Phil Schiller Explains Why the ‘Lightning’ Connector Exists and Lack of NFC on iPhone 5


In an interview with AllThingsD, Apple’s Senior Vice President, Phil Schiller, explains why the new iPhone 5 has a smaller dock connector dubbed Lightning, the lack of NFC support and no wireless charging yet.

Why There’s No NFC

Schiller noted “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today,” and also works with merchant payment systems already in place. NFC as a solution isn’t clear to problems that exist today he notes.

The Lack of Wireless Charging

As for why Apple hasn’t invented wireless charging, he noted:

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

Even if there was a wireless charging solution, there would still be a requirement to have it plugged into the wall. The USB cord, on the other hand, can charge in outlets, computers and airplanes he noted.

On the New Smaller ‘Lightning’ Dock Connector

The new Lightning dock connector was necessary because according to Schiller, building new products as thin as the iPhone 5 and new iPod touch wouldn’t be possible with the old 30 pin connector. A change in the cord was required, which is being touted as 80 percent smaller than before. Schiller goes on to say “This is the new connector for many years to come.”

The lack of NFC isn’t a big surprise to me, given how the adoption rate hasn’t really gotten off the ground, plus coordinating with merchants is always a challenge. Wireless charging? That would be pretty cool, but in my experience putting an iPhone into a dock has been quite easy.

As for the connector, this is the one I’m hearing the most negativity about, as it basically renders old accessories useless. The new Lightning adapters aren’t cheap at $35 a pop.

This is Apple, we can’t do anything to change their new products. You can decide whether or not you want to upgrade, but of course once we go hands on with the thinner and lighter iPhone 5, we’ll pretend none of this talk ever happened and reach for our wallets.


  • draz

    A cheap $10 one will most likely show up at independant dealers in October. It will happen eventually.

  • Coluch

    Whomever is complaining about the new connector certainly has a strong sense of entitlement, and a weak sense of how technology works. Maybe I should complain that my 3GS case doesn’t work with my 4S iPhone. What the HECK APPLE!!! TOTALMONEYGRAB!

    Seriously…. it’s a new plug AFTER TEN YEARS. I’m sure we’ll all live.

  • I love you Gary 😉

  • +1

    Sent from my iPad

  • uncle3

    🙂 only if Apple hasn’t patent the adapter

  • djepsilon

    On the money sir.

  • djepsilon

    Little miffed about the cost of the adapter, but I’ll live. I did after all survive the transition from using composite cabling to HDMI on my TV. I expect to make it through this transition period unscathed as well 😉

  • China doesn’t understand what patent mean ! 😉

  • Farids

    Give the Chinese a little time and you’ll be able to pick the lightning adapter up from Chinatown or Pacific mall for $10.

  • Farids

    As for NFC, I understand the wait. Bluetooth ver. 4.0 is a big competitor, can do exactly the same and is more universal. We will have to wait and see.

  • jabohn

    Right on. I don’t really have much to lose anyway, should I upgrade to an iPhone 5. Just a couple of charge cables… computer and car… that’s it.

  • NoOneCares

    The new connector isn’t as much of an issue as the $21 cable, and the $35 adapter that won’t even be available until October – and no docks at all.

  • NoOneCares

    BTW Gary, Apple doesn’t need to invent wireless charging – it’s already been done. 🙂

  • Where’s the Palm Pre now, eh?? 🙂

  • Kellie

    What did ppl do before apple when each one of their new phones required different accessories? If this is the first change, that’s still a pretty good track record.