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Latch’s new smart lock can be unlocked with an iPhone

Latch’s new smart lock can be unlocked with an iPhone

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Latch C smart lock
Photo: Latch

Latch is introducing a new smart door lock today that can be controlled with an iPhone. It’s called the Latch C, and in addition to iPhone control through Apple’s HomeKit platform, it has all the same smart features as the original Latch door lock: a built-in camera to see who’s at your door, the ability to use passcodes and cards instead of a key, and a recorded log of who’s come through.

The Latch C is much smaller than the original Latch lock, called the Latch M, because it’s designed for a different type of doorlock. Where the Latch M was built for tall mortise locks, the Latch C is meant for simpler cylindrical deadbolts, which aren’t attached to the knob. That allows the unit be a lot smaller while still offering the same features — though it also means that, like the M, it can only fit on certain types of doors.

Unfortunately, whether your door is compatible with a Latch lock doesn’t really matter, because you still can’t actually buy one. Rather than sell directly to consumers, Latch has built its business around selling locks to the real estate companies that build and operate apartment buildings. It’s hoping new and existing apartments will outfit residents’ doors with Latch locks, giving the units a high-tech perk.

Latch R, M, and C locks
Latch R, M, and C smart locks
Photo: Latch

Latch offers conveniences to real estate companies, too. Those companies want locks that log comings and goings for security reasons, and Latch provides a website for building owners to manage all of their installed locks and the ability to audit who’s come through them. Locks cost $399 each (it also sells an electronic model called the Latch R), and they require an ongoing subscription to Latch’s management service.

Latch isn’t sharing how many doors its locks are installed on yet, nor will it say when it plans to start selling directly to consumers, which its website suggests will happen eventually. “It is less typical for individuals to own their own units in [modern apartment buildings] and so we've focused on selling to large building owners directly,” Latch CEO Luke Schoenfelder wrote in an email to The Verge.

As for other smart platforms, like Google Assistant and Alexa, Schoenfelder said that Latch sees “a variety of interesting opportunities” but said that Apple has “done a phenomenal job” addressing security concerns. It should also be possible for the Latch M to eventually be updated with HomeKit support, though Schoenfelder only said that additional details of Latch’s HomeKit implementation would be announced in the future.