Apple’s new update may allow users to use their iPhones as hotel keys, transit passes and more


The Cupertino giant is reportedly planning to add new features to the upcoming version of the Apple‘s mobile operating system, iOS 12. According to a report in The Information, “Apple is making a significant change to a wireless chip in the iPhone that will allow users to more securely unlock doors enabled with the same technology.” The report quotes a person familiar with the matter.

The report adds, “The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced next month, could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways.”

By expanding the use of the NFC chip, Apple reportedly wants to expand the use of iPhones in contactless interactions, something that may even make the device works as a hotel key door or virtual transit card for easier access.

For those unaware, developers were given access to the NFC chips for the first time with the iOS 11 when it added the CoreNFC framework. The framework allowed apps to use the NFC chip as an arbitrary scanner of (Radio-frequency identification) RFID tags. RFID tags help locate objects or person using electromagnetic fields.

However, the usage is still limited. The report adds that the main drawback of current NFC Application Programming Interface (API) is that the app must not only be in forefront, but also present a specific system modal sheet to begin scanning. This limits the usage and convenience of the feature.

The Information report adds that Apple is already testing these features at Apple Park in partnership with HID Global. Reportedly, Apple employees are using their iPhones to gain access to Apple Park buildings.

The smartphone giant is likely to announce iOS 12 and other major software platforms during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018 that is scheduled for next wonth (June 4-8) at the McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, US.


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