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 automobiles with out having to take out their telephones. The function depends on extremely wideband (UWB) which has been included in Apple’s flagship iPhones for the reason that 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 within the US.
The large good thing about Digital Key Plus, in keeping with 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 important to maintain an iPhone (or Apple Watch) close to the automobile’s tag to unlock it. BMW additionally emphasizes the safety of its new UWB method, noting that it’s proof against relay assaults that may try to jam or intercept its sign and gives “the best potential safety.”
At current, solely a restricted variety of iPhones embody the U1 chip that gives UWB assist. It debuted within the iPhone 11 and was later included within the iPhone 12, however was lacking from the funds iPhone SE 2020 that launched early final yr. The U1 chip was additionally included on the Apple Watch Sequence 6, launched final yr.
Apple constructed assist for digital automobile keys into iOS with version 13.6 last year, following its announcement at WWDC 2020. MacRumors notes that BMW is at the moment the one automobile producer to make use of the expertise, although Business Korea reports that Hyundai has plans to undertake the function later this yr.
There’s a push to make UWB a regular for digital keys. When it introduced assist for digital automobile keys in June final yr, Apple mentioned it was engaged on an industry-wide commonplace that may use its U1 chip. In as we speak’s announcement, BMW says it’s working with Apple and the Automotive Connectivity Consortium to construct UWB assist into model 3.zero of the Digital Key specification.