Apple is changing a wireless chip in the iPhone that will allow people to use the technology to securely unlock doors.
Apple should also reveal the launch of the latest version of its iPhone operating system, expected to be called iOS 12, at the conference.
The change to the NFC chip could lead to people using iPhones for other security-sensitive activities, such as paying transit fares and opening car doors.
Employees at Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, California, are already using their iPhones to get into buildings and offices, using an access control system made by HID Global, which is owned by Swedish lock giant Assa Abloy.
HID and Apple both declined to comment on the reports.
While iPhones can already unlock some smart locks via Bluetooth, NFC is considered more secure.
Apple first introduced NFC technology with the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch for Apple Pay, and many companies and government agencies have wanted to use it for tasks that require greater security.
“You won’t see [Bluetooth] used at Apple headquarters or the Pentagon,” said Einar Rosenberg, the chief innovation officer at Creating Revolutions.
Many Android phone makers, including Samsung and Google, already allow owners to access secure systems like HID using NFC. And Amazon also entered the keyless entry market in November when it launched Amazon Key, a service for Amazon Prime subscribers that facilitates unattended in-home deliveries.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, Amazon’s VP of delivery technology. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”