Wireless

It's not a secret that wireless is the holy grail of today's technology. WiFi is massively popular. Cellphones have replaced home phones, and cordless phones replaced their corded forebears. It's been a dream of mine for some time that my phone and my would laptop charge wirelessly; sipping power out of tables, the floor, a wall as I walk around the house. Inductive charging has been around for a while. Philips has been doing it. Palm did it. Nokia's just made an impressive show of it, partnering with Virgin Atlantic and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to put inductive charging out in the real world. But inductive charging as it exists today doesn't quite make my dream come true. There's the charging pad, the alignment issues, and the proximity requirement. I want electricity to flow out of the floor like radiant heat.

Until then, there's something to be said for the robustness of wired connections. Today's wireless standards trump a poorly designed wired connection, but when a wired connection is done right it will be better than wireless. Wired is faster. Wired connections don't drop. Wired delivers power and data simultaneously. Wired is why my 847 GB Time Machine backup isn't failing. Look at MagSafe for an unparalleled example of a wired connection; it's easy to attach, even easier to detach, and requires a minimum of alignment between the socket and post. Apple's working on the wired connection again. Since 2003, they've been iterating on the Dock Connector and it's remained a fussy connector fraught with alignment issues, legacy pins, and size requirements. The (rumored) new connector changes some of that. It's symmetric, so it doesn't matter if its up or down. It's rounded, so the connector shouldn't need to be perpendicular to be inserted. The new connector looks to be about as good as a wired connector gets.

I want wireless. I like AirPlay. NFC seems cool. WiFi is so much more convenient and cleaner than Ethernet. When wireless is as robust, as reliable, as fast, and as power-neutral as a wired connection I'll be there. That day is coming, but it's not here yet. Until then I'll be running Ethernet cables, slowly adopting Thunderbolt, and getting excited by new connectors.