Ina Fried

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Interview: Phil Schiller on Why the iPhone 5 Has a New Connector but Not NFC or Wireless Charging

While Apple managed to pack a bunch of new technologies into the iPhone 5, the company opted not to include the wireless charging found on Nokia’s Lumia 920 or the near field communications technology found in the Galaxy S III.

Though some saw Apple’s Passbook feature as a perfect companion to NFC, Apple opted not to include the technology in the iPhone 5. Passbook is used to store loyalty cards and gift cards as well as things like boarding passes and baseball tickets.

In an interview, Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said that Passbook alone does what most customers want and works without existing merchant payment systems.

It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem, Schiller said. “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today.”

As for wireless charging, Schiller notes that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said.

“Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller said.

As for why the company is changing the dock connector that has been on nearly all iPhones and iPods since 2003, Schiller said it simply wasn’t possible to build products as thin as the new iPhones and iPods without changing the cord. Hence, the new “Lightning” connector.

That said, Schiller said that Apple doesn’t take changing the connector lightly.

“This is the new connector for many years to come,” he said.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald