The next generation of Apple's iPhone could allow users to lock and open cars according to a new patent filed by the company. Dubbed iKey by Mac enthusiast sites, users would need only to enter a key code via the iPhone to open car doors. Cars would need to be fitted with electronic pads reports claim, and the same technology, known as Near Field Communication, could be used to secure properties. The Apple patent, filed with the US Patent Office reveals the following: "The external device may be any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock that may be used to access a door, car, house or other physical area." Cult of Mac's Leander Kahney told UK newspaper The Telegraph over the weekend the patent has far reaching consequences for Apple. "If true, it's a very big deal. As well as opening doors and unlocking your car, it could also turn your iPhone into an electronic wallet and ID card." "You'd be able to pay for buses and trains, as well as your morning coffee and groceries in a jiffy, just by laying your iPhone on a special pad, and the price is electronically deducted from your account. "The trouble is that the technology hasn't gone completely mainstream. If Apple were to adopt the technology, they would likely set the standard, and that would drive widespread adoption as everyone scrambles to make their systems iPhone-friendly."
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