New Apple feature will make your iPhone your car key
At the original iPhone's unveiling by Steve Jobs in 2007, he made no secret that he wanted the device to be your "life in your pocket". At the time he was quite reserved about allowing people to make their own applications for the iPhone, however once the phone was opened to developers (and the App Store was born), the platform took off.
The rest is history, and the smartphone now rounds out that "holy trinity" of what people need when they leave their house; ie keys, phone and wallet/purse.
Apple is seeking to revamp that trinity, possibly wanting to replace your car keys with your iPhone. As reported by 9to5mac.com, the latest beta version of Apple's iPhone operating system contains some clues to a "CarKey" interface, suggesting a new feature that would allow vehicle owners to unlock and start their cars with their iPhone or Apple Watch.
9to5mac also report that the technology will not require authentication via FaceID, although such a security measure may be user-defined. The pairing would work with iPhone's Near Field Communication features, which does mean that the authentication could still work if the battery is drained.
Image: Samuel Foster (@samuelfoster_co_uk) on Unsplash
Also rumoured is that the feature would allow other family members to be added via iOS' Wallet app, permitting them to unlock and drive the car by pairing with their own devices. Considering Apple's storied history of keeping its customers within its walled garden, and their insistence on not playing nice with devices from other brands, such a feature would likely require all in the family to have iPhones.
This is hardly Apple's first foray into the automotive world, with Apple CarPlay seemingly being a feature in high demand on new vehicles. Apple have also had an interest in automated cars - although information on the latter appears to be limited, and it is not known if they are seeking to make their own vehicle, or if they want to be in charge of the underlying systems that pilot them.
Apple has made huge inroads into peoples' homes and lives with their HomeKit software, which allows users to control (and unlock) their homes. They have also made huge strides into payment systems with Apple Pay and the new Apple Card. This new CarKey feature could be an attempt to shave that "holy trinity" down to remove the keys and the wallet, effectively allowing people to leave their homes carrying just their phone.
While having everything consolidated onto a single device would be immensely convenient, there would be large caveats, such as the problems caused by loss, breakage or theft.
Using a phone to unlock a car is not new, with Hyundai and BMW having made their own tech to allow their customers such a treat. However, as with many things Apple, it doesn't matter if they weren't the first - they just need to be the most popular.