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.
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 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.