Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Apple patent filing involves ‘friend key sharing’ for an Apple Car

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210250355) for “friend key sharing.” It mainly involves the rumored “Apple Car” and would allow a vehicle owner to easily share/loan it to a friend.

About the patent filing

Traditional techniques for gaining access to functionality of a system (e.g., physical access or accessing some function of the system) include use of physical keys or electronic key fobs. In the patent filing, Apple says that carrying such traditional keys may be inconvenient and maybe be easily stolen.

In other cases, a password, secret code (e.g. personal identification number (PIN)), or other secret known to the owner can be used to permit access. Furthermore, in modern systems, biometric data identifying the owner is used. Combinations of these techniques can also be used. 

However, Apple says that, iIn some cases, the owner of the system wishes to permit another individual to access the system. If access is controlled by a physical key or fob, the owner must physically deliver the key/fob to the individual and then must physically retrieve the key/fob after the individual is finished with access. If access is controlled by secret data, the owner must communicate the secret data to the individual. 

If the communication is insecure, a third party can observe the secret data. Additionally, the secret data must be changed after the individual is finished with access to re-secure the system with respect to the user. If the system is secured by biometric data, the system generally cannot be accessed by the individual without the owner being present. Apple says that each of these options can limit the feasibility of permitting access. The tech giant thinks it can do better.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing; “Techniques are disclosed relating to sharing access to electronically-secured property. In some embodiments, a first computing device having a first secure element receives, from a second computing device associated with an owner of the electronically-secured property, an indication that the second computing device has transmitted a token to server computing system, the token permitting a user of the first computing device access to the electronically-secured property. 

“Based on the received indication, the first computing device sends a request for the transmitted token to the server computing system and, in response to receiving the requested token, securely stores the received token in the first secure element of the first computing device. The first computing device subsequently transmits the stored token from the first secure element of the first device to the electronically-secured property to obtain access to the electronically-secured property based on the token.”

About the Apple Car

The status of an Apple auto is unclear. On June 2, Bloomberg reported that Apple has lost “several” top managers from its “Apple Car” project. Here’s what the report says: Apple Inc. has lost multiple top managers of its self-driving car team in recent months, a sign of attrition at the division involved in what could become an important future product.

If an Apple Car ever arrives, it probably won’t arrive until 2024 at the earliest. In fact, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t expect it until at least 2025.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.