The mighty tech giant, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), is very famous for unlocking pioneering technologies to the realm of the digital world. The company now unveiled the super-advanced feature that is capable of operating a car with just a few taps on your iPhone or Apple Watch!
Yes, Apple launches the brand new Digital Car Key feature with its new iOS 14 and also on the upcoming update of iOS 13. This novel advanced feature in iOS platform facilitates iPhone and Apple Watch users to “Lock, Unlock, and Start” a car with the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. A high-frequency wireless communication technology which operates in a short-range and enables data exchange over devices in the distance range of 10cm.
The company introduced this feature in its annual World Wide Developers Conference, (WWDC). Apple is getting on to collaborate with BMW 5-Series with this Virtual Key feature that is expected to roll out to the market by next month as the 2021 model.
Apple, however, doesn’t want to restrict the usage to certain car models only. The company also mentioned that it is working on the industry-wide standard, which could use it’s new U1 ultra wideband chip technology rather than solely depending on NFC.
Apple’s New Digital Key Pairs With Car
Emily Schubert, senior manager of car experience engineering, Apple, illustrated how to operate the car with the smart devices at the conference.
First, you have to establish the usual pairing of devices by connecting the iPhone or Apple watch to the Car that supports the digital key feature.
Next, if you want to open/unlock the door of the car, just hold your watch or phone near the handlebar. Then you will be prompted with the biometric authentication with Face ID or Touch ID to proceed with the process; once you’re done, the door unlocks seamlessly. Users can skip this biometric authorisation by configuring the “Express Mode” in the custom settings. For the ease of use, Apple facilitates sharing of this digital key access to your trusted peer groups who use iPhone or Apple Watch via iMessage.
Many other carmakers in the market are also already experimenting with virtual key options through their proprietary software with similar functionalities. Say, for example, Volvo has got the same feature where the key can be exchanged between smartphones. But it may not be compatible with Apple’s systems. But this digital key can find a way to use a single key for multiple cars all in the same place. All these digital keys may comply with the Car Connectivity Consortium’s Digital Key Release 2.0 specification.
Apple also facilitates disabling the access to the key and the vehicle via iCloud if the phone goes missing. And if the phone battery drained out the digital key functionality could work for up to five hours as stated by BMW.
Apple launches this secured feature with its robust encryption methods that even the company could not extract the data from the pairing devices’ hardware. Apple is also working with other car manufacturers aiming to facilitate the functionalities to more cars in the next year. The carmakers liked to have their own options to operate the vehicle with Apple’s digital key feature. But now Apple points out the functionality of digital key, and it’s sharing options via iMessage.
It’s for years Apple is striving hard to materialise its vision of creating an own vehicle. With the work still in progress, Apple has established creating Carplay infotainment solutions which are now available in 97% of new cars as stated by the company. So accomplishing the parts of the vision could pave the way for achieving the part and parcel of the company’s vision. A way forward, this modest yet powerful digital key feature could establish Apple systems in controlling the car.