Probably one of the longest running punch lines in the technology community is BlackBerry. It is commonly known to have slow internet connection, outdated operating systems (OS) and overall inferior to popular product like the Iphone or the Galaxy. I owned a BlackBerry about two years ago and I had similar complaints, but I still preferred it to the Iphone. Recently, CEO of BlackBerry Thorsten Heins made a bold statement against the Apple company: the Iphone has become outdated, passé and generally boring. While such statements might just be to promote his own business, Heins might be onto something about Apple’s current innovation drought.
Since its inception in 2007, the Iphone has stayed the same with home button, touch sensitive zoom and scroll and the rounded icon imagery on the home screen. The software has gone through plenty of updates including the App Store and Siri, but the hardware, design and productivity has not changed in years. There is a term that can describe the rut that Apple in and it is called skeuomorphism. It means that an object or design borrows features from the past eve if it is functionally obsolete. The visual styles is meant to bring familiarity to new products which can sometimes come off as tacky or gaudy, which Apple tends to do with its texture based icons. And at first, the products skeuomorphic elements were revolutionary and interesting. But after so many years of using the same techniques, the textures and user interface has become stale and tired. Heins decided to bring up the dwindling Iphone around this time most likely to boost the hype around BlackBerry’s new curve ball that it is about to throw.
The BlackBerry 10 was released back in January of this year and it took everyone by surprise. The user interface and general hardware had been completely changed, gutted everything from its old products and started new. Did it pay off? Sort of. The mobile OS for BlackBerry 10 is missing a few features that can agitate users, but it has ultimately improved from previous smartphones from RIM (Research in Motion). As a product of 4G LTE, wireless connection is much faster and the interface allows users to multitask with different open applications, a useful tool for the modern businessman or businesswoman. BlackBerry 10 has been called polished and fresh and could easily make its way back on top and overthrow Apple. Note that I say could rather than will, especially since other companies like Samsung are growing in popularity and innovation.
Because of how much power the company has acquired, Apple most likely doesn’t care what Heins or BlackBerry has to say, but it does show that it’s not just Samsung that is pointing out the flaws in Apple. Fighting back would appear to be petty but the company should not have to face this kind of media abuse. The return of BlackBerry shows how fast technological innovation works and how it effects competitors and product consumption. Those who have said that BlackBerry is a joke cannot deny the fact that the company is at least working hard to be creative and new in a market where the top company could easily fall within a week.