Apple iPhone 3GS From the Perspective of a BlackBerry User, Smartphone Round Robin

iPhone 3GS Review - Smartphone Round Robin
By Kevin Michaluk on 18 Jan 2010 05:53 pm EST
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Yin and Yang is the concept of duality forming a whole. In our every day lives, we see many examples of Yin and Yang before us. Think of pairings like night and day, or female and male. Diving deeper into the principles of Yin and Yang in Taoism, you'll find that neither are absolute, nor are they static, and that the summation of Yin and Yang form a whole and that their balance can be skewed due to outside influences. Over thousands of years a LOT of things have been sorted and grouped under Yin and Yang classification systems. You know where I'm going with this. When it comes to smartphones, there has been no example more clear in demonstrating Yin and Yang then that of Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's traditional (non-touch) BlackBerry.

I've said it many times over the past two years, be it in blog posts, on our CrackBerry podcast, or to individuals asking advice on what device to buy, that if you want the absolute no-compromise best smartphone solution that you keep a BlackBerry in one pocket and an iPhone (or iPod Touch) in the other. Though both Apple, RIM and every other manufacturer and platform in the smartphone space for that matter have the aim of developing the one device you need (in other words they're trying to be both Yin and Yang), I still think as of now it takes two devices to have Best of Class everything. A device like the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the ultimate communication and productivity tool, which excels in areas that matter both in enterprise (security, deployment, IT management) and to people who run their business and their lives depending on the phone, maximizing every minute of their day (one-handed speed of use, battery life, push everything, etc.). Apple hit the market with a compelling touchscreen experience that's both intuitive and enjoyable to use that fits into the Apple ecosystem of products and services (ie. iTunes) and took it to the next level by causing a revolution in the mobile app space. So while the BlackBerry is still the ultimate communication / utilty tool, the iPhone arguably remains the ultimate convergence device.

Compared to last year's Apple and RIM devices in the Round Robin, this year with the iPhone 3GS and Bold 9700 and Storm2 what we really have are better BlackBerrys and better iPhones. They're still both Best in Class this year as they were in their respective areas of strength last year, which means which is best for you will depend upon your priorities and your needs. We can't end a CrackBerry Round Robin review in three paragraphs though, so keep reading for more thoughts on the subject!

A Look Back at Frenemy #1 - the iSmudge and Ahh Frack Phone... 

Every year I try and come up with a new nickname for the iPhone to tick iPhone owners off. It's not that I really have anything against the iPhone or iPhone owners, but as leader of CrackBerry Nation that's part of my job duties. In the 2007 Round Robin I called the iPhone the iSmudge. That seemed fitting since, well, the screen did smudge and at the time BlackBerry didn't have its own bSmudge yet in the Storm. In last year's Round Robin I called the iPhone the Ahh Frack phone, for the simple reason that sooo many times when I observed people using their iPhones in public that they were always saying Ahh F**k because they accidentally tapped the wrong thing on the display. Kinda funny, and true for a lot of iPhone users. In 2009 I have become much less clever and much more vulgar in my old age... these days whenever the iPhone comes up in a conversation I simply refer to it as a douchebag phone. Now I don't really think of it as a douchebag phone, but for some reason I just enjoy putting iPhone owners on the defensive (it always leads to a fun conversation) and the look in the iPhone owner's face when you say it is simply priceless. Now that I think about it though, there do seem to a be lot more douchebags in the world than there used to be and there are more iPhones out there these days than there were... so maybe we're actually onto something here (for much more douchebag talk, listen to our first CrackBerry Podcast of 2010). If we go the correlation route, I guess we could also blame iPhone owners on the recession too, since the economy has gone downhill since the iPhone hit the market. It must be all those iPhone users killing time playing games instead of being productive. Want to end the economic downturn? Give everyone a BlackBerry! :)

In the past two Round Robins I nitpicked on pretty much every little thing I dislike about the iPhone (fyi... I've given it a lot of compliments as well), so follow the links below if you want to get up to speed on where I have stood historically with Apple's touchscreen. I'll try to talk about "other" things in this review rather than bring up what I've gone into extensive detail on in the past.

The iPhone 3G I reviewed last year was already a good phone in my opinion. The release of iPhone 3.0 software have made the iPhone 3G an even better phone and the further tweaks made to the new iPhone 3GS make that an even better phone still. So let's take a look at it!

My Round Robin iPhone 3GS Video First Impressions

The iPhone 3GS. The S stands for Sex. At least that's what Rene Ritchie, Editor in Chief of TheiPhoneblog, tells me. He might be lying to me though (he does that sometimes) or maybe he's just got that on his brain... he is from Montreal afterall. Seriously though, the S is for speed and if you want a full run down and detailed walk through of what that means, you'll want to jump over to TiPb and read Rene's detailed iPhone 3GS Reviews.

As for the Coles Notes version, essentially the iPhone 3GS has gained:

  • a faster processor: now at 600mHz vs. 412mHz. Also gained Cortex A8 architecture which makes it better at doing uhh.. stuff :)
  • a better graphics card: the Power VR SGX GPU supports Open GL ES 2.0 standard
  • double the ram: now supposedly at 256MB up from 128MB on previous iPhones
  • more onboard storage: up to 32GB max if you shell out more $$ 
  • better cell networking capabilities: from 3G to 3.5G/HSPA 7.2
  • 3 megapixel camera, now with video recording: egadz! you can record video on a smartphone? who would have thunk it? :)
  • and also Voice Control and a built-in Compass
The iPhone 3.0 and 3.1 updates also brought forth a bunch of changes and improvements (Apple finally invented copy and paste). You can learn about them here: iPhone 3.0 walkthrough | iPhone 3.1 walkthrough. Because both the iPhone 3GS and 3G look basically identical, I think it's easy for people looking to justify passing on the 3GS in favor of the cheaper and older 3G in order to save money up front. That's a mistake in my opinion. The much greater expense in smartphone ownership over the life of the phone is the monthly bill. The amount you save up front on the cost of a cheaper device is small compared to the full cost of device ownership over the time you're on contract. If you use your iPhone a lot, you'll find the 3GS to be demonstrably faster. That said, if you're set on an iPhone, save up for a couple months to get the 3GS vs. going for the 3G sooner. Although I'm guessing the iPhone 3GES or 4G or something is just months away from getting announced, so you never really can win.

Getting Intimate With the Apple iPhone 3GS - Turn Ons and Turn Offs

iPhone 3GS Review
BlackBerry Storm2, Apple iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Bold 9700

I'm not an iPhone person. Period. I've tried. I REALLY HAVE tried to make the iPhone my everyday device - the one device I can use to handle not only my communication and work tasks that I love my BlackBerry so much for, but then also all that other fun stuff like media and games that iPhones do so well. No matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. I still find the iPhone uncomfortable to hold. Sure I could get used to it, but if I know my BlackBerry Bold 9700 feels sooo much better in my hand then why would I want to use something that doesn't feel as good? I've tried relatively successfully to become better at using the iPhone one-handed, but that also is a bit awkward - it's definitely been designed for two-handed use (ie. hold it in your left hand, tap with your right index...). It still takes too many steps to do simple things that I can do in half the steps on a BlackBerry. So it's not that the iPhone can't perform the tasks I need it to do - for the most part it has the capabilities - it's just that I don't like the actual way you have to use the device. It's designed for you to stop what you're doing in order to pick it up and use it, vs. BlackBerry who's user experience is optimized for on the go use. And I'm an on the go sort of guy.

Some boys and girls just prefer BlackBerrys over iPhones. Watch the video above for a real life example. :)

To a power communicator, I find the iPhone is slow and cumbersome though I'm sure some iPhone owners out there will disagree. I know there are a LOT of BlackBerry users out there who made the iPhone switch (or got one in addition to their BlackBerry) who feel the same way on this subject. It's not that they dislike the iPhone - there's not much you can genuinely dislike about it as it really is  compelling all-around consumer product, but that they just like using their BlackBerry better for all that every day communication stuff that eats up the majority of their usage smartphone usage time. Apple won't change their way of doing things to appeal to these people. They don't have to. The great majority of iPhone owners likely were not hardcore BlackBerry users before that so never experienced what I'm talking about now (ignorance is bliss) and the ones that were who still want to get in on the Apple action and want the best of both worlds will pick up an iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch as their second device as well. It really is Apples and BlackBerrys. Yin and Yang. 

iPhone 3GS Review
The view from behind...

While there are bunch of things I personally dislike about the iPhone experience, there are a lot of things I love about it. There are also some things I somehow like and dislike both at the same time. I love the web browser. I hate that the battery isn't replaceable. I love the gaming experience. I hate the fact there's only one little speaker that I almost always end up covering when playing a game which drives me crazy. I like the iTunes integration. I hate that I'm tied to iTunes and Apple's App store. I like the multitude of apps available. I hate the multitude of useless apps available. I like the fluidity of the OS - it feels modern. I hate the fluidity of the OS - the transitions waste time and you can out tap quicker than the device can keep up. You get the idea.

One thing I really both LOVE and HATE is the simplicity of the iPhone OS. I love how intuitive it is. I mentioned last year how I was impressed that both my niece and nephew at 4 and 5 years of age could pick up the iPhone and use it no problem. I ended up getting them an iPod touch this year for Christmas because following their first iPhone encounter they kept bugging me for my iPhone whenever I saw them (which I always let them down as I never have it with me since it's always sitting at home with a dead battery). I was even more impressed that my 65 year old dad, who'd never touched a cell phone in his life, was able to pick it up one day and checkout the weather. Whenever I have handed him my BlackBerry, he just looks at it and says "too many buttons" although now that my mom is hooked on her Bold I think he's a bit more willing to give the BlackBerry a try again. Conversely, the BlackBerry operating system experience takes a bit more time to understand and get used to. For example, my older brother finally got his first real smartphone, a BlackBerry Tour, last week. Prior to that he was always on some kind of crap flip phone (just used his cell for emergencies). On Friday night I gave him an in-person BlackBerry 101 lesson and taught him all the basics. My older brother is a smart guy. Way smarter than me. Mechanical engineer, and is pretty much brilliant at everything he does. Yet some of the initial questions he had for me were surprising. In just picking up and using the device, he didn't really get how the BlackBerry was multi-tasking (exiting to the homescreen but leaving apps open was confusing, and then backing out of apps having them close). The whole menu key / click action on trackball / back button / home button actions just was not that intuitive as to how it all worked together. Once we spent a bit of time walking through the device and the way the OS works (very hierarchical in design, menu key for options) and showed him how to customize profiles and settings and taught him some shortcuts, he was good to go. More than good to go in fact. He was blown away by the fact you could set in-holster / out-of-holster profiles. Speaking to him last night, I could tell he was already hooked and was regretting the fact he didn't get a BlackBerry years ago. He's LOVING it. But these examples just illustrated to me again how different that initial user experience can be and also shows where RIM needs to do better at making that initial BlackBerry experience more intuitive and more positive. At the same time, Apple's simplicity is also what limits it. While BlackBerry arguably has too many options, the iPhone doesn't have enough. I'm pretty sure after only four days of BlackBerry ownership, my brother wouldn't even be able to switch to an iPhone now because he wouldn't be able to customize the notifications the way he wants to now that he knows that's something he's able to do. It still drives me nuts that if I'm on a call on the iPhone and an email comes in that the thing bongs in my ear and I can't do anything about it. And I hate that I can't turn off that search page when you scroll to the far left of the OS. I do it accidentally way too often. 

iPhone 3GS Review
iPhone 3GS vs. BlackBerry Storm2

iPhone 3GS Review
BlackBerry Bold 9700 vs. Apple iPhone 3GS

iPhone 3GS Review
Apple iPhone 3GS vs. BlackBerry Bold 9700

Apple iPhone 3GS
Apple iPhone 3GS vs. BlackBerry Storm2

BlackBerry Users on the Apple iPhone 3GS

So what would a BlackBerry user gain in switching over to the iPhone? What would they lose? The answer varies a bit depending on if you're a non-touch or touchscreen BlackBerry owner, but for the most part are consistent:

Web Browser: Apple's Mobile Safari browser is pretty awesome. BlackBerry's web browser? Not so much. RIM has announced a Webkit browser is coming so hopefully BlackBerry will have a real kick ass browser soon too. But for now, this is definitely an iPhone advantage.

Apps, Apps, Apps: The Apple App Store now has over 100,000 apps. Over at theiphoneblog, I asked iPhone owners how many apps they had installed on their device and how many they used regularly. Most had anywhere from 50 to 150 apps installed, but from there most only used 5 to 15 on a regular basis. A few people claimed to use two to three times that on a regular basis. Regardless, it shows that volume really isn't what matters in an app store -- nobody is running 35,000 apps on their iPhone -- but rather finding the apps you want. BlackBerry apps are growing in number - things are coming to a point where most people can find good "general" apps that appeal to a large group of people. What we're still missing are those really specific apps that appeal to less people but that the Apple App Store has. A recreational pilot can pull up a whole bunch of apps on their iPhone. How many can they find for their BlackBerry?? People won't and don't literally download an app for everything onto their single device, but it's definitely awesome to have an app for everything available. On the apps front, the fact that the iPhone lets you save apps onto the device memory and doesn't limit how big apps can be in filesize is solid. Overall, the iPhone runs apps very well. 

To me, those are the two big things a BlackBerry user would love about Apple right now. As for what you'd lose, I've pretty much iterated it throughout this post. Traditional BlackBerry users who value that day to day BlackBerry abusing way of life will feel like they're giving up a lot to make the switch, though they might like an iPhone in addition to that BB they're rocking. There's a good chance Storm owners would take the jump to an iPhone more easily than those who are addicted to a physical keyboard. I think a lot of the original BlackBerry Storm owners out there on Verizon were people who ideally wanted an iPhone to begin with but weren't willing to switch to AT&T to get one. When the Storm came out it, it was sort of like Verizon's answer to the iPhone... but we all know that it wasn't. Storm owners had to put up with a lot with that device. The Storm2 is improved, but I'd argue that RIM stil hasn't put out a real compelling touchscreen experience just yet; rather, they've adapted their non-touch OS for use with with a touchscreen. It works well, and a lot of people have grown to love their Storms, but there's still work to be done from RIM on their touchscreen experience. Of course, every BlackBerry user gets used to things like BBM, awesome battery life (on most devices), excellent displays, solid reliability, speed of use, visiting CrackBerry.com everyday, etc.. These are things you don't always notice when you have them, but when you miss them you quickly long for their return.

Some Closing Thoughts - a look at the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs

Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs
BlackBerry is Best in Class at communication/productivity, iPhone at the fun stuff

It wouldn't be Round Robin review this year unless I brought up CrackBerry Kevin's Hierarchy of Smartphone Needs. But I really need to here as it all ties together the Yin and Yang analogy introduced in the beginning of this article. As you can tell from the image, for Best in Class these days it still takes two. RIM's approach to the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs has been to start at the bottom and build it up block by block, solid as can be. They have a couple gaps to fill in (cough.. web browser, more app memory, better memory management) but are now at a point where they are legitimately beginning to tackle the top of the pyramid. The announcements at this year's DevCon have really breathed new life into what has been a bit of an aging OS. RIM seems pretty confident that the BBOS is like a fine wine, it's going to get better with age and I hope they prove that to be the case. Assuming things go as planned, it's just a matter of time before RIM climbs to the top of this pyramid. Apple's approach to the Hierarchy has been a lot different. With the original iPhone, they basically tackled the middle of the pyramid mixing up some cool features for everyday use with an operating system that was simple and intuitive and hardware that was pretty revolutionary at the time it was introduced. From there, they've been climbing both up and down the pyramid, filling in gaps here and there. Their momentum in the app race has the iPhone pyramid reaching higher into the sky than anybody else out there right now, and it'll be interesting to see what it all transpires to over the next year or two. Both Apple and RIM will continue to build better iPhones and better BlackBerrys, with BlackBerry likely to become a bit more iPhone-like and iPhones trying to improve a bit in the areas where RIM is so strong.

Some people love BlackBerrys. Some people love iPhones. Heck, some people love both - they each have their strengths and weaknesses and you can make your arguments for or against either all day long. Your priorities and needs will determine which is best for you at any given time. One thing is for sure though... both RIM and Apple have been selling a ton of smartphones over the past couple of years and the smartphone market still has a lot of room for growth in it. Even as more competition enters the race (android) you're still going to see both of these companies continue to thrive.

That's it for now. I've kept this one pretty tame (and a bit all over the place). Be sure to sound off with your iPhone / BlackBerry likes and dislikes in the comments. 

48 comments

WhoolioPreludee

DAMN KEV you got hairy arms! hahahahahah

Kevin Michaluk

LOL. THOSE AREN'T MY ARMS :)

We snapped the photos when we were doing our Round Robin kick-off event in Orlando back in November. Not even sure who's hands those are in that photo...  funny

Xopher

That was a very level-headed review. I can definitely see where having an iTouch with my BB would fill the gaps.

Dem0

Im thinking on a itouch for fun stuff and multimedia to complement my bold 9700

cadsystems

Just picked one up a few weeks ago. It's made me want Verizon to get the iPhone so be careful. I'm hoping Apple adds multi-tasking, I find myself needing it for some very basic things like looking up words when i'm trying to decide if something should be hypochondriac or hypercondriac, some of the spell check options don't pop up all the time. Same with blackberry so I usually hold down the bb key switch to the web and spell it in google to see what comes up.

Also it would be helpful to have it when I'm trying to enter in some things from the web.

Other than that, it's my go to device when I'm near wifi. Fast seamless web browsing. i have about 5 pages of Apps, i can barely load 5 apps on my Storm before it starts barking at me about removing apps.

It has a ton of accessories, good luck finding an accessory for rim, they can't decide on a form factor to save their life. Makes it hard for manufacturers to design anything for them.

Let's see, what else. I think that the iphone verizon is another year away so I will wait. It will be a pleasant surprise if it is announced this month.

WhoolioPreludee

we (I) need more footage of that hot chick in the bikini. its raining here in cali and those shots bring back good memories of vegas a cali when sunny

rlgwood

For now I will stick with my Berry

woodman500

Who won the iPhone you're giving away? I hope it was me. I could really use a new phone in financial times like these.

Yandar

I call the iphone the "idrone". Its always iphone this, iphone that on the web. Feel free to use it for this year (:

jletendre

Having the job of managing mobile devices I've seen a lot of mobile devices over the past 8 years. I have used pretty much every Blackberry, Windows Mobile OS, Palm OS, Android and iPhone.

From the productivity angle - it is really hard to beat the way Blackberry intergrates with your mailbox (for those enterprise users with BES). It's night and day difference in email functionality. I'll give Apple and others credit for the polish they put into their GUI but I'll take functionality every time. I go through 300-500 emails a day and like Kevin have tried many times to just use an iPhone and it's just a frustrating email experience. Sure Apple could fix this via OS updates but to me it just seems like one of the things the iPhone does. It's the ultimate jack of all trades in mobile.

I currently have a Tour along with a couple iPhones (one SIM free ala iTouch) and it is the way to go as the iPhone is great for the time I'm not "working" (which is not often!) the apps are nice, it's quick to download them. Searching for Apples is getting to be clunky but if you know what you want its pretty easy. As much as the internet is slick .. I prefer the Blackberry rendering as I find it cumbersome to do all the pinch and navigation. I want to just see the information I want.

It's amazing the things people don't know a Blackberry is capable of. There are not many things iPhone does that cannot be done on the Blackberry. Many of these people seem to think Blackberry is stuck in the 7290 era with a trackwheel and monochrome screen. I have no care to game on a mobile device (it's why I have a DS, DSi, Wii, Xbox etc) Blackberry blends into my life and doesn't hinder my ability to do other things. I don't have to exit apps everytime I need to check email etc.

Mobile devices have a huge personal preference so pick what works for you.

briswolf

The situation is pretty bad here if you own a BB. First it is SO RARE for people over here to have a BB. I get excited every time I hear a BB notification or see one in the wild. This means that BBM doesn't give me much coverage...

Also the iPhone has such a massive strangle on the consumer market over here, and it is very common for banks/stores/cinemas etc to forego creating a mobile version of their website and rather create an iphone app. This means you are basically out of luck if you run BB/symbian/android/etc and don't have an iPhone. I love my BB but am so annoyed I can't really do anything on it, much to my chagrin when talking to iPhone users.

Also I am sick of the BIS browsing service because it is ASTRONOMICALLY slow. I am not sure if it is because all of my data has to make the trans-pacific trip before it gets to me or if all BIS services are this slow. I certainly didn't notice any problems when I was in SF in November for the blackberry conference. Compare a BB running say google maps next to an iPhone and it is damn embarrassing, the maps take about 10 times longer to load (even over wifi).

Also BB does a HORRENDOUS job of hooking into microsoft exchange servers, and since I am the only one at work who uses a BB we aren't likely to get a BES anytime soon... Still no iPhone user here has managed to get exchange activesync working so I am slightly ahead of them at least (even if my setup is extremely elaborate with mail forwarding to my carrier BB email address and auto BCC back to my work email account with message rules to save outgoing messages from my BB in my exchange outbox. It is a major PITA).

buzzed

iPhones bother me, they're fun and all but they get boring, to me atleast, pretty quick!

Bbold9700

I just switched from the iphone 3g to 9700 this weekend. This review is dead on, btw I love this phone.

in3d

Reading Your informative comparison, I couldn't help but hear that Jingle, from the Advertisement, on the Television, (and indeed You Tube,) for the Apple Mac.

It's almost as if BlackBerry, has become the PC. equivalent, of the Mobile Phone World.
(Which is probably not a surprise, to People in the UK. Who watch, "Peep Show". [/Lame stab at Humour.].).
After all, Windows Mobile, isn't really getting a look in.
It's all Android(/Linux), BlackBerry, and I-Phone.

This of course, makes the Apple MAC. of the Phone World...
Err.. Apple.

Would Anyone else agree, if You have an Apple MAC. at Home, it makes more sense, to get an I-Phone, and if You don't, it makes more sense to get a BlackBerry?

I mean, that whole, "Intuitive, but annoying", thing?
It's the lack of a right-click, on the Mouse, all over again!

gemni73

Well for me I feel I have the best of both worlds...i own a Mac and have my S2 with Verizon. I love them both and now that I can sync my BB with my Mac it makes for a wonderful relationship.

kmartdanickel

I agree to it that blackberry, has become the equivalent of a PC and the iPhone that of a mac, and now and android linux. The usage of plus and minus of which is better will remain the same as they are with computers.

Apple will forever have devices that are user friendly and very entertaining. But with so many people using these devices apple needs something that can handle workloads and not all about being fun.

PC will give you the work-horse that you need to get the job done without making it too complicated, but switching over to making it more friendly i.e. Windows 7

And Andriod is all to it self being the make it what you want it type of experience, with their devices and systems it become what you make of it.

I personally have a PC with Windows 7 and a S2 because they make sense together and i love them both

acrpr

Great post and straight to the point. Both devices are mutually exclusive, I mean that where the Blackberry is strong, the iPhone is weak and vice-versa. I consider myself a lucky person since I am now enjoying both devices at the same time. I am still wondering for which one of them to keep, but being really honest is one of the most difficult decisions I have to make.

Regards,

ReccaKun

could care less about the iphone... bb for life ^^

arteekay

I didn't disagree with a single thing in this article, and that very well may be a first for any site I've been to.

Great work Kevin.

(small edit for you: "though they might like an iPhone in addition to that BB their rocking." Should be "they're")

Kevin Michaluk

thanks for the kind comment!

and fixed the spelling mistake :)

Kirblar

The "visiting crackberry.com daily "thing is wrong. I visit hourly haha. I refresh the page ever hour or so. And when no new update I browse forums. Good review :) I agree with the other person. More women :p

SLVR6

Great review Kevin. I think many of us feel the same way. Funnily I wondered if I might want an iPhone when I sent back the Storm2's my wife and I had gotten. We got her an iPhone and ordered a 9700 for me. While I was waiting for my phone to arrive I was using her iPhone and started second guessing the BB I had ordered. The iPhone is nice, but after a few days of it being my only device (and dealing with no multitasking or push) I was VERY happy to get my 9z00! No question now which I prefer. My wife is now getting a little frustrated with the iPhone not multitasking, etc.....

R1cE

Man this review was awesome!! It was actually a very injteresting read compared to some reviews out there. I got to say kevin you sound quite professional and level headed. Hahahaha. Keep it up!

YourMobileGuru

I avoided the iPhone for a long time. In part out of principle (I'm not one to join the crowd), and AT&T crap network; but also because when I did try them in stores I just wasn't that impressed. The original iPhone felt solid but also underpowered. The 3G felt cheap to me compared to the original iPhone, this may have been the plastic back replacing the metal one; and it still felt slow to me compared to my BlackBerries. Both versions I had issues with the touch screen not working the way I wanted. It also felt ridiculous to me to spend extra money for a 3G phone (and more expensive data plan) while living in an area where AT&T did not have 3G (and still does not) and no solid ETA.

Last summer a few days after the 3G S launched I did as I had before and spent a few minutes playing with the new display model in the AT&T kiosk in the mall. The phone was noticeably faster than it's predecessors (and the Storm). The it felt solid again (though I still missed the shiny back); and I finally got the touch screen to work for me. I still had issues with typing (offset to some degree by improved auto-correction).

What made me walk away (other than not having the funds at the time) was the way the AT&T rep casually bashed the Storm ("I hear it had problems"). I spent a few minutes "educating" her about the merits of the Storm running an uo to date OS, and how the iPhone was STILL (3 generations in) inferior to BlackBerries (i.e. lack of multitasking, crappy keyboard, etc.).

After reading some more about it I decided to add an iPhone 3GS to my tech arsenal. I knew I could never use it as an everyday device but it did have some compelling features and did work slick. So a couple weeks later I went back to the same kiosk, talked to another rep and bought myself a shiny 32GB 3G S (in white if you are wondering, they ran out of black).

For a while I was captivated by the thing and used it often. To date I've downloaded something like 600 apps (most of which are no longer on the device), free and low cost. For a brief time I used it even more than my BlackBerries, but as time went on the limitations of the device got more and more frustrating.

I'm over the iPhone now and only use it for the browser and occasionally playing Solitaire or Battleship on my breaks at work. Baring some major improvements (ie true multitasking that does not slow the phone to crawl) I can't see myself getting the next generation this summer.

strykai

A perfect smartphone (or nearly perfect) would combine the strengths of both of the RIM and Apple phones. Thanks for the review.

grayzweb

Great review! I'm a Storm user and personally, I think the Storm is a great blend of the BlackBerry and the iphone.

I came from the physical keyboard of the Curve, to the Storm1 for a year, now a Storm2. Also own a ipod touch. The switch from the Curve to a Storm was difficult to say the least (Really missed that keyboard). After sticking it out and now on the much improved Storm2, there really isn't any other smartphone out there that I would trade for. (including other BB's at the moment)

To each their own, but I like the confirmation of Surepress as opposed to typing on an iphone. I love the Big screen, accelerometer, and all the multitasking and push email from the BlackBerry! Kinda like the best of both worlds for me.

Now if we can just get the web browser and the ability to run apps from the memory card, it would be my perfect device. (at least for a little while - until something better comes out- lol)

vinpunk311

The round robin is the coolest thing...I love my 9630, but I love seeing the different smart phones, especially from a crackberry user's perspective. Keep up the great work Kev, i can honestly say i check crackberry.copm every 5 minutes and signed up for twitter just to follow it lol, thank for everythying.

The_New_Dude

Yeah i'm BB all the way, no way iCrap!

R1cE

Hahaha iCrap. Kevin that should be your nickname for the iPhone from now on. XD

EPN

Good article. I have the Tour and have been wondering if I should have looked more closely at the iPhone.

However, I think maybe it gives short shrift to the idea of multiple apps. You're right that it seems there are myriad pointless apps for the iPhone. But I'm constantly amazed at the lack of apps for the BB. For a device that markets itself to the business community it seems there is an awful lot of time spent by developers coming up with new "themes" and very little coming up with useable stuff.

I come from a Palm background. We had a locking app that made locking the device practical. (The only good password is a complicated one. But entering a complicated password with numbers, uppercase and lower case digits in the BB is such a pain that I find myself just not bothering to use it. For the Palm, there was an app that let you have a good secure long password and an alternate short password. You could get in with the short password only if you entered it exactly right the first time. Mess it up and you had to use the long one. It made getting into the device easy for the owner and hard for anyone else.) Nothing like it for the BB.

Palm had a great travel app that managed your flights, hotels, car rentals, etc easily. It had a desktop counterpart. Nothing like it for the BB.

Palm had three, maybe four great outliners. At least one (Bonsai) had a desktop counterpart. It was so good I still use the desktop counterpart on my PC. I use SlickTasks for the BB and get by, but it's like comparing a Swiss army knife to an arrowhead. There isn't a good business outliner for the BB.

Palm had a great third party dictation program that let me use the device as a recorder, sync it to my computer, and let my secretary play it back on her PC to transcribe it. I haven't seen anything like it for the BB.

My point is not to diss the BB or praise the Palm -- I dumped the Palm after the last one died and I'm a BB user after all. My point is that there are really useful third party apps out there for other devices, and it's too bad that RIM hasn't done more to attract developers to the BB world. Without good apps I view the BB as an interim device, to serve until BB gets better, iPhone gets more reliable, or Palm gets back into the game.

sagarp14

Am I the only one that notices that the back of the bold 9700 has the verizon symbol on it? What's up with that?

Gnome

A good review; I feel it summarised the state of play well.

One interesting angle to look at though would be a comparison to using the iPhone and BB outside northern America. I was interested to read briswolf's account above of the situation in Aus. In the UK BB is popular but nowhere near as popular as the iPhone. Here too we have companies bringing out apps for the iPhone (e.g. banks and utility companies) and forgetting all about other mobile devices. Also BBM is not as useful as only a few of my contacts have a BB (I use it most to keep in touch with friends in the USA). I do feel that using a BB in the UK or Aus is a different experience to using one in the USA or Canada; for a start many of the apps don't work outside North America. The situation is improving but whereas you have hit critical mass with BB use (am I right in thinking it is about 50% of mobile users in the US); I don't feel that other countries are quite there yet.

That's not to say that I would rather have an iPhone instead of my 9700 - I love this device and am a BB addict through and through. It's just something to think about though when discussing BB use - it is very country dependent.

nick13b

Thats not the BOLD 9700!! It's the Storm2!

davidnc

LOL I was to occupied in checking out the chick !! I did not even see what phones she had on her butt .:)

nyc_rock

...who was on the camera at the Ed Hardy booth at CES? Loved the camera work.

Turk54

You have to love how the BB Bold (either 9000 or 9700) has a battery that lasts all day with heavy use and also is a great phone - neither of which can be said about the iPhone. I really believe that the iPhone vs BB debate really boils down to either "fun and games" or "work" as being the primary need for the device. If it's fun and games that you're after, then the iPhone is for you. If it is work (and I seem to work 24/7) the the BB is for you. That simple!

big dawg 23

I would like to see these compared to Android devices like the Nexus One and Motorola Droid. When they work out some of the bugs on Nexus One, neither will touch that phone on speed. I have a 9630 and getting close to saying goodbye to BB. The memory leaks and looooooooonnnnnnng boot up is annoying. A coworker has a My Touch and he can restart his phone 6 times before my Tour boots. That is just plain wrong. I had the Storm prior to which was as bad and so it my wife's curve. Also the Outages, which yes are few are also annoying that you loose email on your phone.

karlv

good review and very accurate. I agree 100% with the comment that both phones provide different values.

In the end I took the easy route and now have both and use both regularly every day.

DaroneBowers

I am a long time BB user. I go back almost to the RIM days, however, i'm tired of waiting for, 1.) a proper touchscreen BB, and 2.) a better browser. I'm really contemplating switching to an iPhone as it's the only phone that could satisfy my Multi Phone use other than the quick email pickup that the BB has. Is there something I should wait, even longer for? If not, I think Feb. 2010 is the time I will for good switch to the clutches of the iPhone.

experiment 626

Like it or not the Smartphone World owes alot to Apple and the iPhone.Would there be a BB App Store,Ovi App Store, or Android App Store without the iPhone? Would there be an explosion of touchscreen devices without the iPhone? Apple will,in the long run, make RIM,Google,and Nokia offer better products. I can't buy into the whole touchscreen-only philosophy that Apple loves so much myself so no iPhone for me,Thank You.If they can ever match-up the Android OS with the right hardware look out.

sk8er_tor

Now that I'm used to the 8900 and 9700 screens, I picked up an iPhone the other day at Best Buy to play with the browser but was quite disappointed with the screen. The browser is definitely good and excellent at rendering. The problem I found was that since I'm now used to the crisp screen on my BB, it hurt my eyes to read text on the iPhone.

skynny70

I have to say if you don't have an iPod and are thinking of getting one I highly recommend getting the iPod Touch to compliment your Blackberry. The only drawback is carrying two devices but the iPod Touch/iPhone web browsing and entertainment experience is great. I really enjoy having the best of both world's with both devices. The WiFi capability of the Touch comes in handy for me because I can use it for Twitter at my house where the wireless signal is weak making UberTwitter on my BB way too slow to use.

I will have to admit though that once I upgrade in the fall from my 8330 to a Tour2 giving me WiFi capability on my Blackberry that the use of the iPod Touch will be only for music, video, and web access with Twitter going full time to my BB. I would much rather have a real keyboard for that application which will be possible with the Tour2.

HeLLkAt31

seems to me that a smartphone should be for communication 1st and 2nd its media but in the end wats more important?... well its communication so a BlackBerry in one hand and a PSP on the other hand or a Game Boy depending on wat u like... but the way BlackBerry is going from bottom to top is the best way to go for the best device one day

Miz.Michele

I am a hardcore BB user and bought an iPhone (used). I now use both...just like your article says but will not give up my berry!

lizafernades

Great article.. I am having an iPhone and it runs very well. By your post i come to know about BlackBerry phones. They are also good. Thanks for sharing the information.
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