Code discovered on a public Apple services content server indicates support for Hong Kong’s Octopus transit touchless payment system in Apple Pay could arrive this fall in iOS 13.
Japanese Apple blog Ata Distance spotted a code snippet in Apple’s JSON backbone for Apple Wallet that displays supported credentials for the Octopus card on iPhones running iOS 13. The transit and retail payment card also uses Express Card NFC technology.
It appears that the Apple Watch isn’t yet supported, as the Apple server code shows a minimum watchOS version of “999.0.” Of course, that could change before the fall.
The Octopus card was launched in 1997. The contactless “smart card” is considered the forerunner of modern reloadable electronic payment solutions. Initially a physical tap-to-pay card, the service expanded to smartphones with Smart Octopus for Samsung Pay in 2017.
Currently, an exclusivity agreement restricts Smart Octopus to Samsung handsets. However, the system is based on the FeliCa standard, so it is technically compatible with iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices. That means things could change in the fall with the release of iOS 13.
Ata Distance reports Octopus’ Apple Pay device profile is identical to that of Suica, meaning users can generate and manage new cards without leaving the Wallet app on iPhone 7/7 Plus purchased in Japan (models A1779/A1785), iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS/XS Plus, iPhone XR set up with Face ID or Touch ID, and Apple Watch Series 3 and later.