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Patents Apple

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

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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  • Re:iThings (Score:2, Informative)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:33AM (#31399824)

    When will they make iDildo?

    They already have. iDildo []

  • by bjackson1 ( 953136 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:34AM (#31399830)

    I can currently do this with my Zipcar app [] . 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.

  • Security (Score:5, Informative)

    by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:36AM (#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.

  • PIN #??? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TyFoN ( 12980 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:56AM (#31400048)

    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 @10:10AM (#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. []

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

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:15AM (#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 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 call "prior art" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:21AM (#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 [], 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.
  • Re:Security? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rclandrum ( 870572 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @11:14AM (#31400764) Homepage

    FYI - For laughs I ordered a lockpick set, instruction book, and video ( $50 or so) off the web and tried my novice hand at it. After just a couple of hours, I could open any pin tumbler lock that I found in the house (including door locks) in under a minute. There's a technique called "scrubbing" the pins that works well on most pin tumbler locks and it certainly worked for me. Actually "picking" the lock - where you put tension on it while feeling out and slowly setting each pin could take a while as you indicate, but even this method is doable in under 2 minutes with just a bit of practice - especially on the typical 4-pin door locks. It was cheap fun to learn the techniques and there are even groups that get together and have picking contests if you get bitten by the competition bug.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @11:57AM (#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 [] 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 amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:11PM (#31401426)

    Nice, you've discovered the best way to make a link unclickable in Slashdot. I can't even highlight and select "Go To URL", because it's already a link (to your comment, which doesn't have any content). []

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall