BMW has introduced an upgraded model of its cell automotive key know-how dubbed Digital Key Plus. It guarantees to permit iPhone house owners to unlock choose BMW automobiles with out having to take out their telephones. The characteristic depends on extremely wideband (UWB) which has been included in Apple’s flagship iPhones for the reason that iPhone 11 due to the U1 chip. Digital Key Plus will debut on the all-electric BMW iX which launches later this yr in Europe and subsequent yr within the US.
The massive advantage of Digital Key Plus, in response to BMW, is that it makes use of UWB so it really works with an iPhone that’s nonetheless in your pocket or bag. In distinction, the present Digital Key system utilized by Apple and BMW is NFC primarily based, so it’s a must to maintain an iPhone (or Apple Watch) close to the automotive’s tag to unlock it. BMW additionally emphasizes the safety of its new UWB method, noting that it’s proof against relay assaults which may try to jam or intercept its sign and presents “the best attainable safety.”
At current, solely a restricted variety of iPhones embody the U1 chip that gives UWB help. It debuted in the iPhone 11 and was later included within the iPhone 12, however was missing from the budget iPhone SE 2020 that launched early final yr. The U1 chip was also included on the Apple Watch Collection 6, launched final yr.
Apple constructed help for digital automotive keys into iOS with version 13.6 last year, following its announcement at WWDC 2020. MacRumors notes that BMW is presently the one automotive producer to make use of the know-how, although Business Korea reports that Hyundai has plans to undertake the characteristic later this yr.
There’s a push to make UWB a normal for digital keys. When it introduced help for digital automotive keys in June final yr, Apple mentioned it was working on an industry-wide standard that might use its U1 chip. In right this moment’s announcement, BMW says it’s working with Apple and the Automobile Connectivity Consortium to construct UWB help into model 3.0 of the Digital Key specification.