After two weeks of having the new iPhone 3G I’ve come to conclude, and so has many other users, that the iPhone succeeds some ways, but fail in others. I’ve been using a Blackberry for a few years and I couldn’t help but compare the use of the iPhone to RIM’s Blackberry.
GUI (Graphical User Interface) and OS– The iPhone is popularly known for its GUI. The simplicity of the touch interface makes navigating through the iPhone’s OS easy for almost any user. Like the Blackberry’s OS they are both solid. Through the years, RIM’s Blackberry devices have been improving and many of its users have found tricks and third-party apps to make their BB as efficient and useful as possible.
Winner – Tie
Internet Browsing – There is no other phone device that can beat the iPhone in terms of web browsing. The generous screen size and the Safari browser make browsing the internet-on-the-go a treat. The Blackberry’s browser inability to display webpages in its true form really limits the browsing experience. I think this area is what really lacking from RIM and other phone manufacturers.
Winner – iPhone
Battery life* – The implementation of 3G on the iPhone allows for faster data transfer but the cost is a quickly drained battery. For me, normal use has my battery down by half right before lunchtime. That’s from 730am – 1130am. For heavy users without any charging throughout the day you can probably expect the iPhone to be completely drained before your work day ends.
Winner – Blackberry
Third-Party Apps – When I got my iTunes account setup I was excited to get my hands on some of the iPhone’s Apps. But aftera few days of downloading and playing around with the apps (free apps only) it became clear that the majority of them are useless and that’s if they even work at all. Many of the apps I’ve downloaded crashed. I’m unsure if it’s something with the apps themselves or with the iPhone. My biggest gripe is that one application can be running at a time. Apple doesn’t allow apps to run in the background, so programs such as AIM are almost useless unless you have the app constantly on in the current view of your phone, so multitasking with apps is out of the question. Whereas with the Blackberry you can run multiple apps in the background and it still be able to notify the user of incoming data or messages.
Winner – Blackberry
Email and Messaging– iPhone is playing catch-up to RIM’s Blackberry and they have now implemented push email. Push email is very important in a corporate environment. With the implementation of Microsoft Exchange many business users now have an excuse to convince their IT department to support the iPhone. For personal-use push email you’ll need to get MobileMe service from Apple. MobileMe is very similar to RIM’s BIS. Your MobileMe account pushes all emails to your iPhone. You can forward your emails from other accounts to MobileMe and you’ll get an immediately email push to your iPhone. The downside to this is that the MobileMe service costs $100 a year, but you get more than just push email. MobileMe will sync with your contacts and calendar events. Unlike with a Blackberry you get an account with your standard internet service package from your cell phone service provider. Heavy email users and texters will prefer the Blackberry as the iPhone does not have a tactile keyboard. If you’re a speedy typer on a Blackberry you can expect your type speed to be reduced to about half. The virtual keyboard doesn’t provide any tactile feedback so you’re always constantly hitting the wrong key. On the upside for the iPhone is that it supports IMAP. So you can access your email server and work directly with it.
Winner – Blackberry
In conclusion the Blackberry, in my case, the curve, beats out the iPhone 3G, or without. But there’s something I must admit. I started writing this review a week after I got the iPhone and there was a little subjective bias involve at first. It’s been three weeks now and I finally have time to finish up this review. So far my initial opinion of the iPhone has changed in terms of its functionality. Fortunately, after an ample amount of time you’ll seem to forget it’s shortcoming and enjoy what it really is;a neat phone device that is great to kill time, play video games, and surf the web. In a business environment or a heavy email and text user the Blackberry device is the way to go. People need to know that the iPhone is a consumer device and aims at the average user. There are certain features that the iPhone desperately need if it wants to really compete with RIM in the enterprise market. Adding push email and MS Exchange support doesn’t cut it. First and foremost the iPhone needs to have cut and paste feature. As great as Apple is as a software company I’m very disappointed that a simple feature like that has not been added in their first generation phone. Second, the iPhone needs a notification system or process to let the user know they have an email, or active calendar event. All Blackberry devices have a blinking LED that lets a user know they have a message without having to take the phone out of their holster or if their phone is on a table on silent mode. For the iPhone if the phone is locked you’ll have to press the menu button, and then unlock the phone to see the message indicator. The iPhone should at least have the ability to display a email message notifications on the phone before you unlock it. Luckily for Apple these things are software issues and can be patched and added through firmware updates. For those users out there who are using a smartphone such as a Blackberry Curve or similar go ahead and hold off on the iPhone 3G. It’s a good thing that the phone is sold out everywhere. This gives Apple time to fix many of the browser crash issues and app crash problems before a new set of buyers gets disappointed.
*By setting your emails to fetch less frequently or none at all can save quite a bit of charge on your battery. If you’re like me and you work in an are with a wifi hotspot turning off 3G mode saves even more battery juice. In combination the amount of battery charge saved is very exceptable.