This is interesting. Apple has been granted a patent that could mean the end of the car key fob as we know it. The Cupertino-based tech giant’s patent means that it could potentially build technology that will allow you to open your car’s doors and boot and even control a few functions within the car using Apple’s CarPlay system.
While there are plenty of car manufacturers that either already have, or are working on, apps that allow you to do exactly that, the difference is Apple’s system would use proximity sensors (most likely its Bluetooth-enable iBeacon sensors). That in turn would mean that once you’ve got the settings right, you won’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket for everything to function.
According to the patent, this wouldn’t be too much of a drain on your device’s battery (a perennial worry) because it would only be activated within a certain distance of the car.
As Jalopnik points out, the data your phone collects on you as well as the world around it could, when connected to your car, mean big things.
Even getting to your car and finding the engine running and the heat turned up after a stressful mid-winter’s day could make a significant difference. Of course, at this stage it’s still only a patent, meaning it may well just be a way for Apple to make some extra money if any of the car manufacturers decide to build something similar.
There’s another snag too: right now the only car with CarPlay is the Ferrari FF and unless that changes pretty soon, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to show off this nifty new iPhone trick to your friends.