I’ve told you already 2017 is gonna be a very exciting year for Apple. And now with major design changes slated to be introduced in the following year, a latest Bloomberg report now suggest that Cupertino is planning an exclusive new technological feature just for Japan.

This feature will enable Japanese iPhone users to pay for subway or mass-transit rides with their smartphones instead of physical payment cards. The tech giant operates its massively popular Apple Pay mobile payments service in numerous parts of the world, excluding Japan due to technological challenges. It uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to let users pay using their phones at point-of-sale systems.

Whereas NFC, if you’re unaware, is not the prominent contact-less technology used in Japan and Apple is planning to adapt to it. To enable Apple Pay in Japan it will include FeliCa technology that will enable users to store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. If sources are to be believed then the virtual representation of the transit cards will be stored in the users wallet application. The plan is currently in private and in very early stages, says one of the anonymous sources.

FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay technology developed by Sony Corp., will be the underlying technology required to power this service. Apple is thinking of integrating the FeliCa chips(based on the open NFC-F standards) into their Japanese models because Sony’s technology is more popular in the country. Currently, over 1.9 million payment terminals are said to be powered by the aforementioned technology.

There are certain to be multiple service providers of payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan. Thus, sources believe that Apple’s aim is to work with multiple transit card providers, starting with major players like Suica and Pasmo networks. These companies sell transit services to users both as-and-when needed and in the form of monthly packages.

Also, this would Cupertino further boost its withering sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan already accounts for almost 8 per cent of the company’s total revenue and 11 per cent of the total operating profit in the recent quarter.

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