Apple’s mobile key solution now has its first compatible peripheral door lock thanks to the century-old American lock maker Schlage.
In a virtual announcement at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the latter firm unveiled the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt. It’s a smart home lock that features a keypad for PIN entry, but it’s notable for its support of contactless mobile-based keys.
An authorized end user can unlock the deadbolt using the Schlage mobile app, or using Apple Home Key, a digital key system launched last year as part of Apple’s iOS 15 operating system upgrade for the iPhone. All an authorized user needs to do to unlock the Schlage device is to tap their smartphone on it, or even just wave it close to the lock.
The Apple Home Key support is particularly notable at a time when Apple is working to make its iPhone the mobile hub for end user’s identities. Over the last several months, the tech giant has been quietly working with a handful of state governments in the US, as well as the Transportation Security Administration, to develop a digital driver’s license that can be accepted as official ID by government agencies.
The Home Key is not as ambitious a project, but wide support would help to further cement Apple’s flagship device as the central proof of identity of the end users.
At the same time, Schlage’s support for mobile keys – through Apple’s Home Key and its own app – reflects the broader evolution of digital, mobile-based ID.
The catch for Apple fans is that in order to use their iPhone’s mobile key, they will also need an Apple Hub device, such as a HomePod. Users of the Schlage app, meanwhile, can control the lock through vocal instructions via the Google Assistant or Alexa.
Schlage’s new Encode Plus smart lock is expected to officially launch in the spring of this year, at a retail price of $299.