What the hell? My conflicted rant about iPhone.
I’m trying my first new OS in 7 years. Let’s say I’m being realistic without being cynical. This could fail, but despite being a 7 year iOS devotee and a die hard Apple guy, I have an open mind that maybe the Blackberry is the better phone for me. If you’re paying attention Blackberry - this is your shot, and maybe your blueprint.
I am all Apple. Macbook Air, iPad, iPhone, and a drawer of iPods back up this claim. I bought a Surface tablet and while it’s a very nice device that proved Microsoft could still create a great user experience, it was hampered by their inability to leave behind those legacy users unable to abandon their antiquated Windows XP/98/95/3.1 habits. This is to say I’m still open minded. Sort of.
Before my looooong run on iPhone, I was a Blackberry guy. A wicked typist on the Blackberry qwerty, I longed for the “convergence” the tech press promised was coming where my iPod, Blackberry, and computer would magically morph together into one device. And then the iPhone happened and I knew Apple would deliver on this long overdue promise, which they have.
Yet after 7 years I just won’t write an email on my iPhone unless the world is ending. I’ve decided that the recipient of my text message will just have to “figure out” what the F*%k I mean to type. I don’t go anywhere without an iPhone charger and the switch to lightening connectors was great, except I never seem to have a cable when I need one. As elegant as the iPhone experience is, I don’t find it reliable as a phone, email device, texting device, or a last all day device. In fact, while it’s great at games and music and photos and social networking and stupid ass games, and everything else, I find myself avoiding use of those things so that I have a sliver of battery life left when I need it. WTF?!
Why should I carry an iPod when I have an iPhone? Because I want to save battery life on my phone? This doesn’t make sense. But you can only Shazam and Yelp and Angry Birds and Rdio and Waze and Instagram for so long before two things occur to you -
1. No freaking wonder my battery is dead by 2pm.
2. Am I getting any work done?
3. Is there a device that is better for typing, calling, and emailing that will at least let me Shazam and Yelp when I absolutely need to?
The iPhone, and iOS is lovely, thoroughly considered, and makes you want to use it. It’s elegant, and no one else delivers user experience like Apple. Android is a spastic, fragmented mess. When I have picked up a Samsung, HTC, or Moto device I think, decent sometimes great hardware - worst operating system I’ve ever touched. I get the impression that people who are passionate about Android devices are really just trying to demonstrate their rejection of Apple. Otherwise they are lunatics.
Blackberry 10 doesn’t strike me as elegant, but it feels concrete and purposeful. It’s not overdone. It’s not trying to hard. In fact, sometimes it just gets out of the way altogether, which is exactly what I want it to do. I may want to touch and play with the iPhone but the last time a device made me feel more productive, it was a Blackberry.
I decided it was time to see if Blackberry still held a little of it’s productivity magic and after 7 years of using iPhone, I decided to switch.
Blackberry’s best foot forward
Picking between the Z30 and Q10 was really hard because I longed for a keyboard. With the really interesting looking Blackberry Passport a few months away, the Z30 felt like Blackberry’s best foot forward. Ultimately, the massive 5” screen on the Z30 won me over. I decided this would be an operating system test, since I didn’t think anyone’s virtual keyboard would be great.
I was wrong…mostly. The Z30 hardware is as nice as the best non-iPhone. (If Verizon could keep it’s damn brand off phones, the Z30 would look better.) While I longed for the feel of a Blackberry qwerty, I was shocked at the Z30 touch keyboard. The larger screen helps, but the flick typing was proving to be a real asset. There are quirks for sure, like trying to move the cursor to edit, but it’s more of a learning curve than a problem.
And there are apps! Not millions, but some. Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are even integrated into the OS. I can instagram and do Expensify, Soundhound for song discovery, and seamlessly use work email and calendar. Anything beyond that is pure entertainment and that’s where my iPad kicks ass anyway. Frankly, when I have time for entertainment I’m typically home where I have a Playstation 4, Apple TV, and things like books (strange tablet sized paper devices.)
Blackberry Hub = Get Shit Done
Blackberry Hub should be a prescription for ADHD. Busy professional? Find yourself waiting for the next interruption? Blackberry Hub. I love it. My nirvana is a keyboard, a touch screen, Rdio, and Blackberry Hub. Maybe that’s the Blackberry Passport, I don’t know. It seems so big. I want a keyboard and more screen real estate, but I would also like to be able to put the phone in my pocket when I go to the store. This is clearly the difference between Apple and Blackberry. Apple wants to make sure you can use your thumb and anyone can fit it in nearly any pocket. Blackberry is saying, “Hey if you want a big screen and a better typing experience, you’re going to have a big device.”
It is a strange experiment in user experience, for sure. The Blackberry is not an iPhone, and that just might turn out to be ok. At least it’s not an Android.
Check back and see how this goes…