The iPhone 7 unveiling is less than two weeks away. Apple is widely expected to take the wraps off the device at a special event on September 7. Ahead of the official unveiling, Bloomberg has learned from its sources that the upcoming iPhones will offer a new tap-to-pay support for users in Japan. It will allow users to pay for the mass-transit rides using their iPhones instead of having to pull out physical cards.

iPhone 7
Image Credit: Apple Inc.

Why iPhone 7 will use FeliCa instead of NFC

The Cupertino company uses NFC for its Apple Pay service in North America, Europe, and Australia. But the Japanese version of the iPhone 7 will use FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay technology developed by Sony that dominates the Japanese market. The FeliCa chip will let users store the virtual version of their train and bus passes in the Wallet app on their iPhones.

It makes sense for Apple to use the FeliCa standard in Japan. According to the Bank of Japan, there are more than 1.9 million payment terminals that rely on the technology. Japan accounts for 8% of Apple’s revenue and 11% of operating profits. Apple is working with transit card providers including Pasmo and Suica networks. However, sources told Bloomberg that Apple may have to hold back the feature to iPhone 8 if the deal with transit card providers doesn’t work out.

FeliCa can process transactions in 0.1 seconds

FeliCa is known for its speedy transaction time. Sony claims that it takes just 0.1 seconds to process a transaction because it does not require approval by banks or other third parties. Various vending machines, retailers and convenient stores also support the feature. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are said to be available for pre-order on September 9, followed by retail availability on September 23.

It’s been almost confirmed that the upcoming iPhones will get rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack, though they will look similar to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Apple is increasing the base storage to 32GB with the iPhone 7. The Plus version is also rumored to get a dual-camera system, 3GB RAM, and a Smart Connector.