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back to article BlackBerry CEO: iPhone past its prime

From BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins' point of view, Apple's iPhone is growing rather long in the tooth. "The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old," Heins told The Australian Financial Review. Not that Heins has no respect for the iPhone – it's more that …

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FAIL

The irony kills me! :)

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WTF?

Ummm...

...and what way, actually? BB has pretty much nothing to do with the BB OS you are probably thinking of and iOS is indeed a boring, locked-down, limited UI and as a multimedia OS it's far the worse kind of junk out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm...

Presumably in that Blackberry is basically a Dodo on life support now that Windows Phone took the 3rd OS spot, and calling another OS past it's time is a bit rich...Pot, Kettle, etc.

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Meh

Why did you buy your phone?

You buy your phone because it is the one you want, whether the OS is iOS, Win, BBS or Android.

It really doesn't matter, you chose the phone for YOU and your requirements.

I've had all sorts, Seimens, Nokia, Phillips, Sony, Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, HTC, iPhone, Samsung, Nec, Motorola, not in any particular order dating back to my first in 1994.

The last five were a HTC Hero, Desire, Sensation, iPhone 4S and finally iPhone 5. To be honest I have not looked back. I use my phone for my business the iPhones worked without a hitch unlike the HTC's which required daily attention and tweaking.

On the strength of the iPhone I bought an iPad again for business, they both seamlessly update my files as I need them. Finally this year I ditched my crashing slow to start Dell 1645 XPS and bought a MacBook Pro with a I TB drive, not the retina one I might add. Now when I get home late at night I don't need to imput any documents or updated stats and daily calls from my ipad because it is already updated on my MacBook. My old Windows Software, accountancy stuff, games, Office etc runs on a Windows 7 partition or within OSX using Parallels.

I may well have bought into the Apple Ecosystem, but it saves me time and it works without giving me a headache. I no longer have to work into the small hours inputting data because it is done as I go along.

You may have made other choices, that's your choice, just as your preference in food, beverage and sexuality.

All of that is fine with me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why did you buy your phone?

Lets be honest, that you bought not one but 3 HTC phones says something ... no wonder you were driven to buy an iPhone.

Perhaps if you'd done some research before hand and gone down the Samsung route you wouldn't have felt the need to buy an iPhone.

However, no phone requires daily tweaking ... that's the result of a personality trait and the only reason why you don't do this on the Apple is because it wont let you!

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Re: Why did you buy your phone?

"You buy your phone because it is the one you want"

Or maybe it was the one that ticked more boxes than the others. Usually, buying a phone/phablet is a compromise, and if you want a number of features badly enough you'll inevitably let 1 or 2 missing or weak features go?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why did you buy your phone?

Apple/OSX/IOS is /SO/ great you use Windows 7?

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Anonymous Coward

The irony kills you

You're probably too young to remember a company that nearly went bust because of its old fashioned OS and went on to success with a new POSIX compliant one despite a small market share.

Mac OS 9

Mac OS X

BlackBerry has paid homage to Apple's reinvention by numbering their new OS 10.

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JDX
Gold badge

My phone is basically a touch-sensitive rectangle. I don't think that has changed in the last 5 years. A bit like how Windows 95 thru 7 kept the same basic interface, I don't really see the need to innovate the basic UI if it works. Apple have a design that works. Android have a design that works. MS have a design that works (no, really). Now even BB do.

Well done chaps, but just because you only just got yours finished doesn't mean it's better than those who got there 5 years ago.

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FAIL

Errr, no...

...iOS is rather a pile of crap nowadays, even compared to Android, it's a blast from the past with all its (Apple-typical) stupid limitations, restrictions, completely inexplicable stupid behavior (example: try playing back a regular x264-encoded mp4 video that plays fine on literally every other OS you throw it on, Android, Windows, WP, linux, even WebOS - but not on this crap called iOS unless you go and tweak it to hell, resulting in at least 20%+ bigger files than on any other OS); UI is just boring and indeed looks very outdated in 2013.

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WTF?

Re: Errr, no...

The fact that you're struggling to play a H264 (not X264 btw) says more about you than it says about iOS,

The fact that you seem to be going around trying the same file on about 6 different OS only highlights some serious clinical problems and/or excess of free time.

Otherwise you're just a troll and a bad one at that.

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While the BlackBerry man obviously has his own commercial interests, I think he's got an indirect point in that the iPhone is no longer particularly exciting. Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features; an expressive touch interface is the norm and 95% of most people's use is probably texting, using the browser or using apps for services that are also accessible in the browser. They can do that on more or less any handset out there.

Even if you take Apple's case at its strongest — that the iPhone is the best phone in its class — it's now just one in a pretty big class.

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Anonymous Coward

" Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features"

This is rather the point. Technically the iPhone is pretty impressive. It squeezes an awful lot of clever stuff into a very small box, and that makes it quite expensive. (I imagine, for instance, that the aluminium case is needed for heat dissipation and to prevent hotspots, whereas the Galaxy range can get rid of a lot of heat through their large glass surfaces).

The problem starts when people don't care about things being the smallest any more, at least, not to the extent of paying £800 for a non-expandable mobile computer with 64G of Flash. If the competition is expandable, cheap to repair and cheaper to buy, the temptation to put up with an extra 20g for a saving of a couple of hundred £ starts to have its effect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features"

Actually, the "dated" stamp is an interesting one, because we seem to remain with the idea that we HAVE to upgrade every so often. I've tried the iPhone 5 and it's actually too light for me - I prefer the 4S which has a bit more weight. I think the 5 would only become comfortable if I could add a battery pack to it so it would gain weight.

You see, ergonomics is not just about making things lighter, and I personally think Apple overshot here. I worked with some companies on product design, and the iPhone 5 is the first product I've had in my hand that felt indeed uncomfortably light. Or maybe I just have big hands :)

Thus, I will *not* upgrade. I have a 4S which works, and the main improvement (the camera) is not that relevant for me. I may get an Android for testing to keep an eye on alternatives, but I see no longer value in upgrading every year. At some point you arrive at designs that work for you personally - why then upgrade?

I'm not into bling, I buy things that work for me..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Errr, no...

H.264 if we're being pedantic, not H264 ...

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FAIL

Re: Errr, no...

Replying to a factual claim with an ad hominem. Cliched as it is, I believe the proper term is, "Fail!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features"

"At some point you arrive at designs that work for you personally - why then upgrade?"

You're still using an 386 with win3.1 then?

What a load of trot. You simply can not imagine what to do with a 2013 feature set. You seem stuck with iPhone and that is just SAD.

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Re: " Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features"

I was given a Nokia Lumia for a works' mobile but gave it back because it was too heavy and had sharp corners - not a good combination in your trouser pocket! I bought an iPhone 5 instead and it is light enough to carry around comfortably in said pocket. Funnily enough the rest of the department's Nokia Lumias were changed for HTC mobiles because they couldn't get Outlook e-Mail to work on them - unlike the iPhone. Sadly the HTC doesn't work with it either so I remain the only person in our department with works' e-mail on their mobile telephone. I expect they will all get iPhones too at some point. My only other smartphone was a Nokia e71 which was annoying and fiddly - the iPhone 5 is a massive improvement on that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " Most of its one-time advantages are now commodity features"

You're still using an 386 with win3.1 then?

Worse. I sometimes still use a VT102 as well. But I have stopped using DoubleDOS, so there is hope.

What a load of trot. You simply can not imagine what to do with a 2013 feature set. You seem stuck with iPhone and that is just SAD

I think your constant need for new things to play with is more entitled to that predicate. Oh noo! My cell phone is more than 3 weeks old! What am I going to DOOO? Everyone will laugh at me! (etc). I may have overdone it a bit, but I think you get the point.

There are 2 massive advantages of not attaching an ego to the newness of my kit: first of all, it saves me money so I can immediately buy stuff I like - I don't need to wait for any contract renewal cycles. Secondly, patience pays. I let the early birds queue for hours and complain about early release bugs, and calmly walk into a shop (without queues) half a year later and buy the stuff after the kinks have been worked out. The result is that I rarely have equipment trouble, and make informed purchases focused on *my* needs instead of having to buy gear as some entry ticket to a vacuous club I don't even *want* to belong to.

Wanna play some more?

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WTF?

Re: Errr, no...

That fact that you don't even understand the difference between h.264 and x264 yet you try to loudmouth about it says more about you than anything else, you fool. =)

HINT: one is a library, the other one is a format...

...but hey, just keep on embarrassing yourself publicly, it's entertaining. :)

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Go

Re: Errr, no...

Not only that but I was talking about x264 - something he didn't even understand. ;)

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Ummm

Blackberry would do better to align to android and deliver their concept as the layer above.

Purely as a survival tactic, BB do deliver a good service. Issue is the support of a 3rd platform.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm

Bearing in mind that a lot of Blackberry's customers care about security, aligning to Android is the worst possible thing they could do. The obvious OS for fit with Blackberry is Windows Phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm

The obvious OS for fit with Blackberry is Windows Phone

Thanks for the laugh :)

I think using QNX is an interesting idea from a security perspective, it's been used for years by Reuters to drive their corporate connections. The problem is that BB is starting almost from scratch here, so the bugs may not have been shaken out yet - I'd give it a year before I'd investigate if I could trust it for corporate use. By that time it will also be visible if BB is here to stay or will sink, which is important from a continuity perspective.

I just hope their new phone works with open standards as well as established BES infrastructures.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm

Not sure why you think that is funny. A number of companies like Mall of America and Foxtons have made recent high profile switches from Blackberry to Windows Phone, and large consultancies like Avanade are actively pushing it as a solution.

WP is one of the most secure Phone OSs and it has unmatched integration in the Enterprise and very good management tools.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm

"Not sure why you think that is funny."

Simply, because to an iPhone owner, no other phone is better than theirs. That is why those who are not stuck to Apple can laugh at their lack of objectivity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ummm

Not sure why you think that is funny. A number of companies like Mall of America and Foxtons have made recent high profile switches from Blackberry to Windows Phone, and large consultancies like Avanade are actively pushing it as a solution.

I worked for various consultancies, and their focus is never what is best for the client, it is what is best for THEM (hence, for instance, the very late engagement with Open Source, there's simply less money in for them). Further, volume is never an indication of quality. You should have learned that one a long time ago, certainly with Microsoft products..

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Re: Ummm

"Not sure why you think that is funny."

Simply, because to an iPhone owner, no other phone is better than theirs.

Interesting, there is nothing in that post that indicated iPhone ownership or even preference.

You know you should have posted at 8:20, right?

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It's like the bike

It's like the bike, a design that hasn't changed in a hundred years, apart from a bit of fine tuning here and there. Why, because it works. Changing things for the sake of "progress" just leads to things like Windows 8, or that abomination called Unity on Ubuntu - the reason I've now switched to Mint for my VM Linux environments

Despite the iPhone's limitations in un-jailbroken form it is something that works very well out of the box, and does pretty much what people want of it straight off the bat. Not all people are tech heads, and all they want is something that's easy to work and moreover they want an interface that remains consistent through new models and upgraded operating systems. Apple have achieved that.

Just for the record I am an iPhone user, but do spend a bit of time helping my non tech friends out with their android/windows phone devices. Funnily I never need to help a non tech iPhone user, and I think that speaks for itself in terms of how Apple got the iPhone right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

If you think bicycles haven't changed in a hundred years, you don't know much about bicycles. A 1912 bicycle would today be laughably slow, uncomfortable, expensive and unsafe. I forget when brakes started to work in the wet and gear changing became reliable, but it was in my lifetime. As was the end of rust and tyres with some sort of grip on wet roads.

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Stop

Re: It's like the bike

@ribosome. No one said the bike hadn't changed. The analogy is the apt because the comparison is not the details, it's the UI. Bikes still look the same and I'm willing to bet that you can both recognise and operate pretty much any (normal) bike ever built. The few times people have tried to 'improve' bikes we ended up with things like the recumbent bike ..

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Re: It's like the bike

What's wrong with the recumbent? Faster and more stable than standard bikes. Unsuitable for road use but that's as much a problem with the roads as the bike. Limited visibility ahead is its biggest fault.

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FAIL

Re: It's like the bike

If you made a version of Android that went straight to the app tray and didn't let you do anything else, it'd pretty much be iOS.

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FAIL

Re: It's like the bike

"Funnily I never need to help a non tech iPhone user"

Funnily I do need to regularly help iPhone users. Try changing MMS settings for a Vodafone PAYG sim (iOS always sets the APN's to the wrong servers) when you can't get the APN menu to show unlike every other phone ever and have to start swapping SIMs to get the menu to show. Also try explaining that you can't just send them an mp3 ringtone like on every other phone they've owned, but you need to use a program on your PC to create one and then connect the phone to the PC running iTunes to transfer it over- and while you're at it explain that if they want a ringtone of the song they already bought from iTunes, they need to fork out the same cost again to buy it as a ringtone.

Sorry iPhone fans, your phone may look all cool and shiny, but when you struggle to do things you could do on a ten year old dumbphone you must acknowledge that all is not rosy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

No, the analogy is not apt. It's true I could ride a 1912 bicycle, but if I tried to do it in traffic on a wet day I would probably kill myself. The cyclist from 1912 wouldn't have a clue about the derailleur gears of a modern bike. They take some getting used to. Bicycles have different UIs - twist gear changes, gear levers on handlebars or stem, pedals with or without clips, coaster or lever rear brakes - that are pretty significant and have a learning curve. The differences between your 1912 bicycle and a 2012 one must be about is big as the difference between phone operating systems, given the actual number of controls involved.

When you say "Bikes still look the same" I can say "A phone is still basically a box with a microphone at one end, a loudspeaker at the other and some sort of user interface in between". This is as true of my original brick phone as it is of an iPhone. The weight ratio is a bit bigger than that of that 1912 bike to my Dahon, but the principle is exactly the same.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

"Not all people are tech heads, and all they want is something that's easy to work "

Spot on!

Tho, asking for an opinion on a phones capabilities from someone who just wants something that is easy to use is a folly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

"It's like the bike" Yeah, the penny farthing!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

Uh oh. You know that people have a tendency to focus on your analogy rather than the point you're trying to make, right? :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

"No one said the bike hadn't changed. The analogy is the apt because the comparison is not the details, it's the UI. "

So when Apple finally make improvements to iOS, you'll say that they are not needed?

FAILURE.

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WTF?

Re: It's like the bike

Really? Try explaining to an iPhone user that wants to use Swype for text input that they have to create their text in the Swype App, then copy and paste (a relatively new innovation in iOS!!!) their text into whichever App they really wanted to enter it into in the first place! Apple have locked the keyboard and their stupid arrogant intransigence means that the user MUST do it the Apple way or the highway, however inconvenient that is. On an Android, the user can set keyboard for all Apps in one go to Swype, then open Apps and use it. On iPhone (and other Apple devices) - IT JUST WORKS (NOT).

For non-technical users, they still need to be able to properly use the Apps they download from the store, and no Apple Corp bullshit will help them understand why they have to jump through hoops to get text into an App the way they choose to, or why the App (Swype) doesn't work the way it does on all their friends' non-Apple devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's like the bike

First of all, you're looking at this from the wrong point of view. It's not that Apple *disabled* (locked, as you say) the ability to switch keyboards. They simply didn't ADD that ability to the OS.

Secondly, I consider it a *feature* that Apple has locked down their devices and apps are all self-contained and nicely sandboxed. True, I don't get the ability to switch out system-wide components like the keyboard, app launcher, lock screen, etc. and apps don't have access to the whole file system, etc., but it does mean that my device will always behave consistently and is effectively impervious to malware and buggy or otherwise misbehaving software, which is exactly what I want from an appliance like a phone. How do you know your precious 3rd party Android keyboard isn't keeping usage stats that get sent back to the developers, effectively leaking your personal and/or confidential information? With iOS you never have to worry about that sort of thing.

(Also, as an aside, I was only able to find one study about whether or not Swype enables faster text entry and the conclusion was that it doesn't. I don't know why people would want to use it other than it's a gimmicky novelty.)

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Paris Hilton

What? Me? Worry?

If the iPad UI looks dated I'd guess it is only because The Apple choose to give its competitors catch up time in order to avoid monopoly wrangles.

The bigger issue may be: does the new Apple still have power, command and authority to surprise us and the market with step-wise incremental improvements AND of the scale show stoppers?

Maybe OS is due for a revamp sometime soon with some slick desktops to reinvigorate an ailing sector?

Time will tell?

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Silver badge

If the iPad UI looks dated I'd guess it is only because The Apple choose to give its competitors catch up time in order to avoid monopoly wrangles.

That's the best apologist bollocks I've read since William Lane Craig. Thanks for a Monday afternoon chuckle.

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Agree. To me, that one qualifies as a comment of the week, mainly for humour value.. :)

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Cannot agree

My Blackberry was very poor. My iPhone is two years old without any issues at all. Talk is very cheap, perhaps a product that works well might be a start.

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Re: Cannot agree

Only blackberry i ever owned (storm or storm 2, cant remember exactly, the one with the clicky screen) was pretty unreliable and had an awful ui. Apple`s smooth as silk interface jumped on it from a great height, but then again the iphone cost twice as much so it bloody well should have.

Ios really is looking old and clunky now though, theres nothing exciting, new or radical about it. Compared to Android ics or jb, its looking horribly dated and the locked downness is a huge minus point.

In fairness, not everyone is tech minded, and like a comfy pair of slippers, having a familiar ui across phone generations is probably quite comforting and reasuring for some.

As for Blackberry, they should do as an earlier poster suggested and talk with Microsoft. Wp8+Blackberries server and security expertise would be a good fit. Far better than trying to enter the market from the back with an os that, just like ios now, just doesnt look exciting or different enough to interest the average consumer to swap from their current choice of smartphone ecosystem.

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Alien

That explains it.

Why every one is trying so VERY, VERY hard to imitate and compete with the iphone. You still don't get it. It's not about the newest technology, it's not about the fancy look. It's about putting together a good product.

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Re: That explains it.

Yes, why would any sane company want to compete with a competitor? And how do you explain it when Apple tries VERY VERY hard to imitate other handsets?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That explains it.

how do you explain it when Apple tries VERY VERY hard to imitate other handsets?

Which one?

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Phones are fashion

As long as there have been phones there have been trends, they come and they go, the iPhone is just another in a very long line of must have phones, BB, do have a point, the iphone is tired and is close to it's end unless they change. of all the improvements over the last few versions of the iPhone does it really make any difference to the first one, not really from a users stand point, yes there is siri and i have a few extra pixels but if i was still on version 1 of the os and version 1 of the phone, would i be missing out on anything, well nothing if my apps still worked

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