Apple’s new iPhone feature aims to replace car key

While Apple’s years of ambition to build its own vehicle has not materialized, its CarPlay infotainment system is available in 97% of new cars, according to the company.
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And he believes that the humble car key, which in new cars can take the shape of your vehicle, or even feature a display of its own, can still be further improved.

“They’ve been around for more than 100 years, but they’ve gotten big, bulky and ripe to reinvent,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

Apple (AAPL) He will first implement the feature in the BMW 5 Series 2021, but wants to expand it to other car models.

Emily Schubert, Apple’s senior automotive experience engineering manager, demonstrated how a driver can touch the door handle with his iPhone to unlock the sedan. Drivers then place the iPhone on the car’s charging pad and press the power button to start the car. Apple’s technology is based on what’s known as Near Field Communication, which allows devices within inches of each other to exchange data wirelessly. Apple plans to transition to the use of a different technology, ultra-broadband, which will allow unlocking from great distances. An iPhone could remain in the driver’s pocket or bag.

Apple's new digital car key will work with the BMW 5 Series 2021.
BMW owners will also be able to share the virtual car key with friends through iMessage. Volvo offers a similar service in which keys can be shared with smartphones.

Apple is working with standards groups to pave the way for expanding the technology to more cars. Federighi said he hopes to see support for the new ultra-broadband standard in new vehicles next year.

In May, an industry group, the Car Connectivity Consortium, announced a standardized way to store digital keys. Its members include major automakers and tech companies like Apple, BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Samsung, and Volkswagen.