BMW has introduced an upgraded model of its cell automotive key expertise dubbed Digital Key Plus. It guarantees to permit iPhone homeowners 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 due to the U1 chip. Digital Key Plus will debut on the all-electric BMW iX which launches later this 12 months in Europe and subsequent 12 months in the US.
The large advantage of Digital Key Plus, in line 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 based mostly, so it’s important 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 strategy, noting that it’s proof against relay assaults that may try 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 missing from the budget iPhone SE 2020 that launched early final 12 months. The U1 chip was also included on the Apple Watch Series 6, launched final 12 months.
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 at present the solely automotive producer to make use of the expertise, although Business Korea reports that Hyundai has plans to undertake the characteristic later this 12 months.
There’s a push to make UWB a commonplace for digital keys. When it introduced help for digital automotive keys in June final 12 months, Apple stated it was working on an industry-wide standard that will use its U1 chip. In at present’s announcement, BMW says it’s working with Apple and the Car Connectivity Consortium to construct UWB help into model 3.zero of the Digital Key specification.