iKey incoming! iPhone, iPad, iPod to replace your Yale locks

iKey apps could turn your iPhone, iPad or iPod into a replacement for your humble door key if an Apple patent becomes reality. The patent appears to be an extension of an earlier application related to iPhone NFC features but the iKey plans go even further with a motion-sensitive onscreen dial to enter your lock code.

Apple’s plans to allow the iPhone, iPad or iPod to unlock a door have been dubbed “iKey” by the Daily Telegraph which has reported on the patent.

Apple’s iKey patents suggests that a device could “communicated with an external device to open a lock. By way of example, the electronic device may be a model of an iPhone.”

The iKey patent might be pretty coy, merely suggesting that the device “may” be an iPhone but a previous Apple patent suggests iPhone 4.0 could see the introduction of NFC smarts into the iPhone.

And if the iPhone gets iKey functionality, there’s no reason for the iPod Touch or iPad to be left out. With all three running the iPhone OS, it’ll just be up to Apple to install the RFID chip required into future iPod Touch and iPad models too.

As well as potentially allowing you to use an iKey app to access your house or car, the technology could allow companies to provide employees with an iPhone that would replace their current access passes. You can take a look at the Apple iKey patent yourself (warning! PDF link).

Though the patent was published on February 18 2010, Apple submitted its iKey plans in August 2008, which suggests that it’s plans for embedding NFC into its devices should be well on there way by now. Perhaps iPhone 4.0 will be the smartest smartphone yet.

Do you think the iKey idea will unlock the iPhone’s hidden potential or are you worried about getting locked out completely?

Due TBC | £TBC | Apple

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