Apple is developing a new ‘CarKey’ feature that will let drivers — of the ultimate driving machine, at first — replace physical key fobs with their iPhone. That’s right, BMW could be first to have Apple’s futuristic ‘CarKey’ iPhone feature. 9to5Mac reported on ‘CarKey’ exclusively in February after poring through a beta version of iOS 13.4.
New evidence in iOS 14 code obtained by 9to5Mac reveals that Apple is working with BMW to likely be the first carmaker to support the futuristic iPhone feature.
Apple working closely with BMW for Digital Key is no surprise. BMW was also the first car maker to adopt Wireless CarPlay, Apple’s advanced version of its useful infotainment feature based on the iPhone.
9to5Mac expects CarKey to work for locking, unlocking, and starting cars using the iPhone in place of a physical car key or key fob. Virtual car keys will be managed in Apple’s Wallet app and work with an option for authenticating without a passcode or Face ID for a faster experience. These virtual car keys will also be shareable over Messages.
Similar to CarPlay, Apple could also support two versions of CarKey: one that requires near contact, and one that allows you to leave your iPhone in your pocket.
BMW drivers, for example, could unlock and start their car with Wireless CarPlay automatically initiated all without taking their iPhone out of the bag or pocket.
MacDailyNews Take: It makes sense that BMW would be first to offer the Apple CarKey feature since, back in 2004, BMW was also the first vehicle maker to have seamless integration between Apple’s iPod and a vehicle audio system with the BMW iPod Adapter.
As with CarPlay, we’re going to want to make sure we have Apple CarKey-enabled vehicles, so, yes, this is another smart way to strengthen Apple’s Hotel California ecosystem. You’re going to want an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and, eventually, Apple Glasses even more in the future!
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]