After previously stating a feature that will let users add driver’s license or state ID to their iPhone and Apple Watch in participating U.S. states would be available in late 2021, Apple has updated its website to indicate that the iOS 15.x and watchOS 8.x feature has been delayed until early 2022.
In September, Apple said Arizona and Georgia would be among the first states to introduce the feature to residents, with Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah to follow. Apple added that it was in discussions with many more U.S. states (reportedly including Florida) as it works to offer the feature nationwide in the future.
Apple has not provided a specific release date for the feature beyond the early 2022 timeframe, and the feature is not enabled in the latest iOS 15.2 beta.
Apple has emphasized the privacy and security protections of the feature. When adding a driver’s license or state ID card to the Wallet app, the company said users will be required to take a photo of their face, which will be securely provided to the issuing state for verification. As an additional measure, Apple said users will be prompted to complete a series of facial and head movements during the setup process.
MacDailyNews Take: This follows a report (Apple sticks taxpayers with portion of costs for U.S. states’ digital IDs in Wallet app) by CNBC that said Apple requires states to maintain the systems needed to issue and service digital IDs at taxpayer expense, according to contracts signed by four states. The agreement, obtained through public record requests from CNBC and other sources, shows that Apple maintains a high degree of control over the government agencies responsible for issuing identification cards, with “sole discretion” for key aspects of the program.
So perhaps this has something to do with the delay, beyond the normal issue of trying to work with government that moves at the speed of frozen molasses.
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