BMW has introduced an upgraded model of its cellular automobile key expertise dubbed Digital Key Plus. It guarantees to permit iPhone house owners to unlock choose BMW vehicles with out having to take out their telephones. The characteristic depends on extremely wideband (UWB) which has been included in Apple’s flagship iPhones since the iPhone 11 because of the U1 chip. Digital Key Plus will debut on the all-electric BMW iX which launches later this yr in Europe and subsequent yr in the US.
The large good thing about Digital Key Plus, based on 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 you must maintain an iPhone (or Apple Watch) close to the automobile’s tag to unlock it. BMW additionally emphasizes the safety of its new UWB strategy, noting that it’s proof against relay assaults that may attempt to jam or intercept its sign and provides “the greatest possible security.”
At current, solely a restricted variety of iPhones embody the U1 chip that provides UWB help. It debuted in the iPhone 11 and was later included in the iPhone 12, however was lacking from the price range iPhone SE 2020 that launched early final yr. The U1 chip was additionally included on the Apple Watch Series 6, launched final yr.
Apple constructed help for digital automobile keys into iOS with model 13.6 final yr, following its announcement at WWDC 2020. MacRumors notes that BMW is at present the solely automobile producer to make use of the expertise, although Business Korea reviews 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 automobile keys in June final yr, Apple mentioned it was engaged on an industry-wide normal that might use its U1 chip. In at the moment’s announcement, BMW says it’s working with Apple and the Car Connectivity Consortium to construct UWB help into model 3.0 of the Digital Key specification.