Back in February 2021 Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple Patent reveals that they could be working on a Breathalyzer-Like Feature for a Future iPhone or Apple Watch.” Apple’s patent stated that “The database information may also contain information pertaining to human breath characteristics such as typical ammonia levels, acceptable alcohol levels for driving, etc. (e.g., so a user can compare infrared spectra obtained when the target object of interest is that user’s breath and/or the user’s mouth to human breath data from the database).”
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to Car Key interfaces. More specifically, Apple presents a set of patent figures showing the iPhone, at some future time, will be adding a breathalyzer feature to Car Keys as presented below.
Apple notes that in some embodiments, if a user attempts to remove the temporary restriction on the secure credential prior to the predetermined time period lapsing, one or more unlocking criteria must be satisfied before the temporary restriction can be removed. For example, the one or more unlocking criteria can include one or more biometric criteria (e.g., a blood alcohol level below a threshold value). In FIG. 6S, in response to detecting input, the iPhone displays a notification instructing a user to breathe into a breathalyzer.
The breathalyzer may be a built-in iPhone feature or on an accessory or car feature that can wirelessly communicate with the iPhone. Apple’s February 2021, linked to above, proves that the breathalyzer could be a part of the iPhone.
In some embodiments, the one or more unlocking criteria can include a requirement that the user successfully complete a challenge (e.g., a manual dexterity challenge; a mental clarity challenge (e.g., a series of math problems)) in order to remove restrictions on the secure credential. In patent FIG. 6V above, the iPhone displays notification #690 informing the user that they must successfully complete a challenge in order to remove restrictions on the credential: in FIG. 6W the user has passed the test and the restrictions on operating the vehicle are lifted; in FIG. 6X, the UI illustrates that the user is notified that they failed the test and restrictions on operating the vehicle remain in place.
Emily Clark Schubert: Engineering Manager, Car Experience at Apple
Thomas Alsina: Senior Software Engineer
Andre Boule: iOS Software Engineer
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Another patent that could relate to future Car Keys covers a new wireless standard utilizing a hybrid of ultra-wideband (UWB) and narrowband (NB) signaling to provide improved operating range and/or operating efficiency when performing wireless communication between devices such as car or home locks, Apple TV. HomePod mini, Macs and more. To review this wireless standard patent, click here.