Friday, January 29, 2010

Will the iPad sell more Blackberries?

If you get an iPad, then the iPhone isn't the right phone for you.

The reason is, the iPhone is great at what it does, but it is crippled in a lot of ways (compared to a Blackberry). Which phone you choose is basically about which priorities are more important. Many reviewers when comparing the two say the solution is simple: Get both (Boy Genius, Crackberry).

Of course that's not a good solution for the rest of us, so that's where the iPad comes in. Allow me to explain.

I own a Macbook and a Blackberry. I use both for work extensively. Having a Mac as my computer, I've been thinking... "maybe I should trade in for an iPhone". Why would I want to do this? Two main reasons: 1) Seamless Integration with my Mac for iTunes and iMovie and 2) the App store.

Reason 1 is more of a convenience issue that I can work around. For example, my Blackbery records video in 3GP which isn't compatible with iMovie, so I have to convert it first. Also, I have to sync my music through the Mac Blackberry desktop instead of iTunes, which is just another step in the process. Not problems I can't work around, so not a reason alone to switch to the iPhone.

The App store on the other hand, may be worth the price of admission. Now, all of the biggie apps you can find on both the Blackberry and the iPhone (Google Maps, Yellow pages, audio streaming apps, Twitter Apps, Shazam, Weather, etc...). Blackberry even has a few biggies that iPhone doesn't have, like a dedicated gMail app, Latitude, and Google voice (for Americans, not available in Canada yet).

But where the iPhone really shines is in the "App for everything" category, and the fact that any software I have for my Mac seems to have a corresponding app for the iPhone. Fox example, I use the todo manager "Things" all the time - which only has an iPhone app. Also, the apps are way slicker on the iPhone in general (There are about a half dozen GPS running programs for BB, but they all look like MS DOS programs). I would hardly define Blackberry apps as graceful or fun to use. Also, forget about finding any games that are actually fun to play on the Blackberry. Oh, and the browser is lame.

But what holds me back from an iPhone is two issues: 1) It's slow at the core smartphone tasks and 2) Apple seems to intentionally cripple it. Let's dive in.

I'm a bit of a blackberry ninja and can whip through a pile of messages in no time, one handed, and can use the keyboard without looking at the keys. If you know your shortcut keys on the BB it is a really efficient machine. I played around with an iPhone for a bit and ran into the following issues:
  • Why does it beep in my ear all the time when on a call? What do you mean I can't customize that setting?
  • What do you mean I can't run Google latitude while I type an email, what's the point then?
  • What do you mean I have to open every email account, SMS account, phone log, instant messaging app separately to get my messages?
  • Why does it take me 10 seconds just to open the first email message?
  • Why can't I take a picture from the camera app, and send it to Facebook in one click?
  • When I pick up the iPhone, why does it only show me the last message that was received?
  • How can I tell that there is a message if it's sitting across the desk (i.e. where's the blinky light)
  • Where is the flash on the camera?
  • Why do I have to stop what I'm doing and pay so much attention to this thing just to make sure I hit the right keys?!
These are all basic smartphone features that the blackberry has had (And does well) for years. It seems sometimes like many iPhone users put up with it because they just don't know any better. When Apple does eventually release these features, every iPhone user will jump and shout for joy that their advanced phone gets the basic features that they should have had from day one. Last year's big features were (drum roll please) copy and paste, video recording, search and sort-of-push technology. Well, kill the fattened calf please, what a miracle. Colour me underwhelmed. Oh, and for Americans, you're stuck with crummy AT&T (In Canada you get the the iPhone on like 6 carriers now, so no issues here).

In comes the iPad, essentially a big iPhone. Why get one if you have an iPhone? Well... it's bigger. It's fun to surf the web on. OK reasons, but I don't think iPhone users are going to rush out to buy an iPad when their iPhone can do most of what an iPad does.

However, for the Blackberry user, the iPad offers the opportunity to have the best of BOTH worlds. You can use all of the cool apps available in the App store (and now the iBookstore as well) AND have the efficiency of a Blackberry.

Without the iPad, choosing between the iPhone and Blackberry is a toss-up depending on your priorities. If you had an iPad and had to choose one phone, I think that the choice between Blackberry and iPhone is easier ... choose the Blackberry.


moi- Laura said...

i totally loved this! i acttually have a blackberry adn when i bought it a frimd of mine told me that the iphone was better. the iphone is sooo slow and i have an ipod touch so what's the point. the blackberry is better as a phone

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