BMW has announced an upgrade to its digital key technology Digital Key Plus.
The Digital Key Plus promises to allow iPhone owners to unlock select BMW cars without having to take out their phone.
The feature is based on UWB, which has been included in Apple’s flagship iPhones since the iPhone 11 thanks to the U1 chip.
The Digital Key Plus makes its debut in the all-electric BMW iX, which is slated to launch later this year in Europe and next year in the US.
According to BMW, the big advantage of the Digital Key Plus is that it uses UWB Ultra Wideband, so it works with an iPhone while it’s in your pocket or bag.
The current digital key system used by Apple and BMW is based on NFC technology, so you have to place your iPhone or Apple Watch near the car sign to unlock it.
BMW also stresses the reliability of its new UWB approach, stating that it is resistant to attacks that might try to jam or intercept its signals and provides the greatest possible security.
Currently, a limited number of iPhones include the U1 chip that offers support for UWB.
The U1 chip first appeared in the iPhone 11, and was later included in the iPhone 12, but it is not present in the iPhone SE 2020 released early last year.
The U1 chip was also included in the Apple Watch Series 6 released last year.
And Apple built support for digital car keys in iOS with version 13.6 last year, after announcing the matter at WWDC 2020.
Information indicates that BMW is currently the only car manufacturer that uses this technology, despite reports that say: Hyundai has plans to adopt the feature later this year.
There is a move to make UWB the standard for digital switches, Apple said When it announced support for digital car keys in June of last year: It’s working on a standard that uses its U1 chip.
BMW said in its new announcement: It is working with Apple and the Auto Communications Consortium to build support for UWB in version 3.0 of the Digital Key specification.