliCa chips are designed to process transactions in a tenth of a second to accommodate Japan's very busy transit system, whereas transactions using Apple Pay currently go through servers and require bank approval.

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