Will the iPhone and Apple Watch ever replace the car key? Today we answer this question. What seemed to be pretty much impossible in the past, is soon to become the new normal. This tagline is applicable to a number of devices depicted in the popular culture of the previous decades. Some of the guesses were wild enough to not become the reality in the foreseeable future, while the others were scarily accurate, to the point where they are already being implemented in our everyday life.
It is for a fact that you have unlimited access to the internet and therefore are connected with the rest of the world, something people could only dream of just about twenty years ago. Chances are, you are also currently reading this article from an extremely potent pocket computer that is your smartphone.
Yet again, something that teenagers of the decades before had no idea about and could hardly even imagine that it would ever become a thing. There are even geek dating sites available on the site to bring nerds together, something all the nerds of the previous decades would die for!
But one of the things that were particularly interesting for a number of movies set in the future is cars. Indeed, a number of sci-fi movies from the early 2000’s explored the topic of vehicles and how they were going to change throughout time in order to make travel safer, faster, and more comfortable. While we are yet to see flying cars or vehicles that can teleport you to a different location in a matter of seconds, some of the ‘futuristic’ vehicle accessories are already well underway to make our life significantly easier.
The most peculiar accessorize for a vehicle, and perhaps, the most irreplaceable one is the car keys. You need it in order to not only lock your car and keep it safe from any intruders trying to get into your vehicle but also to start the engine! All car drivers know that no matter where they go, they need to have their car key with them just in case. This, however, can often be inconvenient: some keys are rather chunky and simply do not fit into the pockets of the owner, while others are tiny enough to be left unnoticed and therefore have a tendency of getting lost easily. One way or another, car owners have to always keep the whereabouts of their car keys in the back of their minds so that they would not have to worry about it.
It seems, however, that car keys are no more! According to the latest leaked screenshots of the new iOS, Apple is working on releasing a feature that would allow its users to integrate their vehicles with their mobile devices. CarKey is going to allow people to use the iPhone and Apple Watch in order to control their vehicle system! Sounds pretty convenient, especially considering the fact that most people are pretty much ‘superglued’ to their phones and always bring those with them. Besides, this is one less item to carry around. But is CarKey as wonderful as it looks?
Is It Possible to Replace Car Keys With a Mobile Phone?
One of the first questions that need to be settled down when it comes to discussing whether CarKey will become the reason why people would abandon their physical car keys and turn to their iPhones and Apple Watches instead or not is finding out if it is even possible, to begin with. One of the problems with the alleged new iOS screenshots is that there is no information in regards to whether they are real or not. It is possible that the source that leaked then manipulated the images in some way due to the awkwardness of some of the UI features. However, granted that it is still a blueprint and not the final version, it is possible that Apple is testing out the functionality and is yet to begin their work on the design of the feature. So, is a digital key that can be managed from your smartphone a feasible idea?
The truth is, the idea itself is not new. There are already cars that support the digital key feature available on the market. For instance, Tesla allows you to control your car via the Tesla app. It gives all the Tesla drivers an opportunity to lock and unlock their vehicles and start the engine using only the smartphone. Another example of a car brand that has implemented a similar feature is Audi. It allows Audi owners to lock and unlock the car with an Audi app!
So, indeed, it is very much possible to create a technology like that. The only reason for it not being popular already is that there currently is not a standardized app that would be compatible with all cars and would be easy and straightforward to work. So, if CarKey does come out with the new iOS, it will change the game entirely!
Granted that Apple is a member of the Car Connectivity Consortium, it is speculated that the feature will also be available on certain Android devices, too!
How Will The CarKey Work?
Not much is currently known about the principles of the work of CarKey. Most of the information that is available at this time is based on speculations. However, what is known is pretty impressive:
1. The key will be stored in Apple Wallet.
2. No network connection will be required to unlock your vehicle. The feature uses near field communication (NFC), so if your car supports CarKey and has an NFC reader, you can do it by simply holding your Apple device next to the car.
3. Pairing can be done through the NFC reader in your car.
4. Express Mode will be available, which will allow you to control your car automatically without requiring a Face ID or your passcode. This will also be useful if your phone’s battery is depleted.
5. Three CarKey access types: trunk access, access only, access & drive.
6. You will be able to share your keys with other Apple users.
Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Car Key with Apple Watch and iPhone
The pros of CarKey are obvious: it will make the process of unlocking and starting your car much more seamless and quicker. Moreover, you will cut down on the number of things you have to carry around: all you need to have is already on your phone.
However, the CarKey feature is already receiving a lot of criticism on the internet as people suggest that storing your car keys on your phone will make it easier for thieves to steal your vehicle. Especially if you have the Express Mode one. Such speculations are also spurred by the fact that you can share the keys with other people, which can cause a lot of problems.
When Is It Likely to Happen?
CarKey seems to be a part of iOS 13.4, the beta version of which has already been released back in February 2020. The final version of this update should be available in the mid-2020. However, granted the circumstances, it is possible that CarKey will not make it to iOS 13.4 and will be released as a part of iOS 14. The latter is scheduled for fall 2020, so the experts are suggesting we should be expecting the feature at some point before the end of this year.
But will the iPhone and Apple Watch really replace the car key? This is a much more difficult question. At the moment, a lot of vehicles still do not have the necessary hardware to be compatible with the feature, and therefore will not get a chance to be linked to the owners’ smartphones. At the same time, quite a lot of people are concerned with the security of this feature, which will find a reflection in the extent of the widespread use of CarKey.
However, being a truly innovative and useful feature, it can be said that Apple CarKey will slowly become a part of our lives and eventually, perhaps, sometime in the future, indeed, replace the car key.
Watch this space for updates in the Technology category on Running Wolf’s Rant.