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Iphone Apple Technology

iPhones Will Reportedly Get the Power To Unlock Doors Using NFC (engadget.com) 112

The iPhone's NFC chip will soon have the ability open your house's and car's doors, as well as pay for your fare, reports The Information. From a report: The tech giant is reportedly gearing up to introduce a huge update for its devices' near-field communication chip, which is (at the moment) mostly used to make purchases via Apple Pay. Its employees already have access to the new features, the publication says, and have apparently been using their iPhones to access offices and buildings at Apple's HQ in Cupertino. While you can use iPhones to open a lot of smart locks via Bluetooth, NFC is considered the more secure option. According to the publication's sources, Apple has been working with HID Global, the company that made its security systems, to give iPhones the capability to gain access to buildings and offices since 2014. The company has reportedly been talking to transit card maker Cubic for years, as well.
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iPhones Will Reportedly Get the Power To Unlock Doors Using NFC

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  • by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:29AM (#56693020) Homepage
    my Android phone from 2014 has that.
    • But this one uses AI and Deep Learning Neural Networks.
    • my Android phone from 2014 has that.

      And in how many hotels could you use it yet ?

      • my Android phone from 2014 has that.

        And in how many hotels could you use it yet ?

        Any that have NFC-capable door locks. I doubt there are many (if any) of those, though, because until this update only Android phones could operate them. Hotels have used Bluetooth for their digital key systems, because it would work with all mobile devices. Not that iPhones are catching up, maybe we'll see hotels switching to NFC.

        • my Android phone from 2014 has that.

          And in how many hotels could you use it yet ?

          Any that have NFC-capable door locks. I doubt there are many (if any) of those, though, because until this update only Android phones could operate them. Hotels have used Bluetooth for their digital key systems, because it would work with all mobile devices. Not that iPhones are catching up, maybe we'll see hotels switching to NFC.

          But I thought that Android was the dominant platform in mobile. Why would the Hotels wait until iPhones got this capability?

          Unless...

          Perhaps Android isn't so all-pervasive as the fandroids would have us believe...

          • Because most businesses want to provide a consistent customer experience. That is, one that works for 100% of customers, not merely 85%. Especially when some monetary investment is required on their part.

            NFC payments were actually a thing before Apple Pay. Basically, you only saw them at places that upgraded their card terminals after they became a thing, because it came as part of the terminal. Of course, back then, nobody was using NFC payments. Then again, now that we have Apple Pay and businesses have
            • Because most businesses want to provide a consistent customer experience. That is, one that works for 100% of customers, not merely 85%. Especially when some monetary investment is required on their part.

              NFC payments were actually a thing before Apple Pay. Basically, you only saw them at places that upgraded their card terminals after they became a thing, because it came as part of the terminal. Of course, back then, nobody was using NFC payments. Then again, now that we have Apple Pay and businesses have spent the money to upgrade their terminals (because now everyone can do it), still nobody uses it.

              So, I think you were trying to say that things suddenly become popular just because Apple implements them? Was that your point? Because it hasn't quite worked out for... well... a lot of things. NFC payments: NOPE. Screen notches: despite a handful of experiments, NOPE, those models don't sell. No headphone jack: despite a handful of experiments, NOPE, those models don't sell. No SD card: debatable, but most people I know either own an iPhone or an Android with SD support.

              And, since most people own Android phones, it's hard to say these things that don't do well in the Android ecosystem are "popular" by any legitimate definition of the word.

              How about this?

              Although 85% of the general population may have some plastic shitbox version of an Android phone, I would bet that 85% of the population that stays at hotels that are well-heeled enough to install NFC-enabled locks on every room use iPhones.

              • NFC enabled locks don't really cost much more than your standard programmable keycard lock, so I'm not sure that argument rests on very solid ground. Over time, the NFC and Bluetooth locks end up cheaper as the require less hands-on maintenance and everything short of hardware failure can be handled from the front desk. Add to that, keycards are then only needed for guests who don't have phones, so fewer keycards need be purchased (and replaced) over time.

                It's actually getting to the point where the more
                • NFC enabled locks don't really cost much more than your standard programmable keycard lock, so I'm not sure that argument rests on very solid ground. Over time, the NFC and Bluetooth locks end up cheaper as the require less hands-on maintenance and everything short of hardware failure can be handled from the front desk. Add to that, keycards are then only needed for guests who don't have phones, so fewer keycards need be purchased (and replaced) over time.

                  It's actually getting to the point where the more well-heeled hotels are the only ones who can not to implement these locks.

                  They may not cost much more than keycard locks; but they sure as shit cost more than the tumbler-based locks that the Motels (not Hotels) that the people who can only afford plastic shitbox Android phones (the phones that make up the VAST majority of Android units sold) still use.

                  So, my argument stands.

                  • You know, the last shitbox motel I stayed in, $49/night 9 years ago, was using keycards. What motels are using keys anymore? I don't think the handful of them really count for much.
                    • They're either using $200+ cylinders with restricted keys (e.g. you can't just go to Home Depot and get them copied) or they're spending a lot on rekeying. In either case, they'd be better off with even a mid-90's punched keycard system.
              • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
                With purely NFC-based locks many hotels will be able to skip the registration entirely. You just get the room number and go there directly.
                • With purely NFC-based locks many hotels will be able to skip the registration entirely. You just get the room number and go there directly.

                  Maybe so; but how is that germane to this discussion?

            • Like that trollop from the commercial. Now you can open every school locker, Janitors closet, and everyone trunk as well as screwing up science experiments. How did anyone think that put the product in a good light? One youngster hoses down tons of people and we think this is a good idea? Pffft. Catering to Egos of undeveloped adolescents. Was probably put out there to start the discussion on how to do it safely, and WE are being crowdsourced to help them solve the issue? Now... you swipe a phone, then
              • Well, as long as the phone prompts for biometrics before unlocking the door or starting the car, as is done with payments -- and how it's done on Android -- it's reasonably safe.
          • Nope. People just wait for stupid decision to be announced by Tim Cook first.

            Just because you can, doesn't mean you should... but evidently Apple will.

        • by dissy ( 172727 )

          And in how many hotels could you use it yet ?

          Any that have NFC-capable door locks. I doubt there are many (if any) of those, though, because until this update only Android phones could operate them. Hotels have used Bluetooth for their digital key systems, because it would work with all mobile devices. Not that iPhones are catching up, maybe we'll see hotels switching to NFC.

          Personally I was hoping for protocol details, as the question you replied to depends fully on that.

          Saying "NFC" is a lot like just saying "barcode" or "magstripe"
          There are proverbially hundreds of data encoding standards within each of those, which actually even Android has limitations on regarding its NFC chip too.

          For example I use "NTAG" NFC at home, and Android supports the NTAG 215 spec but not* 216 I use.
          There's also an NTAG 213 spec but I don't use that or know if Android supports it. Being older I'd

          • Note that everything you talk about is only the RFID part of NFC. NFC actually includes two entire categories of communication technologies, operating on two different frequencies. The more interesting (IMO) part of NFC is the embodiment of the contactless smart card technologies, which enable two-way conversations between a pair of intelligent endpoints, not merely reading and writing of different data formats.
            • by dissy ( 172727 )

              Note that everything you talk about is only the RFID part of NFC. NFC actually includes two entire categories of communication technologies, operating on two different frequencies. The more interesting (IMO) part of NFC is the embodiment of the contactless smart card technologies, which enable two-way conversations between a pair of intelligent endpoints, not merely reading and writing of different data formats.

              I simplified things yes, although without mentioning it I did (unintentionally) mention both.

              HID 26-bit tends to be a one-way "read-only" option like in RFID.
              NTAG is a two way option able to store data on the card/tag, which is actually the main reason I use it over HID.
              The smartcard options are of course two-way but generally with even more features (challenge response being the biggie)

              Clearly doorway entry doesn't have too much use for the writable aspect, but other uses plus the whole learning aspect lea

      • And in how many hotels could you use it yet ?

        Hotels? idon't know but it's not an Apple innovation. My local hackspace has had NFC based door opening for ages. Works with phone NFC.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Moto g in 2010 did also

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @12:30PM (#56693696)

      Your Android phone has also been exposed to malware since at least then. Not a good idea to have malware that can open doors.

      • Yes, a rooted Android phone is susceptible to malware from 3rd-party sources, just like a jailbroken iPhone. As far as factory-configured devices, if you think the Apple store has had any less malware than the Play store, though, you're sadly mistaken.

        Much of it has made the front page here, actually.
        • Yes, a rooted Android phone is susceptible to malware from 3rd-party sources, just like a jailbroken iPhone. As far as factory-configured devices, if you think the Apple store has had any less malware than the Play store, though, you're sadly mistaken.

          https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

          Care to back up your claim?

          • Apparently, you're able to search Slashdot quite effectively yourself. Why do you need me to do it? It's no skin off my back if you wish to keep your head buried in the sand. Personally, I use an Android phone and an iPad, so I'm invested in both ecosystems; I just hold no illusions of one beign better, or safer, than the other.
            • Wow, you are really obtuse, or Google is paying you - and that isn't an XOR.

              So how is your malware infested Android?

              • About the same as my malware infested iOS. Actually, both are clean as can be because neither are jailbroken or rooted, I don't sideload, and I only install applications from trusted developers. They could both be equally infested with shit, though, if I didn't follow those guidelines.

                Go cash that Apple check so you can buy your meds.
                • About the same as my malware infested iOS. Actually, both are clean as can be because neither are jailbroken or rooted,

                  Boy are you stupid. You don't have to root your Android to download malware from the fucking Play Store. And the fact that Google has removed over 20% of all apps on it as malware doesn't mean there's now no more malware on it, because the makers just rename it at upload it again.

                  • Boy are you stupid.

                    Nah, you're just missing my point, so I'll state it more plainly, after completing the quote you cherrypicked.

                    ...I don't sideload, and I only install applications from trusted developers.

                    If you bother read the entire sentence, it becomes apparent that I do, in fact, realize that you don't have to root an Android device to pick up a bit of malware. You don't have to jailbreak your iOS device to download malware from the iOS App Store, either; again, you're welcome to go on thinking this is not the case, it's not my data that's at risk if you choose to remain ignorant.

                    If we're bein

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      my Android phone from 2014 has that.

      No, No, No, No, don't you see. Apple will "innovate" by making a system that is completely incompatible with other NFC systems.

  • Oh Goodie! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:33AM (#56693056)

    Now Apple(and whoever they sell the information to) can know where I live, what time I got home, what time I left, what mode of transport I took, what I bought and where, and criminals can now hijack not just my bank account but my home, my car and my transit pass horrraaa!

    • by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:49AM (#56693142) Homepage Journal
      once Microsoft Amazon Google Apple (MAGA) convince you to discard your books, your music discs, your house keys, your car keys, and the ability to pay for anything other than through them -- the enslavement will be complete. Now be a good citizen and comply... your papers, please?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now Apple(and whoever they sell the information to) can know where I live, what time I got home, what time I left, what mode of transport I took, what I bought and where, and criminals can now hijack not just my bank account but my home, my car and my transit pass horrraaa!

      Are you drunk?

      They already have all of that information.

    • Now Apple(and whoever they sell the information to) can know where I live, what time I got home, what time I left, what mode of transport I took, what I bought and where, and criminals can now hijack not just my bank account but my home, my car and my transit pass horrraaa!

      You have Apple confused with Google.

  • by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:50AM (#56693144)

    I understand why Apple locked down hardware interfaces on their devices back when you plugged most accessories into the bottom of your phone, but why do they still continue to do it now in the era of wireless? For example, the Bluetooth interface still doesn't let you open a serial port profile with another Bluetooth device unless you have paid silly amounts of money to get your product through MFI. What bad thing is my app accessing a wireless bluetooth serial port device going to do that I cannot do with a TCP/IP port onto the internet?

    They relaxed things a tiny bit with BTLE, but they ensured the data rates on this were painful slow to the point of excluding a huge class of use cases. And then they ditched the headphone jack which removed a common hack used to get a signal in/out of iDevices. A whole world of external devices controlled by your phone would have been available to use years ago if Apple had had a reasonable wireless hardware policy (or at least had simplified its MFI program - you can't even find out how much it costs until you sign your life away).

    Again, I totally understand the original motivation for regulating hardware devices, but with most of the devices people want to connect to being wireless that now seems redundant, and since Apple doesn't appear to be interested in building their own IOT ecosystem, I don't even see what they are gaining financially from the situation. If they opened up the bluetooth SPP there would an explosion in hardware gadgets that you can control with your iPhone.

    • Because Apple boldly protects their users, who apparently can't even manage multiple button functions dating back to the first Apple mouse. I'm a regular Android user but I use an iPhone for an mp3 player. I can't believe the mess of swoops iOS creates. Swoop down 0.25 inches from the top of the screen it does one thing, swoop down from the top and it does another. Where is the back? One place in Apple music, another in the browser. It's a crazy mess. Can't imagine living with one of these, frustrati
    • I understand why Apple locked down hardware interfaces on their devices back when you plugged most accessories into the bottom of your phone, but why do they still continue to do it now in the era of wireless?

      the Bluetooth interface still doesn't let you open a serial port profile with another Bluetooth device unless you have paid silly amounts of money to get your product through MFI.

      You answered your own question.

    • There is institutional fear within Apple of losing control of their own system.
    • I understand why Apple locked down hardware interfaces on their devices back when you plugged most accessories into the bottom of your phone, but why do they still continue to do it now in the era of wireless? For example, the Bluetooth interface still doesn't let you open a serial port profile with another Bluetooth device unless you have paid silly amounts of money to get your product through MFI. What bad thing is my app accessing a wireless bluetooth serial port device going to do that I cannot do with a TCP/IP port onto the internet?

      They relaxed things a tiny bit with BTLE, but they ensured the data rates on this were painful slow to the point of excluding a huge class of use cases. And then they ditched the headphone jack which removed a common hack used to get a signal in/out of iDevices. A whole world of external devices controlled by your phone would have been available to use years ago if Apple had had a reasonable wireless hardware policy (or at least had simplified its MFI program - you can't even find out how much it costs until you sign your life away).

      Again, I totally understand the original motivation for regulating hardware devices, but with most of the devices people want to connect to being wireless that now seems redundant, and since Apple doesn't appear to be interested in building their own IOT ecosystem, I don't even see what they are gaining financially from the situation. If they opened up the bluetooth SPP there would an explosion in hardware gadgets that you can control with your iPhone.

      I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      It does seem to be a hard-to-defend position.

  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:56AM (#56693166) Homepage Journal

    NXP pretty much owns NFC so its a standard where you pay one company...

    Apple previously has only allowed reading from a NFC chip and restricted the ability to write/respond to Apple pay

    If apple opens this up then why would banks use or sign up for "Apple pay" ? (spoiler they wont)

      the smart thing to do would to engage the phones bluetooth controller via NFC and have bluetooth open the door.
    (this solves the locality issue where bluetooth controller is not sure if you wish to open the door or has to constantly ping wondering if its near the door and if you wish to open it)

    Also Bluetooth allows you to choose your own encryption and Apple have a standard already for doors ("Homekit" which has strong encryption ) this would be a simple extension of homekit for offices which would be an additional revenue model...

    Officekit - you heard it here first...

    regards

    John Jones

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      NFC is just a transport layer, like ethernet or a USB cable. It doesn't have any inherent security beyond the fact that it only works over short distances unless you have a really big antenna.

      For stuff like payments there is a secure protocol built on top of it, just like you have SSH built on top of insecure protocols like TCP and ethernet.

      NFC isn't a bad solution for opening doors. You can make it secure with a challenge/response protocol that is resistant to replay attacks. I guess maybe someone could co

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      NXP pretty much owns NFC so its a standard where you pay one company...

      Apple previously has only allowed reading from a NFC chip and restricted the ability to write/respond to Apple pay

      If apple opens this up then why would banks use or sign up for "Apple pay" ? (spoiler they wont)

      You've got that the wrong way around. Apple is buying products from the banks. Apple pay is a wrapper for a credit card, so it's someone else's banking product, Apple is just being a(nother) middleman.

  • oh good (Score:5, Funny)

    by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @10:58AM (#56693182)
    I was hoping to bring the airtight security of smart phones to my car and dwelling.
  • Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @11:10AM (#56693240)

    Sorry, but I put a NFC sticker inside my iPhone case years ago, thereby enabling it to open my front door.

    I'd prefer an app to identify the owners of all those cats who come visiting my porch every day.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You know that these stickers are just wirelessly readable and writable memory devices, don't you? There's nothing preventing someone from copying the data and presenting it to the lock. There are smart cards with embedded processors that can do actual cryptographic authentication, but the NFC stickers are not of that kind.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        HID is one of the companies that make those cards, and if they are partnered with Apple to build this out that is probably what is going on the backend utilizing the secure enclave.

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2018 @11:21AM (#56693294) Journal

    NFC on Android [newatlas.com] has been around for 5 years. Apple is once again lagging Android, and going to try to spin it as "revolutionary" even though 75% of all smart phones [statcounter.com] have been doing this for half a decade.

    Courage?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your opening it wrong?

    • by psergiu ( 67614 )

      Example:
      - Samsung printer C410W with NFC
      - Samsung phone S6A with NFC
      Action: Enable NFC on the phone, install official Samsung printer mgmt app, tap phone on printer on designated area.
      Result: Pop-up on the phone with "Invalid device"

      NFC on Android might have been around for 5 years, but ...

      • Hmmm...My C1810W and my Galaxy Note 5 (and now Note 8) work great. But hey, maybe ONE DAY we'll see an iPhone with anything close to that functionality.
      • Normally, tapping a printer on the NFC before installing the app will direct you by URI to the appropriate app (where the URI also identifies the printer to be discovered). I think. Or at least that's how it should be designed.

    • NFC on Android [newatlas.com] has been around for 5 years. Apple is once again lagging Android, and going to try to spin it as "revolutionary" even though 75% of all smart phones [statcounter.com] have been doing this for half a decade.

      Courage?

      I didn't see one thing that looked like Apple was claiming this was their invention, let alone anything revolutionary. It is just a new capability for iPhones (and maybe iPads?). Nothing more, nothing less.

      Try not to Hate before thinking. Is that even possible for you?

      • Here's a great quote [computerworld.com] stating it's a new Apple thing:

        The inference of the current story is that Apple has now figured out how to invite strangers into this element of its technology in such a way as to provide end user convenience while maintaining a consistent user experience and high degrees of security and privacy.

        Before Apple, it never worked, it was tough to use, inconsistent, and insecure. Now Apple - courageously - has solved all those issues! Hurray!

        • Here's a great quote [computerworld.com] stating it's a new Apple thing:

          The inference of the current story is that Apple has now figured out how to invite strangers into this element of its technology in such a way as to provide end user convenience while maintaining a consistent user experience and high degrees of security and privacy.

          Before Apple, it never worked, it was tough to use, inconsistent, and insecure. Now Apple - courageously - has solved all those issues! Hurray!

          Sounds to me like yellow journalism on top of yellow journalism.

          • Or, as most of the rest of the world puts it, Apple faithful making everything Apple-centric.
            • Or, as most of the rest of the world puts it, Apple faithful making everything Apple-centric.

              If Computerworld is the Apple faithful, you are the Doomsday Cult.

        • So your complaint is that Apple isn't claiming they invented it (what you claimed in the OP), but that computer magazines think it's better than what Android offers. Is this your general befuddlement showing? Or are you just being an ass?
  • Finally, one less thing to root around for in the morning to make me late for work. I really want to throw away my keys and wallet. I can remember arcane bits of 60's sitcom trivia and Maxwell's equations, but I never seem to remember where I put and keys and wallet the night before. There have been halting efforts for digital driver's licenses. Of course, loose your phone then and you are deeply hosed. With no wallet, good luck getting money from the bank to buy a new phone (master digital token) to b
    • Finally another simple, cheap thing that was working perfectly fine, replaced by something expensive that consumes needless energy. Can't wait until my phone goes flat so I can't get into my house. Or maybe I will have to pay a monthly subscription, or upgrade the locks in my house because apple no longer provide support for that version of lock. I simply love the fact I have to pay $400 to replace a key for my car right now.

    • Wait' til you're 50.

  • The potential cost of getting hacked just keeps going higher and higher.

    And I wonder how long it will be before some bright light in law enforcement tries to make the case that if you let your phone open your car (or home), you've given up your right to refuse entry to those places to nosy people with badges, as long as they can find some legal pretext to demand access to the device itself.

    • None of the doors on my house are actually secure even with the door locked and a deadbolt you can easily knock out the glass and just reach through and unlock them. This isn't mentioning the wood door jamb that could be easily destroyed just by kicking the door right next to knob and deadbolt.

  • The hotel chain has been pushing the idea of electronic locks for several years. The 1700 Hilton properties that currently use these locks allow you to unlock doors as a feature of their reservation app. It's a nice feature, but will get a lot more useful when it operates from NFC directly, rather than having you go into the app and bring up the Digital Kay tab. An NFC implementation would allow you to open doors hands-free, which would be nice to have at conferences when you're always carrying miscellaneou

  • "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." (Dave takes out iPhone)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who gives a flying fu*k, It's not like this is going to be backwards compatible with most of the HID installations in place already. A lot of those existing installations rely on older RFID technology in the hundreds of killohertz, its why you can't read your HID prox card with the NFC in an android phone. NFC works in the 13mhz band.

    This is going to be a complete flop on apple's part unless they can convince the millions of office buildings to upgrade their RFID badge readers to be compatible with the 13mh

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