By: Hillel Fuld
Over the past two years, I have gained a reputation for being the world’s biggest BlackBerry advocate. In fact, not only am I a huge fan of my BlackBerry Bold, but I have also been known to trash the iPhone as a business tool on many ocassions.
Let’s be honest here, a phone that can run one thing at a time is not a phone for heavy mobile users. If you check my Bold at any given moment, I have at least ten apps running in the background. The thought of having to launch my Twitter (follow me here) app every time I want to receive notifications of new replies makes me laugh at the possibility of using an iPhone.
Yes, I know there are push notifications, but they just don’t cut it for the kind of mobile user that I am. Putting multitasking aside for a second, my main and most important use of mobile phones is by far email. I need an easy and fast email experience, and the need to check every single one of my accounts individually on the iPhone has also prevented me from replacing my Bold.
Since the announcement of the next generation iPhone OS, iPhone 4.0, I have thought about it a lot and realized that assuming the hardware was on par, there were no longer any reasons not to replace my BlackBerry with a next gen iPhone.
The following is a list of reasons a lot of people, myself included, will finally (most likely) be going over to the dark side, and replacing their business smartphones with a nice shiny new iPhone:
- Multitasking: As Jobs pointed out, they could have implemented backgrounding apps years ago. They could have done it like Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and even Android does it. However, similar to copy/paste, they (and when I say they, I am pretty sure it was Steve himself who wanted to wait till the implementation was perfect) preferred to wait until they can add full multitasking that will offer users a seamless experience that will not drain their battery. According to Jobs, they have succeeded in doing this and the new multitasking technology will offer an experience like we have never seen before. Judging by the videos I have seen of the iPhone 4.0′s multitasking abilities so far, I tend to believe that this time, Steve Jobs is not exaggerating.
- Unified Inbox: Oh, the things that excite us geeks… I know it is not the biggest deal in the world, but the main reason people use BlackBerrys is email. With the ability to view all your email in one inbox on the iPhone, the Apple email experience will be one step closer to that of RIM’s. Given all the other reasons in this list, and all the other iPhone advantages, I am willing to live with the current gap in email experience, which still leaves BlackBerry ahead, but not by much.
- Better Camera: We do not know what the new iPhone’s photography capabilities will be, but we do know that the new iPhone has a bigger lens and a built in flash. The current iPhone 3Gs already leads the pack of 3 megapixel phone cameras and it is safe to assume the next iPhone will have a 5mp shooter, at least. As opposed to the Bold and every other BlackBerry for that matter, this will mean people will actually be able to use the camera on their phones. Wow, the thought of having a camera as good as that on an N95, without the painful experience of Symbian… It’s a refreshing thought.
- Secondary Camera: There was recently a debate among my Twitter friends whether video conferencing on mobile phones has failed as a technology or it will still be around in ten years from now. I personally believe this technology is just at its beginning, and the lack of a second camera on BlackBerrys is something that has bothered me from day one. I know most people do not use the second camera, but I still think manufacturers should give us that option. Besides, I love the mirror apps that transform your phone into a mirror by using your second camera. Use it all the time on the N900.
- Higher Resolution Screen: Once again, we do not know what the resolution will be on the iPhone 4g (or is it the iPhone HD?), but if we trust the experts over at Gizmodo, the screen is of significantly higher resolution than the 3Gs. Being as the iPhone’s main attraction is as an all around excellent multimedia device, watching movies and viewing pictures has to be significantly better than the experience on the Bold, which is more of a business phone. The Bold, as well as other smartphones on the market offer some seriously amazing viewing experiences, but judging by the pictures of the iPhone 4G, as well as Gizmodo’s professional opinion, the resolution on the next gen iPhone will blow us all away.
- App Folders: Really not much to say here, with the 185,000 iPhone apps available, and the hundreds of apps currently on my iPod Touch, this new feature will make it all much more manageable. The current experience of using apps on the iPhone is a bit of a mess, and the ability to create folders on your home screen, not only makes it easier to find apps, it also enables you to store over ten times the amount of apps you were able to on the 3.0 software.
- Game Center: I have to be honest, I am not a big gamer. I like the occasional cute iPhone game, but I am not one of those serious video game enthusiasts. I know the title is reasons I am getting an iPhone, but this point is really a reason others will be getting an iPhone. The new game center will provide a new and competitive iPhone gaming platform, which is sure to attract many gamers who have hesitated to get an iPhone till now.
- Bluetooth Keyboard: One of the main advantages of the BlackBerry or any other business smartphones is the existence of a hardware keyboard. To be honest, this was not the biggest deal to me. Yes, I prefer pressing keys over typing on a virtual keyboard, but the iPhone’s corrective software ties up the game. In any case, even if you must have a hardware keyboard, this is no longer a reason to stay away from the Apple device. The iPhone will now support Bluetooth keyboards, and you can be sure that Apple, Belkin, Griffin, and many other accessory manufacturers will be making some amazing Bluetooth keyboards for the iPhone. Yes, it means carrying around another item, but I am pretty sure it won’t be long before such keyboards will fold up to the size of something you can hold on a keychain.
- Storage: Again, then there is a big question mark surrounding the amount of storage that will be available on the next iPhone. However, what we know is that there will be 80-100 gb PLUS a memory card slot. By my calculations, that can bring you up to either 96 or 116 gb of storage. Last I checked, no other phone on the market comes anywhere close…
I am sure this list will eventually get a lot longer since the new iPhone has over 1500 new APIs and over 100 new features, but most of them are still unknown. Based on the features we do already know, as well as the videos and pictures we saw on Gizmodo, I think Apple will increase its market share significantly, especially among the business sector.
Having said that, and to be fair and not fanboy-like, I will say that there are still some major advantages to owning a BlackBerry, advantages that will ensure that the hardcore BlackBerry fans stick to their opinion that the iPhone is more of a toy and less of a business tool. Some of these advantages include an open platform, a built in hardware keyboard, BBM (the biggest advantage for me, and one that I will surely miss), and more.
At the end of the day, I still prefer an awesome Web-browsing experience, seamless syncing capabilities, an advanced media player, and close to 200,000 available apps.
What are your thoughts on the next iPhone? Will it blow RIM out of the water or is it just another version of a mobile toy?