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Patents Apple

Apple's "iKey" Wants To Unlock All Doors 383

Posted by kdawson
from the get-yours-at-ikea dept.
Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Apple is developing technology, already being nicknamed the 'iKey,' which will allow users to gain access to their office and unlock their car or front door with a single electronic device like an iPhone. Users would simply have to enter a PIN and wave the device over an electronic pad fitted beside a door to open it. 'The device can communicate with an external device to open a lock. By way of example, the electronic device may be a model of an iPhone,' says the newly released patent application. 'The external device may be any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock that may be used to access a door, car, house, or other physical area.' The technology behind the invention is known as Near Field Communication; it allows electronic devices to transmit information when in proximity. 'If true, it's a very big deal. As well as opening doors and unlocking your car, it could also turn your iPhone into an electronic wallet and ID card,' says Leander Kahney, a consumer technology expert. 'The trouble is that the technology hasn't gone completely mainstream. If Apple were to adopt the technology, they would likely set the standard, and that would drive widespread adoption as everyone scrambles to make their systems iPhone-friendly.'"
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Apple's "iKey" Wants To Unlock All Doors

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcansoft (727665) <hector@nOsPam.marcansoft.com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:18AM (#31399690) Homepage

    The fourth generation of the iPhone is getting NFC/RFID capabilities, much like some other phones already have.

    This isn't new. The only new thing they could possibly bring to the NFC table would be (gasp) actual security, given that RFID/NFC devices are notorious for being horribly insecure most of the time.

    • What's new here is that Apple is possibly thinking of making this a standard while owning critical patents on it, then after this is widespread (if it ever happens) crackdown on competition using its patents.

      Apple is becoming more evil lately, see the recent attempt to shut down competition on smartphones from HTC using completely trivial software patents [mozillazine.org] (the original article is from LWN [lwn.net], I highly suggest getting a subscription there).

      Sounds familiar? Remember GIF? MP3? h.264? Yeah, I know, this last refer

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LucidBeast (601749)
        NFC has been patented for the purposes mentioned in apples patent for sure. Where is apple in this chart? [blogspot.com] Of course the innovation here is that it is an iPhone that uses NFC and not some other manufacturers phone.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:59AM (#31400070)

        What should be news is that other companies have tried to push NFC for almost a decade, but consumers never seemed to care enough to get critical mass. Now Apple swoops in, tells the media "it's a phone... and an iKey!" and soon enough we'll have hundreds of solutions compatible only with the iPhone and Apple will get credit for the whole technology.

        Other phone companies need to grow a spine and learn some marketing, now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The reason it has not taken off is that I can get a spare key made cheaply in any town. If I replace my locks with Apple iLocks you can bet I will have to pay quite a bit for iKeys every time I need a new one. I also won't be able to get in if my iPhone battery is dead and that is my only iKey.

          It will only take off if it is really open standard so that consumers can get cheap locks and keys. That doesn't sound like the sort of thing Apple would do. Then again a lot of people seem happy to buy music in AAC f

          • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:57AM (#31401290) Homepage Journal

            Yes, DRM'ed AAC files will only play on Apple devices and in iTunes (Mac OS X and Windows).

            But you seem to be under the impression that AAC [wikipedia.org] is an Apple technology limited to Apple devices.

            Just FYI, more than a year ago Apple was allowed by the music labels to remove all DRM from the audio files sold on the iTunes Store, that's why there is three tunes prices now instead of one. Apple also increased the bitrate to 256kbps.

            There is a lot of non-Apple devices that can play AAC audio files, such as the Microsoft Zune, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DSi, Sony PSP Slim, some models of Archos / Creative / Cowon / SanDisk / Sony MP3 players, a lot of Digital Photo Frames, etc, etc.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:37AM (#31400424) Homepage Journal

        My problem with it is entering a PIN to unlock a door; it's easire to just stick a key in and turn it. My car already has a remote unlocker, and all I have to do is push a button. It's a step forward from the mechanical key, having to enter a PIN is a step backwards.

      • Were there actually any substantive lawsuits regarding GIF? I always remember the threat being there, but can't think of any specific cases.

        That said, you can't judge Apple on one lawsuit. Everybody in the industry has been involved in one of these suits at some point or another.

      • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:43PM (#31402610) Homepage

        Apple is becoming more evil lately...

        Someone should come up with an equivalent of Godwin's Law when it comes to branding some companies "Evil"

        What does it mean? It's a non-argument that stifles debate. Why is X suing Y? Because they are EVIL! It's an infantile attack that does very little to explore the nuances of the complicated patent law landscape and goes for the intellectually lazy answer.

        I guess all these companies on the chart [gizmodo.com] are Evil and we should all invest in Lemote Yeelong and gaze at our navels out of principle.

        If Apple wanted to shut down the competition they'd sue Android producing OEM's from day 1. Truth of the matter is, HTC is going out of its way along with help from Google to ape every feature of iPhone instead of actually coming up with novel ways of doing things. It's like ripping off the act of a successful comedian and calling it competition. Come up with your own damn material.

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      a lot of the iphone capabilities aren't new: the new thing they're bringing is huge market penetration to the degree that it's worth other manufacturer's designing products to work with it. Apple's sheer volume could make it commercially viable to make, say, an add-on for car alarms that unlocks based on proximity with the device - which is technically possible now but hasnt' really taken off.
    • I've notice the most "Ground Breaking" "NEW" technologies in recent years aren't actually new, just someone to took some tech that was out there and actually applied it in a useful way. see: Google, Apple, Nintendo, et al.

      Honestly there's nothing wrong with that, technology is useless unless it's applied, and I'm sure there are still a lot of applications for existing tech that hasn't been explored yet.
    • by FyRE666 (263011) *

      Seems like a bad implementation to me. Why not have a small, pen-drive sized device that has a thumbprint scanner. When touched, the scanner would generate a one-time passkey, based on time/print which the device could verify using a private key (to prevent eavesdropping/copying). Seems stupid to have to get some device out, switch it on, then enter a keycode - if it's more cumbersome than current technology (keyfob, metal key) it's unlikely to take off, aside from amongst the usual Apple fan-boys.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      The same can be done with bluetooth as well. I don't know about the security (probably poor), but it's certainly possible to use my ancient Sony-Ericsson mobile phone to lock and unlock eg an X session under Linux, by proximity. If a car runs Linux, then ... (it would never crash, but you'd have to assemble it yourself from bit parts from all over the web, using mostly outdated information, and it would only run on three year old roads -- but at least you would be able to unlock it with your phone).

  • by MrDoh! (71235)

    Sounds very much like iButton stiff using RFID.

    Nothing new about Apple patenting existing apps I guess. Though as mentioned, it's not mainstream, having an iphone adapter in the car to play music, and using that same phone to open the door makes sense.

  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:23AM (#31399720) Homepage
    A universal key could never lead to bad things.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fredmosby (545378)
      Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.
      • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:49AM (#31400004)

        It could be more secure, or less.

        In practice the only way to gain access to the locations secured by physical keys is to steal them, doing it without the persons knowledge means stealing them, copying them and returning them without the persons knowledge.

        It may be possible to crack the encryption (if there is any, many such secure systems claim to have encryption but do not) on this RFID technology at range with an antenna that can not be seen.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mashdar (876825)

          It could be more secure, or less.

          In practice the only way to gain access to the locations secured by physical keys is to steal them, doing it without the persons knowledge means stealing them, copying them and returning them without the persons knowledge.

          It may be possible to crack the encryption (if there is any, many such secure systems claim to have encryption but do not) on this RFID technology at range with an antenna that can not be seen.

          You are assuming you need the keys in the first place... [slashdot.org]

          A time-variant RFID key would be significantly more secure. I just hope you don't drop your phone in your toilet.

          • by Dare nMc (468959)

            A time-variant RFID key would be significantly more secure.

            I can see the next gone in 60 seconds. How they stick a second android phone in her purse (or something close to the Iphone) perp walks up to the persons car, house, etc. It sends the query over the celluar network from the first phone, to the second phone, to their Iphone, then sends the response back for yours to retransmit. Although to be movie worthy I guess it will need to be a stripper getting close...

      • by dejanc (1528235) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:50AM (#31400012)

        Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.

        You probably don't have your address, name or a phone number attached on the same keychain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.

        Except of course, I only have to duplicate one key to get access to all of your stuff, instead of having to duplicate each of your keys.

        • by fredmosby (545378)
          I don't think very many burglaries involve duplicating keys.

          It's pretty irrelevant for me anyway. I only have 3 keys:
          My work - of coarse they won't change that to work with an iPhone.
          My apartment - I doubt my landlords would let me change the locks.
          My car - It would probably be pretty expensive to add this system to it.
    • Depends... (Score:5, Funny)

      by denzacar (181829) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:38AM (#31399886) Journal

      I for one don't consider it "bad" if stupid people get punished for using "0000" as their PIN.

      Hey... we are long overdue for some regular punishment of stupidity.
      There are no longer wild bears roaming the streets at night, eating stupid people. Haven't been any for centuries.
      Wee need something to eliminate those genes from the pool.

      • Always bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SlappyBastard (961143) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:51AM (#31400020) Homepage

        Considering the relative ease with which RFID has been hacked, and how long it took for Bluetooth to become only reasonably secure, and how far off good wireless security is . . .

        And that's the discussion you go through before you get to "stupid people."

        And let's not even have the "If software can't keep gas pedals from sticking, what will it do for door locks."

        I'm an opponent of the excessive and unnecessary desire to expand technology into areas where an existing technology already does a better job.

        • I'm an opponent of the excessive and unnecessary desire to expand technology into areas where an existing technology already does a better job.

          EVERYTHING is better with the "latest thing" tacked on! How do you not understand!?

          Have you ever tasted ice-cream witn an iPhone or some other smart-phone? Way better than eating it with a spoon.
          Even plain vanilla tastes like... so much better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        1) RFID is insecure
        2) Universal keys are insecure
        3) broadcast keys are insecure
        4) You have not been to Alaska, Russia, Finland, etc .. hungry wild bears do roam the streets....

        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          Which explains why there are no stupid people in those parts of Alaska, Russia, and Finland which also have very low populations. (Obviously there are no wild bears in downtown Wasilla.) Unfortunately, the only check on unlimited fecundity in most of the world now is inability to feed the little rugrats, and we are working hard to eliminate that limitation as well.

          And yes, I'm also in favor of eliminating caution signs and lane markers on highways to encourage people to hang up the cell phone and pay atte
      • by mrrudge (1120279)
        Can we save some of the beautiful/physically gifted/creative/emotionally attuned/kind/brave - but not massively intelligent people too ? It's just that any kind of genetic cleansing would leave the gene pool diminished and weaker, and a human race consisting of just high IQ people would disappear up it's own backside quicker than you can say 'intelectual snob'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jurily (900488)

        I for one don't consider it "bad" if stupid people get punished for using "0000" as their PIN.

        Depends on how crappy the UI is to change it.

        BTW, a key shouldn't have any parts a user can set.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:22AM (#31400270)
      Steve Jobs is welcome to a key to my apartment. He already has the key to my heart.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I'd rather have people stealing my iPhone than stealing my eyeballs and fingertips to gain access. The phone is a lot easier to replace.
  • Is it wise? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:23AM (#31399722)

    Is it wise to have a consumer Internet-enabled(which I presume it would be) device that can unlock physical security? "Keylogger" has a whole new meaning. :p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      Is it wise to own something which denies access to your house/car/bank if it's dropped or runs out of battery?

      This plan seems more worthy of Baldrick than a supposedly smart company.

      • Re:Is it wise? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rpresser (610529) <rpresser&gmail,com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:22AM (#31400272) Homepage

        Or a house that locks you out when the power fails? Or worse, one that "fails safe" and DOESN'T lock strangers out when the power fails?

        • Or a house that locks you out when the power fails? Or worse, one that "fails safe" and DOESN'T lock strangers out when the power fails?

          If you have this be the lock on the door, then you deserve it. It's much more likely to be like the buzzer system to an apartment where it's part of the door frame. You can still use the key to unlock the door, but the buzzer/ikey portion makes it so the "locked" door opens when you pull on it.

  • .The trouble is that the technology hasn't gone completely mainstream. If Apple were to adopt the technology, they would likely set the standard, and that would drive widespread adoption as everyone scrambles to make their systems iPhone-friendly.

    Isn't this already very common in Japan?

    And what employer would want to tie an identification/access system to a highly attractive theft target?

    • by neoform (551705)

      Two things:

      1) Car keys/House keys are a highly attractive theft target.

      2) With a digital system, you can quickly/easily change access to/from key devices. If you lose a key, you can quickly disable it, you certainly cannot do that with a conventional key.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Try not to mention Asian telco networks, speed or their state of tech.
      Let the locals enjoy their futuristic beads and mirrors.
      A highly attractive theft target would be a blogger working at google with an iphone?
      With their iphone near your new icutting equipped jailbroken iphone you can enter their home.
      Plant a physical keystroke logger, no need for an IE link click.
      Hack different for the government or corporation paying your bills with the new icutter - clones any ikeys in range and all gps data too, j
  • Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kingofnexus (1721494) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:25AM (#31399738)
    What happens when someone breaks the security on the device/ technology? A thief would be able to get into your house and rob everything, make an escape in your car, and then empty your bank account all for cracking just 4 numbers. I think I'll stick to the old manual lock and key thank you.
    • Re:Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:29AM (#31399782)

      You have far too much faith in old-fashioned keys. Locks are there to keep honest people honest.

      The real problem is that this is tied to a device which is designed to be replaced every other year. It's far from durable enough to be used as a house key, or even a car key. I'm carrying a wireless car key in my pocket, but I change the batteries on it maybe once a year, and the batteries cost $10. Not only can you not carry a spare battery for an iPhone, but you have to recharge it daily. Completely impractical for a key.

      • Re:Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:38AM (#31399870)

        You have far too much faith in old-fashioned keys. Locks are there to keep honest people honest.

        If someone is trying to open my front door with a crowbar, someone else might get suspicious. If they're trying to open it with my iPhone, which would be the normal way I'd open my door, no one would even notice.

        Locks may just keep honest people honest, but switching to something that can be so much more easily faked just lowers the bar of "honesty."

        • While overplayed it does work. Just Google for it, there are many stories on the technique. Google stores about a bic pen insert and a major lock company. Then to top it off realize that many Ford owners can either unlock or start older Ford cars other people own, most likely works for the majority of brands. Newer keys with embedded micro chips at least stop people from starting your car but rarely do they stop someone from unlocking your car.

          Nothing secure where there is a will.

      • Re:Security? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by spinkham (56603) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:42AM (#31400468)

        I lock my doors so that burglers are likely to smash something to get in.

        Yeah, they could pick my deadbolts, but it would take a good locksmith multiple minutes to do so.

        What burglers do is go to the back door and kick it open. The way my deadbolts are installed with metal sleves in the frame, they would have to break the entire doorframe to gain entrance. Otherwise I have some deadbolts with knobs on the inside and glass doors, which they could break the glass then unlock the deadbolts. Once again they would leave physical evidence.

        I consider my locks:

        • There to keep my friends out when I don't want them in.
        • There to leave physical evidence of a break in for my insurance company.

        I trust my locks to be strong enough against the average burglar to make them bypass them entirely, and honestly I think that's all you can expect in residential security. I enjoy having a sunroom and don't want to live in a fortress to protect against a small risk.. Instead I live how I want and protect against loss through insurance.

    • by Fex303 (557896)

      What happens when someone breaks the security on your keyring? A thief who stole your keys would be able to get into your house and rob everything, and make an escape in your car.

      If they steal your wallet while they're about it, they can empty your bank account too.

      While it's good to think about security, you've gotta actually compare the hypothetical worst case scenario of the new technology with a similar worst case scenario with the old technology (providing they require similar amounts effort/skill).

      It

      • What happens when someone breaks the security on your keyring? They gain access to whatever you've protected by it, obviously. How is this different than a person who gains access to your physical keyring? They gain access to whatever you've got keys for.

        In the current "security model", the reality is, most of us protect our property with insurance, really. If someone steals it, a claim is filed and you're compensated for the loss. (You may also qualify for a tax write-off for the loss on the next year

      • It's worth remembering that most consumer grade locks can be opened by a moderately skilled locksmith in seconds while leaving no trace

        Skilled locksmiths are very carefull to keep that fact as secret as possible. How else could they charge you for a) opening your lock (in case you locked yourself out) AND IN ADDITION for b) an new lock cause your old one suffered some 'damage' in the course of a).

  • Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:25AM (#31399740) Journal

    Flat battery

    • by gparent (1242548)
      Yeah, which means you're essentially forced to carry a set of regular keys for your car, house, etc. anyway.
      • by vlm (69642)

        Yeah, which means you're essentially forced to carry a set of regular keys for your car, house, etc. anyway.

        No, you bury your spare house key in the flower bed at a precise coordinate in a vacuum packed plastic bag. When I was a kid my parents had a combination lock on a lock box bolted to the concrete in the garage, with about 100 different keys inside only one of which worked, essentially a poor mans safe.

        As for the car key, you can buy flat credit card sized keys from most locksmiths that fit in your wallet for a very small cost. In 12 years I've used mine 3 times, once by locking the keys in the car, once b

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OzPeter (195038)

      Flat battery

      Well .. you just carry a spare battery to swap out when you need it ... oh .. never mind.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      That was my first thought. My second was that I don't see how fishing my iPod/iPhone/other device out of my pocket and entering a pass code is any easier than fishing my keys out and unlocking the door normally.

      Cooler, yes, and one less thing to carry around, but easier and more reliable?

    • by pmontra (738736)

      Yes, but also these little single words: blackout, backup, durability.

    • by teslar (706653)

      Flat battery

      This could be a great excuse though.
      1. Pick up girl in bar
      2. Take "home" to poshest, grandest, most expensive-looking villa/mansion in the city
      3. "Awwww, sorry, honey, battery on my iKey's flat. How about we just go to your place and I'll show you my master bedroom tomorrow instead?"
      4. ?????
      5. Return to Mom's basement before she (mom or girl) wakes up.

  • typical Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pydev (1683904) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:27AM (#31399758)

    An entire industry gears up to create technologies for short range wireless communications in order to replace keys. Several companies already have solutions in the market, but they haven't caught on yet because the technology isn't quite ready yet and not quite cheap enough.

    If things continue along Apple's usual path then: (1) Apple starts patenting the obvious applications of those technologies, something other people weren't even considering because that's what those technologies were designed for, (2) Apple starts adding immature implementations of the feature to their products at a premium price that only Apple customers would be willing to pay and gets accolades for how "innovative" they are, and (3) a few years later when other people are starting to offer mass market products at mass market prices, Apple starts suing them for patent violations.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kainewynd2 (821530)

      (3) a few years later when other people are starting to offer mass market products at mass market prices, Apple starts suing them for patent violations.

      Citation needed.

      And I don't mean the recent Nokia patent suit. Many of the iPhone patents were not obvious technologies because a boatload of them were created for this purpose. Sure, they're obvious *now* since everyone and their brother is making a multitouch phone with an accelerometer, light sensor, compass, proximity sensor, and tilt sensor, but back in 2005 these things were rare or non-existent.

      So, to my original point... citation needed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LucidBeast (601749)
        Just because a product isn't on the market doesn't mean that it hasn't been invented. Apple did a good job on the phone and its marketing, but to say that they invented all that is a long stretch.
      • Back in 2005 all of these had been long invented, and had long been used in mobile devices...just not a phone

        It's like most obvious patents .... You can't patent a compass ... but a compass in a phone, that's an invention?

    • Re:typical Apple (Score:4, Informative)

      by vlm (69642) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:15AM (#31400218)

      Several companies already have solutions in the market, but they haven't caught on yet because the technology isn't quite ready yet and not quite cheap enough.

      "isn't quite ready" ? "not cheap enough" ? You need to research that a little bit more. For at least a decade I've never worked at a place without those electric door "key card" locks. Every my kids daycare used them. Both my jobs, my wifes job, daycare, all use the same type of card.

      The cards are about $4 and the little pencil-eraser keychain fobs cost a whopping $8. Now this is from a reseller like smarthome.com. Wholesale in bulk they are probably about half that. Most businesses charge like $50 for a lost card, not because it costs $50 but to scare and intimidate the employees (some bosses love that) and also to make up for the labor cost of issuing another card. They are cheap enough to put in a house, and I've been seriously considering it.

      I integrated mine with my ipod by purchasing a silicone stretchy case and placing the credit card sized doorcard behind the ipod in the stretchy. It was actually quite inconvenient and I was worried I'd drop the ipod so I stopped doing that. It was more convenient to have them separate.

      I think they are hurrying up, because the provider has long sold a little pencil eraser shaped fob, and I know people whom have made bracelets out of them. A wee bit smaller and they could be mounted in a ring. That would be quite convenient, since my had is usually near the door when I'm opening the door.

  • i-disallow (Score:2, Funny)

    by ipquickly (1562169)

    And of course, (just like the app-store) if you are wearing just a bikini, or have a 'hot babe' on your arm, the doors just won't open.

    • by vlm (69642)

      And of course, (just like the app-store) if you are wearing just a bikini ... the doors just won't open.

      Yeah I know what you're trying to say, but technically, you can already purchase, for several years now, "door keycard" technology in a form factor the shape and size of a very small pen cap, for about twice the cost of a traditional credit card shaped keycard. I believe you're supposed to put it on a keychain, but there are other possibilities. Luckily there are no sharp edges. So, the bikini ladies can theoretically carry two door fobs, and the guys can carry one. This also has the benefit that people

  • ICKY (Score:2, Funny)

    by Antiocheian (859870)

    1. repulsive or distasteful.
    2. excessively sweet or sentimental.
    3. unsophisticated or old-fashioned.
    4. sticky; viscid.

    Origin:
    1930–35, Americanism

    (According to dictionary.com)

  • by bjackson1 (953136) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:34AM (#31399830)

    I can currently do this with my Zipcar app http://www.zipcar.com/iphone/ [zipcar.com] . It allows you to unlock, lock and honk your cars horn. It does this using your EDGE/3G connection, so not near-field/RFID however, same kind of thing is currently being done.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:35AM (#31399840) Homepage

    You know, with Apple products experiencing something of a resurgence in the past 5-10 years and their popularity slowly increasing, they will eventually cross that invisible line where hackers decide that it becomes worth their time to attack Apple products the way they attack Windows. The fact that people are sold Apple products under the guise of security and not having to worry about compromised hardware/software means they won't see it coming and won't know how to deal with it, either.

    Be careful with becoming too big, Apple Nation.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Pre OS X, Apple had lots of worms, virus like apps, malware, trojans and loggers ect.
      What can really be noted for OS X security after many years?
      Fake flash installers, physical access loggers and ???
      Where are the FAQ pages to pop any Mac hitting a web site or just connecting to the net?
      As for Apple DRM, that will be wide open :)
    • Luckily it will be very straightforward to protect yourself from hackers: an old fashioned lock will do.

      I would never connect my front door or car to anything that is on any network. I am the one with the keys now - that's a very nice feeling.

      The motivation for hackers now is to gain control of a computer to make a few euro/dollars. If they can steal a car, or just open a front door and walk in - I dunno - I can just imagine that they are much more motivated to hack even small niche technologies.

  • Security (Score:5, Informative)

    by dachshund (300733) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:36AM (#31399862)

    This is a bad idea. Mainly because the iPhone doesn't have a very sophisticated security architecture, so any cryptographic keys and wallet information are fundamentally vulnerable to theft. This is best demonstrated by the recent attack where a handful of SMS messages was sufficient to give an attacker root on the device. If you're going to put something like this into widespread deployment you at very least want to include some sort of hardware security module to validate the software and store cryptographic secrets.

    Right now I wouldn't want to use the iPhone (or any Android phone, for that matter) to store any kind of critical secrets.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      It's also generally a bad idea to create a 'standard' on a proprietary, licenced technology as other companies will create competing 'standards'. If they offer the patents, connectors, etc, up for public domain, I'll start to be interested. Without an open standard, you'll have to have a pocket full of different electronic devices rather that a pocket full of keys.
  • Central locking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by benjymous (69893) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:44AM (#31399954) Homepage

    I often wonder why central locking hasn't caught on for houses yet. Especially if you could set it to beep at you when you've leaving but you've left a door/window open elsewhere.

  • I remember reading about this some time ago. That Bill Gates guy is a visionary.
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Monday March 08, 2010 @08:52AM (#31400024) Homepage Journal
    I'd be afraid someone would try to jailbreak my front door and end up bricking my house.
  • 1. You can tuck a key under the doormat if you lose the ones in your pocket. Not so electronic gadget. 2. As somebody else mentioned - flat battery? lose access to all your property. Flat battery in the lock or power cut in the house? lose access. 3. Replacing locks just got a whole lot more expensive and no doubt all lock makers would have to have some kind of license agreement with Apple. In short, LAME. This seems to be technology for technology's sake. I can see pretty much nothing but downsides to thi
  • PIN #??? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TyFoN (12980)

    I for one would think the "great steve" would actually innovate and implement iris scan into the device ;)
    Isn't apple supposed to be the leader of innovation?..

    Never mind that their department breaks down to something like 60% marketing, 30% design and 10% engineers (yes, I'm being generous)

  • by xednieht (1117791) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:10AM (#31400178) Homepage
    This concept including the name iKey and iLock and a description of this product were described a year and a half before Apple applied for the patent.

    http://www.jenom.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&cid=17 [jenom.com]

    "iKey and iLock, for lack of a more creative product name
    Give me a tiny device the size of a flash drive that I can encode with some unique ID like a segment of my DNA. When I get within 2 feet of my office, my car, my house, or whatever locked item it is, it reads the code from the device in my pocket and unlocks the electronic lock. No more carrying 200 keys around like some medieval jailer. 2007 is half over and we're still securing our possessions with medieval technology.

    "Apple credits Michael Rosenblatt, Gloria Lin, Sean Mayo and Taido Nakajima as the inventors of patent application 20100042954, originally filed in Q3 2008."

    Apple lies.
  • so basically (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:12AM (#31400188)

    this is an RFID chip then. With the added inconvenience of having to also enter a PIN number anyway.

  • I call "prior art" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:21AM (#31400264)
    "The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker. " From The Age of the Pussyfoot [wikipedia.org], published in 1966 by Frederic Pohl. (I read this as a scholastic bookclub selection if fifth grade, It's been obvious for a few years now that the iPhone is well on it's way to becoming a "joymaker", this patent brings it even closer.
  • Some things should just *not* be networked or left to vulnerable to electronic signals.
  • Now I need to remember another password to get into my house. If anything I'd prefer to validate my online passwords with the combination of a physical key turn and a short pin.

  • So instead of punching my PIN number directly into the lock on my car or house, which have had PIN based locks available for decades, I instead pull out my phone, load my iKey app, and punch my PIN in there? Is this really easier or more secure?
  • Priceless (Score:5, Funny)

    by wing03 (654457) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:33AM (#31400390)
    Basic house door lock and key from Home Depot - ~$20
    Extra key cutting - ~$2

    Watching your neighbour spending hundreds or more than a thousand to outfit their home with an iLock and having their iPhone run out of juice or fumbling and dropping/breaking it before they could unlock the front door.... Priceless.
    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      Watching your neighbour spending hundreds or more than a thousand to outfit their home with an iLock and having their iPhone run out of juice or fumbling and dropping/breaking it before they could unlock the front door.... Priceless.

      Do you ever feel ashamed of the fact that a TV commercial has infiltrated your mind to the point that you spout off imitations of it? And is it really that fun to see your neighbor make bad decisions?

  • AppStore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NospAm.gmail.com> on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:38AM (#31400442)

    What happens when Apple decides that I should be locked out of my car because I drove past the local porn shop and they consider that a TOS violation? And how do I know they arn't going to purposely brick my key if I make after-market changes to my car?

  • How is this more convenient? If mere proximity were sufficient (as in the Prius key) it might be interesting, but if I have to pull out a device and tap in a pin to make it work, that's hardly more convenient than having a key that I had to pull out and fit into the lock. And what happens when the device runs out of grunt? Do I have to find a charger before I can get into my house? Maybe not if I can still use a conventional key. But if I have to keep a key with me anyway, what value, other than excru

  • So, say this does catch on and people start getting house doors and cars compatible with this. What if there's an emergency and I have to get into the house of a family member or friend and I don't have an iphone or whatever it'll take the pop the lock? If there's an emergency, I doubt they're going to be able to hand me their phone or whatever this device might be...and what if they're so used to using this device to open all their doors and they don't have a physical key on them?

    I don't like this every

  • And one day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JAlexoi (1085785) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:53AM (#31400558) Homepage
    They will ban you from their approved users list, leaving you with an email message on your iPhone standing right before a closed door :-D
  • by jsepeta (412566) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:20PM (#31402264) Homepage

    my brother was able to use an app from my Palm Pilot using IR to unlock his Ford Taurus' doors back in 1998. Way to keep up with the times, Apple.

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