Apple's masterplan to replace your wallet, documents, and keys with Apple Watch5
Apple's plan to free your... pockets
The main idea is to free your pockets from things like your keys, wallet, all personal documents that might be stuffed inside, and perhaps even your phone - although, of course, Apple still wants to sell iPhones - that's not going anywhere.
It was about three weeks ago when we first heard about how the Apple Watch will be able to present digital IDs, including driver's licenses, lock/unlock your front door, or even your car.
Now, this transition isn't necessarily going to happen overnight. Not that the tech isn't ready - it very much is. However, there are many pieces of the puzzle that need to come together before you're able to ditch your wallet, car keys, house keys, or phone.
Of course, you'll need an Apple Watch - that's for sure. But you'll also need compatible door locks, a car that supports digital keys, and even to be in the "right" state that allows you to load your personal documents into your watch.
For the record, Apple isn't the only company that recognizes the potential of virtualizing personal everyday items - Google and Samsung do too, and they are also working hard to bring similar new features and products to their customers.
Your Apple Watch is already powerful, but what's its true potential?
Things like Apple's Wallet app, which can host your credit cards, and even digital versions of your car insurance loaded onto your watch have been available for some time. Everyone knows someone who always pays for coffee with their watch. If you don't, that person might be you!
However, it only gets more exciting from here on! Apple's planning to ID cards to the existing Wallet app and change some of our day-to-day experiences forever. Apple's CL of technology, Kevin Lynch, explained that people would soon be able to load and view their ID on the Wallet app just like they can with their credit card.
Then, you'd be able to present the document before the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for instance. Being pulled over will be... you know - less of a nightmare. Your watch will display information like name, age, address, and even more (if you've decided to opt-in).
Sure enough, this technology will take some time before it becomes "the norm". As mentioned above, it isn't purely Apple-dependent. The involvement of various stakeholders such as the federal government and different states and institutions will make the transition challenging but also... possible. This isn't like deciding to give the iPhone an extra camera. It requires extra scrutiny.
Thankfully, some states like New York are already looking into ways to make digital IDs a reality. An example of that is New York's vaccine passport.
Apple Power Rangers: A key change to how you interact with your car
Apart from loading documents into your Apple Watch, there's more to what we'll be able to do! There's a hardware element to the story, called Ultra-Wideband (UWB), that's going to unlock many new doors... literally - doors.
Kevin Lynch explained how watchOS 8 would allow users to lock, unlock, and start their cars from their Apple Watch:
As mentioned earlier, you'll need a compatible car with support for things like NFC and UWB. Again - your Apple Watch will also need to be compatible.
Challenges: Security and battery life
You sure must be thinking: "What if someone gets ahold of my watch and steals my car?!"Apple combats that with your passcode. It's nothing new - it's always been there. Apple Watch will lock itself when it recognizes it's been removed from your wrist.
The experience of starting your car will be fully emulated as if you had a physical key. The unlock feature will only work when you approach your car - just like you are able to unlock your car with a regular key once you're close enough. Then, to start the vehicle, you'll need to be seated in the driver's seat - again, just like with a good old key.
So, in the end, Apple Watch will simply free your pockets while either simplifying or emulating the ways you used to interact with your car, front door or else.
Of course, the biggest and most obvious drawback comes with battery life - Apple Watch doesn't last forever. Not even close. Currently, Apple's flagship watch manages about a day, or a day and a half, depending on use.
For the record, we did hear rumors about increased battery capacity and respectively battery life on the next Apple Watch Series 7, which nicely ties in with the need for increased longevity that comes with a more capable and powerful Apple Watch.
The watchOS 8 public beta is launching this summer, while the final release is expected to be made official sometime in September or October - as always. We are looking forward to testing, reviewing, and sharing the new features with you!