The Daily Telegraph reports that a new Apple patent has surfaced which could potentially allow the iPhone, or another Apple portable, to act as a sort of electronic key. The potential applications are as limitless as the number of things locked by old-school metal keys. It could be used for cars, offices, homes, or lockers. Basically, anything that could have an electronic receiver mounted to it in place of a metal tumbler-style lock could then use an iPhone as a key.
While Ars Technica notes that "the patent application itself merely describes a unique way of using motion detection to generate an input, such as turning a virtual combination lock-style dial," the patent itself, as reported by the Telegraph, says that the device could be "any suitable electronic device such as a portable media player, personal data assistant or electronic lock" that could open up any number of physical lock types just by communicating wirelessly.