Apple Releases iPhones That Can Be Unlocked From Within An App By Just Touching A Button

It's official: exterior door locks that are unlocked with an Apple Watch or iPhone are available for sale at Apple retail locations in the United States. For $329, you can get yourself a Level Lock+, the first lock to be sold at Apple retail shops that is compatible with the Home Key.

When the Level Lock+ from Level Home is mounted in a door, Apple Home Key, a function that employs NFC and secure tokens in Apple's software, can be used to unlock and relock the door with a tap. When the door is locked, the user can either text the key to a friend or set up an automatic system.

It's a big deal for Apple, as the feature has been in the works since 2021. Apple's latest innovation, Home Key, is an illustration of the company's ongoing effort to digitize items that are traditionally carried in a pocket or wallet, such as cash and keys.

Apple iPhones
Apple iPhones

Many of Apple's latest software updates for the iPhone have been designed to increase the device's value to keep customers from defecting to competing companies. There may be fewer users willing to convert to Android if the user's front door is integrated with their phone.

Many of Apple's more recent projects, including its smart home aspirations, rely heavily on the integration of third-party devices or systems. However, these new integrations can take longer to become broadly available compared to features in iOS releases where Apple controls the hardware and software.

Apple has also unveiled Car Key, which unlocks BMW and Hyundai vehicles, and Room Key, which adds hotel keys from brands like Hyatt to Apple's Wallet app. By incorporating CarPlay and partnering with Goldman Sachs, Apple is bringing its iPhone closer to the automotive world and expanding the range of financial services available to its customers.

Providing a software capability that has been strongly desired by a core segment of smart-home enthusiasts is a chance for Level to differentiate itself as a technology firm in a market dominated by a few major, older lock makers.

Level CEO John Martin recently commented to CNBC, “There's a question that's been asked right now in this sector.” Is a smart lock considered a consumer electronic? Or maybe it's just a smart version of a conventional lock.

Simply having a new Home Key lock option could excite fans of smart homes. Since the release of Home Key in 2021, only the Schlage Encode Plus has been available in the United States as a compatible lock option. Smart home aficionados on Reddit and elsewhere have spent the better part of a year theorizing about what firms would introduce new Home Key devices.

Level Lock+ unintentionally went on sale early at some Apple stores this past week, allowing reporters and users to learn about the heightened level of consumer desire for a new Home Key lock.

Martin stated that the corporation took note of the online discussion around the new lock right away.

Our Chief Marketing Officer [Andrew] Samson used to work for Nike. Martin remarked, “He's fantastic.” The other night he woke me up by exclaiming, “Oh my God, we're trending!”

The news that Level won't support Home Key by updating the software on its older locks may surprise some forum users. Support for Apple's Home Key requires the Level Lock+, which may be purchased from an Apple retail or online store.

We have no plans to provide a firmware update for Touch,” Martin added. When it came to providing first-rate assistance for Home Keys, we knew we had to reinvent the product's underlying technology.