Apple CarKey

Losing your car keys is one heck of an infuriating experience. If you’ve dealt with it, then you would definitely appreciate this forthcoming Apple tech. It’s called CarKey and will be a virtual key replacement against the virtual fobs. And you know what, You’ll be able to lock, unlock, and start cars with just your iPhone (and possibly Apple Watch).

So, no more carrying around actual keys or losing them, once Apple CarKey goes live.

Now, there’s a high chance, you haven’t even heard about such a thing and that’s alright. It is something that’s discovered by folks at 9to5mac inside iOS code. This means it’s still under works. The first sighting was in iOS version 13.4.

Well, new findings are here thanks to the soon-to-be-out iOS 14 code. Aaand, it’s learned that BMW is going to be the first adopter of Apple CarKey.

Apple CarKey Partners

9to5mac has managed to acquire a non-denial statement from the German car manufacturer.

“Please understand that at this point we cannot confirm your request nor give you further details. We would like to refer you to our press release,” states BMW. And here are a few important transcripts from the press release:

The BMW Group took a leading role in the seamless integration of smart devices and the customers’ digital ecosystem in the early stages. Providing customers with simple, connected and “keyless” access to their vehicles has been a key area of innovation. Today, it is already possible to lock and unlock the vehicle, start the engine and share the key with others using the BMW Digital Key as part of BMW Connected on the smartphone. But this is only the first step in a global technological transformation being shaped and led by the BMW Group.

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Just so you know, Apple and BMW are members of the Car Connectivity Consortium, which formulates the Digital Key features and standards. Other parties include Audi, BMW, General Motors, HYUNDAI, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, and Volkswagen, and core members including ALPS ELECTRIC, Continental Automotive GmbH, DENSO, Gemalto, NXP, and Qualcomm.

Apple CarKey: How will it work?

As mentioned already, you’d be able to lock, unlock and start the car using the CarKey.

Now, here’s is how it’s expected to work –

The Digital Keys will be stored and managed in the Apple Wallet. So, if and when the iPhone (w/ CarKey) is nearby your car, it gets unlocked. Easy Peasy!

You don’t even have to have the phone in hand or unlock it. It could be tucked inside your bag or pocket. Not a problem! But, how, you may ask?

Source: iFixit

The magic ingredients are NFC (Near-Field Communication), Bluetooth LE (Bluetooth Low Energy), and UWB (Ultra-Wideband ). You might know about the former two already. As for UWB, it is a location tracking chip, that is present in the iPhone 11 family.

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So both the iPhone and the Car (suppose: BMW) will interact and gain authorization from the Digital Key by leveraging all these mediums.

This is how BMW describes UWB:

In the near future, Digital Key specifications will be enhanced by the ultra-wideband (UWB)-based release 3.0. This will offer maximum anti-theft protection and enable precise localization between the device and the vehicle. As a result, the mobile phone must no longer be held directly up to the door handle to unlock the car, but can conveniently be left in the pocket.

It’s even said that the CarKey will also be shareable over Messages to single individuals. So, if you want to lend the car to your friend or any family member, you can share the digital key with them.

Overall, this feature should result in a quicker, seamless and convenient experience. We look forward to this feature not jus within our iPhones, but iPads and Apple Watches.

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