back to article Really... an iKeyfob? Apple continues war on fanbois' pockets

Apple has been granted a patent for an iKeyfob capable of unlocking doors, starting the engine and turning your car into a less good version of KITT from Knight Rider. Serving as a kind of car controller, the patented device works in conjunction with iPhones or other mobile devices and also performs as an in-car gizmo using …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge
    WTF?

    Er wait. Tesla and a lot of other folks already have this. What the hell is the new art here?

    1. returnmyjedi

      The Apple logo?

    2. LarsG

      I have keyless entry on a Ford Focus.

      To open the car I put my hand on the door handle.

      To lock the doors I touch the door handle lightly with my hand/thumb/finger.

      To start the car I sit in it and press a button.

      I can program it to open just one door or all the doors.

      I can lock all the doors when inside by pressing one button.

      How on earth would I save any more time? Perhaps a micro second of a micro second?

      Start the car perhaps while I am walking towards it? Waste of fuel.

      If I lose the key fob I still have my phone to call for help.

      If I lose my phone I can still drive home.

      If only they came up with some kind of iTraffic management that when activated moved every other car on the road out of the way, now that would be something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The difference here is that Apple take a 30% cut of the cost of opening your car door every time you log into iTunes to open your car door.

      2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: I can lock all the doors

        It's the only way to live.

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      >What the hell is the new art here?

      Google announcement of a self-driving keyfob cloud that serves you ads in 3, 2, 1...

    4. M W

      Rounded corners ?

  2. stucs201
    WTF?

    "Unlocking a door can require additional time that it lengthens a total commute duration"

    If your journey is so short that the time to unlock the car door is at all a consideration in how long it takes then why are you using the car at all? If a second or two is significant then the journey is so short (a few metres?) that it'd be as quick to walk.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Aimed at the Merkin market then

      In a place that shall remain unnamed I've seen people drive the whole 30 m that separated their motel from the pizzeria's parking lot.

      1. kevin king

        Re: Aimed at the Merkin market then

        what a whole 30m....in LA i've seen groups get into the car just to go to the bar next door.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: Aimed at the Merkin market then

          Yes but LA is special. It's the only place while walking out of a store I've been stalked by someone looking for a parking space only to have them turn around when it was clear I was parked further than they wanted. I kind of knew it was coming since there were several open spaces next to me at the end of the lot.

          1. Curtis

            Re: Aimed at the Merkin market then

            As a 'Merkin I can only say "Yup, that sounds like my neighbors". That being said, I move as close as I can when I get a new job just so that I can walk to work in stead of driving.

      2. Paul Wells

        Re: Aimed at the Merkin market then

        There's plenty of motels that can't be walked to, and quite a few where you don't want to walk to.

  3. Another User

    Nothing new: Key helps locate a car

    That is what most car keys do already. Press a button and your car honks or flashes it's lights.

    So car thieves could have used this "feature" for years.

    If Apple were to use the Apple watch as a key then this kind of theft would not work. The watch monitors heart rate and switches off payment functionality when the watch is removed from one's wrist. Similarly it could stop working as a car key.

    1. bluesxman
      WTF?

      Re: Nothing new: Key helps locate a car

      So the thief just puts the stolen watch on their own wrist, assuming they have a pulse.

      1. Another User

        Re: Nothing new: Key helps locate a car

        You have to authenticate with a password after putting the watch on your wrist. This authentication remains valid as long you have a pulse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nothing new: Key helps locate a car

          Yes but then there is the delay as you input your 24 character pass code into your watch because you have been running so fast from your assailant that you are out of breath and cannot speak.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    It's an Apple car patent

    Relax, nothing will come of it...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/26/apple_car_keys/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/18/apple_patents_new_fondleslab_dashboard_distraction_device/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/01/apple_adjustable_car_interior_patent/

    Etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's an Apple car patent

      Which just goes to show they are patent trolls.

      Patent everything, no matter how minor, then if someone else does it. BANG, gazzilion dollars or we block all imports.

      This is just so vague it could cover anything, so it's bound to get passed.

      BTW, Clifford alarms and may others have auto start and keyless entry.

      1. Steve Todd Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: It's an Apple car patent

        I don't think you understand the definition of a patent troll. A patent troll is a non practicing entity (ie. they don't make anything) that makes money purely by asserting patents, normally that have been purchased rather than developing them themselves, and only when they have been incorporated into a successful product.

        Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM and pretty much any tech company you care to mention are continually generating patent, many of which will never make it into actual products. Some of them (Microsoft and IBM for example) make considerable money from licensing, but this doesn't make them patent trolls.

        1. Lamont Cranston

          Re: It's an Apple car patent

          Surely, if you patent something not with the intent to make it yourself, but to prevent others from making it, you're abusing the system?

          1. Steve Todd Silver badge

            Re: It's an Apple car patent

            Who said that they have no intention of using it themselves? They may or may not decide to make a product using it, depending on how well development of the idea progresses and market demand. They may decide to licence the technology, make it part of a standard or keep it for themselves. Whatever they do, they have a patent for a particular method, not all possible methods of doing something. Existing keyless entry systems don't invalidate the patent IF they work in a different way, and this patent doesn't prevent anyone from creating a different way of doing the same thing.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's an Apple car patent

            Find just ONE instance where Apple has sued someone for violating a patent they hold that they have no products that use it, and don't later make a product that uses it.

            Apple only cares about people copying what they do. They could care less if they come up with something, decide they aren't interested in making it a product, and someone else does it.

            1. Frankee Llonnygog

              Re: It's an Apple car patent

              I assume the two downvoters will back up their downvotes with examples?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's an Apple car patent

                Of course not, there are some Apple haters who don't like anyone questioning anti-Apple posts, even when that post is 100% incorrect.

  5. Alan Denman

    Fobbed off ?

    and what about my current fob ?

    1. VinceH

      Re: Fobbed off ?

      It's illegal.

  6. adnim
    Meh

    Thieves also have keyless entry...

    It's called a center punch.

    I accept that this does not start the car and only gives immediate access to any item left lying around.

    However, ones car is more likely to be targeted by equipped opportunists rather than dedicated ringers/exporters.

    This iKeythingy may provide some convenience but I can't see how it is any more secure than any current keyless entry system. This is not about innovation, it has been a long time since Apple was about innovation.

  7. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Figure 1B

    Does it only work and the patent apply if the car is parked facing east?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    K.I.T.T., not Kit, surely?

    Am I really the first one to notice this typo? Knight Industries Two (later, Three) Thousand, apparently. So they say. Not that I would admit to knowing this, you understand. Cos I don't. I never watched the series, of course.

    Oh. I see why I'm the first one now. Changing to anonymous before posting. Oops.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: K.I.T.T., not Kit, surely?

      The first talking car I came across was an Austin Maestro I took some driving lessons in. It didn't seem nearly so impressive after Knight Rider!

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: Austin Maestro

        "The first talking car I came across was an Austin Maestro I took some driving lessons in. It didn't seem nearly so impressive after Knight Rider!"

        I drove a Maestro once - to be honest, it didn't seem particularly impressive after a normal car, never mind KITT

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Facepalm

    improvement?

    So, this offers the same functionality which is already available on a number of keyless entry systems in the marketplace, but it needs to work in conjunction with a smartphone device. Basically, they've taken an existing idea and made it worse.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: improvement?

      The same functionality, except now your car plays U2 songs whenever you try to unlock it.

      As you say, they've taken an existing idea and made it worse!

      "I'm sure the keys are in one of my coat pockets" ------------------------>

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: improvement?

        "The same functionality, except now your car plays U2 songs whenever you try to unlock it."

        POTD!

        Upvoted.

  10. PassiveSmoking

    Wasn't KARR the "less good version" of KITT?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Yup, the Knight Automated Roving Robot.

      Somehow I think I could have mis-spent my youth more productively, as I knew that without having to look it up...

  11. Chad H.

    >>>>This could mean, for instance, that your car won't start up unless you type in a password.

    Thumbprint. Oh do please catch up.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just buy an Italian car from the 80's

    My old Alfa door locks would open for any suitably shaped key-like object.

    My faves were an ice lolly stick or a ring-pull from a soft drink can.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The future of iPhone users...

    They daren't let their kids anywhere near their precious iPhones, in case they kill the battery.

    No battery... no way to pay for things, watch won't work and your car won't let you in.

    Brave New World....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proximity...

    If you park your car close to your house and the sensors can detect the fob... does that mean your car will never lock?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Revenge

    Considering that there will be a high priority that this Ikey can be hacked, I can see the future now. Someone develops an app that thieves can use to steal cars. All they would have to do is get near the car and that app would exploit some weakness in the Ikey. And this app will be available for $3.99 at the Google Play Store.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Revenge

      It will be the natural course of events.

      I refer you to: Already Been Proven Practical

      http://www.zdnet.com/hackers-steal-keyless-bmw-in-under-3-minutes-video-7000000507/

      http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/08/19/hacked-in-60-seconds-thieves-could-steal-cars-via-text-messages/

      http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/thieves-steals-cars-with-a-click-of-the-computer-instead-of-force/story-fni0fit3-1227055881485?nk=74f952d29eb2b781fea3deaec80e90ec

      The search results already run into several pages with mostly unique returns.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    Still holding to my prediciton

    When I predicted that the more cars become part of the Internet of Stupid Things the easier they will be to steal and burgle, I didn't realize some fucking dumbasses would try to make it even easier.

    Yes, I know keyless entry and start have been around for a few years now, but this IS Apple we're talking about. You know, iCloud, China? Those guys.

  17. Roj Blake

    KARR

    "Apple has been granted a patent for an iKeyfob capable of unlocking doors, starting the engine and turning your car into a less good version of KITT from Knight Rider."

    You mean KITT's evil sibling KARR? No thanks.

  18. Dogsauce

    "Siri, open the boot"

    (or should that be 'trunk'?)

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