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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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  • Apple and patents... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by YA_Python_dev ( 885173 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:32AM (#31399816) Journal

    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 [] (the original article is from LWN [], I highly suggest getting a subscription there).

    Sounds familiar? Remember GIF? MP3? h.264? Yeah, I know, this last reference will get me modded as troll.

  • by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:37AM (#31399864)
    Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.
  • Re:typical Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kainewynd2 ( 821530 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:38AM (#31399882)

    (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.

  • Central locking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by benjymous ( 69893 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:44AM (#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.

  • by LucidBeast ( 601749 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:55AM (#31400038)
    NFC has been patented for the purposes mentioned in apples patent for sure. Where is apple in this chart? [] Of course the innovation here is that it is an iPhone that uses NFC and not some other manufacturers phone.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:09AM (#31400170)

    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.

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

    by rpresser ( 610529 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <resserpr>> on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:22AM (#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?

  • Re:Depends... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@gmail.COLAcom minus caffeine> on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:32AM (#31400376)

    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.

  • AppStore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gma i l . c om> on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:38AM (#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?

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

    by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @10:42AM (#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 AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Monday March 08, 2010 @11:19AM (#31400834) Homepage Journal

    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 format, assuming they realise if they ever switch to another company's portable music player they won't be able to listen to it.

  • Re:Security? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dlgeek ( 1065796 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:38PM (#31401748)
    Sure, I just wanted to point out it's pretty feasible. A couple things to keep in mind.
    • Cellphone imagery - if you ever take your keys out during the day, someone can walk by with their cellphone and boom - picture from 1 foot away.
    • This was only a prototype system done in academia as a proof of concept. I'm betting that if someone with serious reason to want it tried, they could dramatically improve the performance
  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Monday March 08, 2010 @03:17PM (#31403856)

    So don't buy the songs then.

    Your CD isn't lossless either, at least compared to a very high quality analog deck.

    The iTunes/iPod ecosystem allows exactly the system you want (it's flexible that way) to allow you to rip lossless from CDs as well as make lower bitrate copies. The point here wasn't that Apple is selling non-lossless music, but that they sell non-DRM music that is in AAC format - which was erroneously described as a "locked to Apple devices only" format, when it is clearly nothing of the sort.

    The only real piece missing from the iPod is the ability to add your own codec of choice (assuming the hardware can support it), beyond the subset of codecs it already handles. You can add vorbis/flac support to iTunes, but not extend it to the iPod/Phone, which is a shame.

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