Apple’s Phil Schiller talks wireless charging, NFC, and the new dock connector

September 14, 2012
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Apple’s new iPhone comes with a bevy of much needed improvements, but there are certain things it doesn’t do. There’s no near field communication inside, there’s no wireless charging, and the phone features a brand spanking new dock connector that’s neither compatible with the old dock connector or compatible with the ubiquitous USB standard that practically every device on the market uses. Ina Fried from AllThingsD was at Apple’s event on Wednesday and she had a chance to talk to Phil Schiller, the company’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, about what the iPhone lacks.

Starting with NFC, Phil says it’s a technology looking for a problem to solve. Is he right? The one use case we keep on hoping NFC will bring us, wireless payments, has yet to happen. And if you think about it, is there really a problem with swiping a credit card? Sure, tapping your phone on a point of sale system sounds cool, but is it that much faster than plastic?

Then there’s wireless charging. Phil brings up a good point. Wireless chargers still need to be plugged in, thus complicating things. With cables you plug your phone into your laptop, your wall, and there are even some planes now that have USB ports. Looking at Nokia’s Lumia 920, sure it has wireless charging, but at what cost? The device weighs 185 grams and is nearly 11 mm thick. Is it worth it?

And finally, about that new dock, Phil says Apple is going to use it “for many years to come”. We believe him. The old dock connector went unchanged for nearly a decade. In that amount of time Nokia went from a proprietary 2 mm port to miniUSB and then finally microUSB. It does kind of stink that Apple didn’t decide to go with USB, but hey, we’re Android fans, so who cares?

Companies choose to focus on different things in order to sell their products. Google pushes how seamless everything is thanks to the cloud, Microsoft pushes their Office suite down everyone’s throats, Samsung likes to show off what their engineers can do, and Apple … let’s not go there, otherwise we’re going to start a massive flamewar.

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