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Apple's "iKey" Wants To Unlock All Doors

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the get-yours-at-ikea dept.

Patents 383

Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Apple is developing technology, already being nicknamed the 'iKey,' which will allow users to gain access to their office and unlock their car or front door with a single electronic device like an iPhone. Users would simply have to enter a PIN and wave the device over an electronic pad fitted beside a door to open it. 'The device can communicate with an external device to open a lock. By way of example, the electronic device may be a model of an iPhone,' says the newly released patent application. 'The external device may be any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock that may be used to access a door, car, house, or other physical area.' The technology behind the invention is known as Near Field Communication; it allows electronic devices to transmit information when in proximity. 'If true, it's a very big deal. As well as opening doors and unlocking your car, it could also turn your iPhone into an electronic wallet and ID card,' says Leander Kahney, a consumer technology expert. 'The trouble is that the technology hasn't gone completely mainstream. If Apple were to adopt the technology, they would likely set the standard, and that would drive widespread adoption as everyone scrambles to make their systems iPhone-friendly.'"

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383 comments

Translation (4, Insightful)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399690)

The fourth generation of the iPhone is getting NFC/RFID capabilities, much like some other phones already have.

This isn't new. The only new thing they could possibly bring to the NFC table would be (gasp) actual security, given that RFID/NFC devices are notorious for being horribly insecure most of the time.

Apple and patents... (3, Interesting)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399816)

What's new here is that Apple is possibly thinking of making this a standard while owning critical patents on it, then after this is widespread (if it ever happens) crackdown on competition using its patents.

Apple is becoming more evil lately, see the recent attempt to shut down competition on smartphones from HTC using completely trivial software patents [mozillazine.org] (the original article is from LWN [lwn.net], I highly suggest getting a subscription there).

Sounds familiar? Remember GIF? MP3? h.264? Yeah, I know, this last reference will get me modded as troll.

Re:Apple and patents... (2, Interesting)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400038)

NFC has been patented for the purposes mentioned in apples patent for sure. Where is apple in this chart? [blogspot.com] Of course the innovation here is that it is an iPhone that uses NFC and not some other manufacturers phone.

Re:Apple and patents... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400070)

What should be news is that other companies have tried to push NFC for almost a decade, but consumers never seemed to care enough to get critical mass. Now Apple swoops in, tells the media "it's a phone... and an iKey!" and soon enough we'll have hundreds of solutions compatible only with the iPhone and Apple will get credit for the whole technology.

Other phone companies need to grow a spine and learn some marketing, now.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399826)

and even if it was new, would it really be worthy of a patent?

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399972)

Ooh, how smart, they've invented the garage door opener! Or the Remote car door lock. Or the Remote RF house key. Or the office doors that open with a credit card like card. Those guys are constantly inventing!!! Next thing you know, they'll invent the X11 system to control electric devices in the home...or they will invent the device that allows people to communicate over long or short distances without being able to see each other, and call it the telephone.

Re:Translation (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400124)

a lot of the iphone capabilities aren't new: the new thing they're bringing is huge market penetration to the degree that it's worth other manufacturer's designing products to work with it. Apple's sheer volume could make it commercially viable to make, say, an add-on for car alarms that unlocks based on proximity with the device - which is technically possible now but hasnt' really taken off.

Re:Translation (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400164)

I've notice the most "Ground Breaking" "NEW" technologies in recent years aren't actually new, just someone to took some tech that was out there and actually applied it in a useful way. see: Google, Apple, Nintendo, et al.

Honestly there's nothing wrong with that, technology is useless unless it's applied, and I'm sure there are still a lot of applications for existing tech that hasn't been explored yet.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400256)

The fourth generation of the iPhone is getting NFC/RFID capabilities, much like some other phones already have.

This isn't new.

ZOMFG d00d, butt its APPEL, and thay arrr teh 3V1LL!!!!!!!!!ZOMG!!!ONEZ!!!!!teh 4n71kr1s7 6666!666!666!

--
ROFLMAO @ teh M0r0nz h4770rzz

Patent (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399696)

Sounds very much like iButton stiff using RFID.

Nothing new about Apple patenting existing apps I guess. Though as mentioned, it's not mainstream, having an iphone adapter in the car to play music, and using that same phone to open the door makes sense.

Not an invitation to trouble at all (5, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399720)

A universal key could never lead to bad things.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (2, Interesting)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399864)

Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400004)

It could be more secure, or less.

In practice the only way to gain access to the locations secured by physical keys is to steal them, doing it without the persons knowledge means stealing them, copying them and returning them without the persons knowledge.

It may be possible to crack the encryption (if there is any, many such secure systems claim to have encryption but do not) on this RFID technology at range with an antenna that can not be seen.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (2, Insightful)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400030)

It could be more secure, or less.

In practice the only way to gain access to the locations secured by physical keys is to steal them, doing it without the persons knowledge means stealing them, copying them and returning them without the persons knowledge.

It may be possible to crack the encryption (if there is any, many such secure systems claim to have encryption but do not) on this RFID technology at range with an antenna that can not be seen.

You are assuming you need the keys in the first place... [slashdot.org]

A time-variant RFID key would be significantly more secure. I just hope you don't drop your phone in your toilet.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (5, Insightful)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400012)

Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.

You probably don't have your address, name or a phone number attached on the same keychain.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (2, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400170)

Of coarse I already keep all my keys on a single keychain, just like most people. This probably wouldn't be any less secure.

Except of course, I only have to duplicate one key to get access to all of your stuff, instead of having to duplicate each of your keys.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400300)

I don't think very many burglaries involve duplicating keys.

It's pretty irrelevant for me anyway. I only have 3 keys:
My work - of coarse they won't change that to work with an iPhone.
My apartment - I doubt my landlords would let me change the locks.
My car - It would probably be pretty expensive to add this system to it.

Depends... (4, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399886)

I for one don't consider it "bad" if stupid people get punished for using "0000" as their PIN.

Hey... we are long overdue for some regular punishment of stupidity.
There are no longer wild bears roaming the streets at night, eating stupid people. Haven't been any for centuries.
Wee need something to eliminate those genes from the pool.

Re:Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399968)

Will you care when the attacker gains access to the system via the "0000" PIN, then escalates or exploits the system to gain root?

How smug would you feel then, knowing that "0000" PIN still compromised your information despite not being "the stupid person."

Always bad (4, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400020)

Considering the relative ease with which RFID has been hacked, and how long it took for Bluetooth to become only reasonably secure, and how far off good wireless security is . . .

And that's the discussion you go through before you get to "stupid people."

And let's not even have the "If software can't keep gas pedals from sticking, what will it do for door locks."

I'm an opponent of the excessive and unnecessary desire to expand technology into areas where an existing technology already does a better job.

But, but, but... (2, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400156)

I'm an opponent of the excessive and unnecessary desire to expand technology into areas where an existing technology already does a better job.

EVERYTHING is better with the "latest thing" tacked on! How do you not understand!?

Have you ever tasted ice-cream witn an iPhone or some other smart-phone? Way better than eating it with a spoon.
Even plain vanilla tastes like... so much better.

Re:Depends... (2, Funny)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400234)

1) RFID is insecure
2) Universal keys are insecure
3) broadcast keys are insecure
4) You have not been to Alaska, Russia, Finland, etc .. hungry wild bears do roam the streets....

Re:Depends... (1)

mrrudge (1120279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400242)

Can we save some of the beautiful/physically gifted/creative/emotionally attuned/kind/brave - but not massively intelligent people too ? It's just that any kind of genetic cleansing would leave the gene pool diminished and weaker, and a human race consisting of just high IQ people would disappear up it's own backside quicker than you can say 'intelectual snob'.

Re:Not an invitation to trouble at all (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400270)

Steve Jobs is welcome to a key to my apartment. He already has the key to my heart.

Is it wise? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399722)

Is it wise to have a consumer Internet-enabled(which I presume it would be) device that can unlock physical security? "Keylogger" has a whole new meaning. :p

Re:Is it wise? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399928)

Is it wise to own something which denies access to your house/car/bank if it's dropped or runs out of battery?

This plan seems more worthy of Baldrick than a supposedly smart company.

Re:Is it wise? (4, Interesting)

rpresser (610529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400272)

Or a house that locks you out when the power fails? Or worse, one that "fails safe" and DOESN'T lock strangers out when the power fails?

Doesn't sound convincing yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399726)

Sounds cumbersome. It's arguably more secure to require both an object and a pin but people are used to just having an object. Plus it seems like it's going to be more expensive to buy an extra iphone for a friend who's staying, compared to getting extra keys cut. Also, less space than a nomad.

Presumptions, presumptions (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399736)

.The trouble is that the technology hasn't gone completely mainstream. If Apple were to adopt the technology, they would likely set the standard, and that would drive widespread adoption as everyone scrambles to make their systems iPhone-friendly.

Isn't this already very common in Japan?

And what employer would want to tie an identification/access system to a highly attractive theft target?

Re:Presumptions, presumptions (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399950)

Two things:

1) Car keys/House keys are a highly attractive theft target.

2) With a digital system, you can quickly/easily change access to/from key devices. If you lose a key, you can quickly disable it, you certainly cannot do that with a conventional key.

Re:Presumptions, presumptions (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399960)

Try not to mention Asian telco networks, speed or their state of tech.
Let the locals enjoy their futuristic beads and mirrors.
A highly attractive theft target would be a blogger working at google with an iphone?
With their iphone near your new icutting equipped jailbroken iphone you can enter their home.
Plant a physical keystroke logger, no need for an IE link click.
Hack different for the government or corporation paying your bills with the new icutter - clones any ikeys in range and all gps data too, just follow the map back home during working hours :)

Security? (4, Insightful)

kingofnexus (1721494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399738)

What happens when someone breaks the security on the device/ technology? A thief would be able to get into your house and rob everything, make an escape in your car, and then empty your bank account all for cracking just 4 numbers. I think I'll stick to the old manual lock and key thank you.

Re:Security? (5, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399782)

You have far too much faith in old-fashioned keys. Locks are there to keep honest people honest.

The real problem is that this is tied to a device which is designed to be replaced every other year. It's far from durable enough to be used as a house key, or even a car key. I'm carrying a wireless car key in my pocket, but I change the batteries on it maybe once a year, and the batteries cost $10. Not only can you not carry a spare battery for an iPhone, but you have to recharge it daily. Completely impractical for a key.

Re:Security? (5, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399870)

You have far too much faith in old-fashioned keys. Locks are there to keep honest people honest.

If someone is trying to open my front door with a crowbar, someone else might get suspicious. If they're trying to open it with my iPhone, which would be the normal way I'd open my door, no one would even notice.

Locks may just keep honest people honest, but switching to something that can be so much more easily faked just lowers the bar of "honesty."

Re:Security? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400056)

Physical keys are fundamentally broken from a security standpoint. Not only are most trivially bypassed (lockpicks) but they are also trivially duplicated. A high-resolution shot of you taking your keys out of your pocket, snapped from a few hundred meters away, easily allows an attacker to clone your key.

Re:Security? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400260)

If someone tried to break into my house then (I hope) my neighbours would notice, most burglars are not sophisticated.... .. anyone could easily clone a key and just walk in, but strangely most burglaries are still forced entry....because it is simpler

make it too easy and the burglars will use it

Re:Security? (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400276)

You've watched too much CSI, bud.

High res images at a couple of hundred metres (high enough to read the peaks on your house key) between the time it takes you to take your keys from your pocket and put the key in the lock is well into the realm of serious photographic equipment and prowess (insuring your camera and lens for more than your car).

As for lock picking, have you ever seen someone do it? A seriously good lockpick will spend a good 15 minutes on his knees fiddling around with the tumblers (on a pin tumbler lock, forget lever locks) and is only really feasible if you have expensive locks. Otherwise the barrel will be drilled out as it is more efficient.

An opportunist thief will always go for the weakest point of failure; Smash the door, break a window etc. They don't care about keeping it neat, just about getting in and out as fast as possible.

Re:Security? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399902)

I have an idea! Whenever you get locked outside because you forgot to charge your iKey's batteries, you can harvest energy from the spinning motion of Occam inside his grave.

Re:Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399940)

You have far too much faith in old-fashioned keys.

Admittedly, most locks today have major design flaws, but if someone wanted to break into your house, car, and safe, right now they would have to break 3 different locks. If they can do the same by obtaining your universal key, each additional break takes no added effort. Criminals are like the rest of society, most will go for the easier target.

Re:Security? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399986)

I'm carrying a wireless car key in my pocket, but I change the batteries on it maybe once a year, and the batteries cost $10. Not only can you not carry a spare battery for an iPhone, but you have to recharge it daily. Completely impractical for a key.

At the risk of stating the very very very obvious, there's no reason why there can't be a separate battery for the key function. They could use one of those tiny ones you get in wireless car keys...

Re:Security? (1)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399818)

I dunno... hmm...

If communication is encrypted, there is an encrypted device hash that limits this functionality to specific devices *AND* a four digit pin, I might be interested. At least, I will be if I can still have a key in case of dead battery. That would be a shitty support call... "Hi, Applecare? Let me in my fucking house!"

Re:Security? (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399876)

What happens when someone breaks the security on your keyring? A thief who stole your keys would be able to get into your house and rob everything, and make an escape in your car.

If they steal your wallet while they're about it, they can empty your bank account too.

While it's good to think about security, you've gotta actually compare the hypothetical worst case scenario of the new technology with a similar worst case scenario with the old technology (providing they require similar amounts effort/skill).

It's worth remembering that most consumer grade locks can be opened by a moderately skilled locksmith in seconds while leaving no trace - and opened in a similar amount of time by anyone provided they don't mind doing some damage.

And did you know that even a child with a small rock can gain access to your house using windows?!? ... Well, a window. Glass doesn't stand up well to brute force attacks.

re: I think you just answered your own question (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400068)

What happens when someone breaks the security on your keyring? They gain access to whatever you've protected by it, obviously. How is this different than a person who gains access to your physical keyring? They gain access to whatever you've got keys for.

In the current "security model", the reality is, most of us protect our property with insurance, really. If someone steals it, a claim is filed and you're compensated for the loss. (You may also qualify for a tax write-off for the loss on the next year's taxes.)

Lock and key technology is really a VERY weak form of protection. Look up the art of "lock bumping" on YouTube sometime. You can find numerous videos illustrating a technique that defeats most locks in seconds, and doesn't even require any traditional "lock picking skills".

I think it's fair to say that an electronic keyring built into, say, one's iPhone, is no less secure than the traditional method. At least with the iPhone, you can set up a PIN for access to the phone itself. So someone stealing or randomly finding your lost phone would have to break that before they could even get to a control panel allowing them to enter PIN codes to use with your electronic locks. When they find my physical keyring, the biggest issue they have is trying all the keys to see which one fits a given lock of mine .... and many can be ruled out just by seeing their physical dimensions make them unsuitable.

Re: I think you just answered your own question (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400192)

Of course if all they have is your key ring, they have to figure out where the things the keys go to are. If they steal your Iphone, much of that information is in there.

Re:Security? (1)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400240)

I think I'll stick to the old manual lock and key thank you.

Which, as we all know, has remained undefeated for hundreds of centuries! All locks are beatable. Even bank vaults are rated in "hours it takes a determined person to get in." The only requirement on Apple, Ford or whomever implements this is that it is *slightly* harder to beat than say, breaking a window.

Two words (4, Insightful)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399740)

Flat battery

Re:Two words (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399854)

Yeah, which means you're essentially forced to carry a set of regular keys for your car, house, etc. anyway.

Re:Two words (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400122)

Yeah, which means you're essentially forced to carry a set of regular keys for your car, house, etc. anyway.

No, you bury your spare house key in the flower bed at a precise coordinate in a vacuum packed plastic bag. When I was a kid my parents had a combination lock on a lock box bolted to the concrete in the garage, with about 100 different keys inside only one of which worked, essentially a poor mans safe.

As for the car key, you can buy flat credit card sized keys from most locksmiths that fit in your wallet for a very small cost. In 12 years I've used mine 3 times, once by locking the keys in the car, once because I forgot my keys, and once because the battery was dead and I needed to get inside to open the hood to charge the battery. If I lock my keys AND my wallet in the car, then I'm screwed.

Re:Two words (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399934)

Flat battery

Well .. you just carry a spare battery to swap out when you need it ... oh .. never mind.

Re:Two words (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400062)

That was my first thought. My second was that I don't see how fishing my iPod/iPhone/other device out of my pocket and entering a pass code is any easier than fishing my keys out and unlocking the door normally.

Cooler, yes, and one less thing to carry around, but easier and more reliable?

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400268)

NFC devices can be powered from the field, hence they can magically work to some extend (e.g. no PIN request) with a flat battery.

Remember when phones were just phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399756)

Imagine getting locked out of your car because you spent too much time waiting for AT&T to download the latest Rickroll mashup on Youtube on your iPhone as you sit in Starbucks, only to have insufficient battery power to activate the slick wireless doorlocks. Sure, you could use those quaint "key" devices, but that is far from trendy!

typical Apple (3, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399758)

An entire industry gears up to create technologies for short range wireless communications in order to replace keys. Several companies already have solutions in the market, but they haven't caught on yet because the technology isn't quite ready yet and not quite cheap enough.

If things continue along Apple's usual path then: (1) Apple starts patenting the obvious applications of those technologies, something other people weren't even considering because that's what those technologies were designed for, (2) Apple starts adding immature implementations of the feature to their products at a premium price that only Apple customers would be willing to pay and gets accolades for how "innovative" they are, and (3) a few years later when other people are starting to offer mass market products at mass market prices, Apple starts suing them for patent violations.

Re:typical Apple (2, Interesting)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399882)

(3) a few years later when other people are starting to offer mass market products at mass market prices, Apple starts suing them for patent violations.

Citation needed.

And I don't mean the recent Nokia patent suit. Many of the iPhone patents were not obvious technologies because a boatload of them were created for this purpose. Sure, they're obvious *now* since everyone and their brother is making a multitouch phone with an accelerometer, light sensor, compass, proximity sensor, and tilt sensor, but back in 2005 these things were rare or non-existent.

So, to my original point... citation needed.

Re:typical Apple (2, Insightful)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399990)

Just because a product isn't on the market doesn't mean that it hasn't been invented. Apple did a good job on the phone and its marketing, but to say that they invented all that is a long stretch.

Re:typical Apple (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400296)

Back in 2005 all of these had been long invented, and had long been used in mobile devices...just not a phone

It's like most obvious patents .... You can't patent a compass ... but a compass in a phone, that's an invention?

Re:typical Apple (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400218)

Several companies already have solutions in the market, but they haven't caught on yet because the technology isn't quite ready yet and not quite cheap enough.

"isn't quite ready" ? "not cheap enough" ? You need to research that a little bit more. For at least a decade I've never worked at a place without those electric door "key card" locks. Every my kids daycare used them. Both my jobs, my wifes job, daycare, all use the same type of card.

The cards are about $4 and the little pencil-eraser keychain fobs cost a whopping $8. Now this is from a reseller like smarthome.com. Wholesale in bulk they are probably about half that. Most businesses charge like $50 for a lost card, not because it costs $50 but to scare and intimidate the employees (some bosses love that) and also to make up for the labor cost of issuing another card. They are cheap enough to put in a house, and I've been seriously considering it.

I integrated mine with my ipod by purchasing a silicone stretchy case and placing the credit card sized doorcard behind the ipod in the stretchy. It was actually quite inconvenient and I was worried I'd drop the ipod so I stopped doing that. It was more convenient to have them separate.

I think they are hurrying up, because the provider has long sold a little pencil eraser shaped fob, and I know people whom have made bracelets out of them. A wee bit smaller and they could be mounted in a ring. That would be quite convenient, since my had is usually near the door when I'm opening the door.

i-disallow (2, Funny)

ipquickly (1562169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399798)

And of course, (just like the app-store) if you are wearing just a bikini, or have a 'hot babe' on your arm, the doors just won't open.

ICKY (2, Funny)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399808)

1. repulsive or distasteful.
2. excessively sweet or sentimental.
3. unsophisticated or old-fashioned.
4. sticky; viscid.

Origin:
1930–35, Americanism

(According to dictionary.com)

Re:ICKY (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399918)

No, no, no, this is "Ikey," not "Icky." It means: "of, or relating to, Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower." And he was awesome.

Duplicate Functionality (4, Informative)

bjackson1 (953136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399830)

I can currently do this with my Zipcar app http://www.zipcar.com/iphone/ [zipcar.com] . It allows you to unlock, lock and honk your cars horn. It does this using your EDGE/3G connection, so not near-field/RFID however, same kind of thing is currently being done.

Looking forward to it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399832)

I certainly wouldn't put my keys on an iPhone, a device that is controlled by Apple, not the owner, but conceptually a physical lock based on public key cryptography is very attractive. There are some unfortunate drawbacks, of course: Every lock needs power. Think about the locks you frequently use: How many don't have easy access to a reliable power supply? And then, do you fail open (cut the power and you're in) or fail close (locked in/out in an emergency which takes out the electricity)? This system also needs to be designed quite carefully to avoid tracking, especially if it is meant to work as an electronic wallet and ID card as well. If you can't separate the functions, then everywhere you pay, you leave a full set of identifying data. At the very least, use random identifiers in the discovery phase and encrypt all communication. Give the key a way to identify which locks to talk to and which locks to ignore.

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399840)

You know, with Apple products experiencing something of a resurgence in the past 5-10 years and their popularity slowly increasing, they will eventually cross that invisible line where hackers decide that it becomes worth their time to attack Apple products the way they attack Windows. The fact that people are sold Apple products under the guise of security and not having to worry about compromised hardware/software means they won't see it coming and won't know how to deal with it, either.

Be careful with becoming too big, Apple Nation.

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400010)

Be careful with becoming too big, Apple Nation.

Clearly, the correct solution is to stay small and not rock Microsoft's boat anymore. [/sarcasm]

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400090)

All I'm saying is that a LOT of Apple customers are your average consumer without a lot of computer knowledge who have bought Apple products under the impression that they are secure and safe. Once Apple's marketshare gets big enough to make them a worthwhile target of hackers and virus writers, it's not going to be pretty.

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400168)

Well, a lot of Microsoft customers are your average consumer without a lot of computer knowledge who have bought Microsoft products because they don't even know the alternatives exist. They already are targets of hackers and virus writers. It won't be any worse.

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400232)

Yes, but Microsoft doesn't advertise their products as being secure and safe from viruses...Apple specifically states in their advertising that Macs don't suffer from those issues (which, at this point, is mostly true).

I'm telling you...once Apple's market share is big enough to entice virus and malware writers to pay attention to them, things are going to get bad really fast.

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400100)

Pre OS X, Apple had lots of worms, virus like apps, malware, trojans and loggers ect.
What can really be noted for OS X security after many years?
Fake flash installers, physical access loggers and ???
Where are the FAQ pages to pop any Mac hitting a web site or just connecting to the net?
As for Apple DRM, that will be wide open :)

Re:Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400166)

Luckily it will be very straightforward to protect yourself from hackers: an old fashioned lock will do.

I would never connect my front door or car to anything that is on any network. I am the one with the keys now - that's a very nice feeling.

The motivation for hackers now is to gain control of a computer to make a few euro/dollars. If they can steal a car, or just open a front door and walk in - I dunno - I can just imagine that they are much more motivated to hack even small niche technologies.

will the system protocol be called the iGateKeeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399844)

Somehow, it seems so appropriate...

Security (4, Informative)

dachshund (300733) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399862)

This is a bad idea. Mainly because the iPhone doesn't have a very sophisticated security architecture, so any cryptographic keys and wallet information are fundamentally vulnerable to theft. This is best demonstrated by the recent attack where a handful of SMS messages was sufficient to give an attacker root on the device. If you're going to put something like this into widespread deployment you at very least want to include some sort of hardware security module to validate the software and store cryptographic secrets.

Right now I wouldn't want to use the iPhone (or any Android phone, for that matter) to store any kind of critical secrets.

Re:Security (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400058)

It's also generally a bad idea to create a 'standard' on a proprietary, licenced technology as other companies will create competing 'standards'. If they offer the patents, connectors, etc, up for public domain, I'll start to be interested. Without an open standard, you'll have to have a pocket full of different electronic devices rather that a pocket full of keys.

iMeh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399898)

I cracked it yesterday.

I'd like to know who is going to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399910)

"scramble to make their systems iPhone-friendly". Everyone? No.

Any company with any sense of self worth is likely going to tell its employees not to bring they're overpriced phone to work, anyway.

Deus Ex (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399930)

Fantastic... now I can finally have a Multitool [wikipedia.org]...

Re:Deus Ex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400184)

Exactly what I was thinking... except no way I'd be getting it. I'd trust UNATCO over Apple any day.

Eggs and Baskets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31399936)

Every company is trying to get you to put all your eggs in their basket.
When will they ever learn that we will NEVER keep all our eggs in one basket.
(fool's excepted)
'nuff said.

Central locking (2, Interesting)

benjymous (69893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399954)

I often wonder why central locking hasn't caught on for houses yet. Especially if you could set it to beep at you when you've leaving but you've left a door/window open elsewhere.

NO (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399964)

Oh my-fucking-god, NO.

If this actually takes off, goodbye to physical security, because now compromising a single device opens all the doors, literally. What a shockingly bad idea.

I don't like it. (4, Funny)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400024)

I'd be afraid someone would try to jailbreak my front door and end up bricking my house.

What could possibly go wrong? (3, Insightful)

Anonimouse (934959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400036)

1. You can tuck a key under the doormat if you lose the ones in your pocket. Not so electronic gadget. 2. As somebody else mentioned - flat battery? lose access to all your property. Flat battery in the lock or power cut in the house? lose access. 3. Replacing locks just got a whole lot more expensive and no doubt all lock makers would have to have some kind of license agreement with Apple. In short, LAME. This seems to be technology for technology's sake. I can see pretty much nothing but downsides to this.

PIN #??? (2, Informative)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400048)

I for one would think the "great steve" would actually innovate and implement iris scan into the device ;)
Isn't apple supposed to be the leader of innovation?..

Never mind that their department breaks down to something like 60% marketing, 30% design and 10% engineers (yes, I'm being generous)

Hurray for progress (1)

Aradiel (1631073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400064)

I greatly look forward to every car company, bank and lock manufacturer investing huge amounts of money into this.

I also greatly look forward to being mugged for my phone, and realising that not only do I need a new phone and phone number, but to replace the locks to my house, car and office, as well as re-registering with the bank.

I also await with great enthusiasm the moment that Apple sues every manufacturer of competing products, essentially taking over the entire planet's security.

Besides that, will I still be allowed to watch porn on my keys?

Makes sense (1)

RazZziel (1144159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400134)

Because a thief is much more likely to steal your house keys than your iPhone, you are more likely to leave your car keys forgotten somewhere as you're always handling them around, and your keys are much more likely to broke or fall in the water and leave you locked out. How about making the iPhone your pacemaker, so your heart can beat to the rhythm of your music? BRB patenting.

Hmmm what would you do? (3, Informative)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400178)

This concept including the name iKey and iLock and a description of this product were described a year and a half before Apple applied for the patent.

http://www.jenom.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&cid=17 [jenom.com]

"iKey and iLock, for lack of a more creative product name
Give me a tiny device the size of a flash drive that I can encode with some unique ID like a segment of my DNA. When I get within 2 feet of my office, my car, my house, or whatever locked item it is, it reads the code from the device in my pocket and unlocks the electronic lock. No more carrying 200 keys around like some medieval jailer. 2007 is half over and we're still securing our possessions with medieval technology.

"Apple credits Michael Rosenblatt, Gloria Lin, Sean Mayo and Taido Nakajima as the inventors of patent application 20100042954, originally filed in Q3 2008."

Apple lies.

Obligatory Bash.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400186)

http://www.bash.org/?908184

so basically (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400188)

this is an RFID chip then. With the added inconvenience of having to also enter a PIN number anyway.

Well the good news is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400212)

your keys won't scratch your iphone anymore. :/

I call "prior art" (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400264)

"The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker. " From The Age of the Pussyfoot [wikipedia.org], published in 1966 by Frederic Pohl. (I read this as a scholastic bookclub selection if fifth grade, It's been obvious for a few years now that the iPhone is well on it's way to becoming a "joymaker", this patent brings it even closer.
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