On a day like today I'm sure everybody in Waterloo was holding their breath to see what Apple is going to announce. And for good reason. On more than one occasion Apple has changed RIM's game. The announcement of the original iPhone set a new expectation for what a mobile device can do and how it should do it, and the announcement of the iPad forced RIM into the tablet game. Whether you like it or not, what Apple announces matters.
But I think RIM can breathe a momentary sigh of relief following today's Apple iPhone 4S announcement. Apple announced an iPhone with better internals -- none of which leap ahead of what's already on the market -- and in Siri introduced some interesting software, but they did it in a phone that looks IDENTICAL to its predecessor, the iPhone 4. Following the live coverage of the event, even the Apple fanboys and fangirls seemed disappointed. Part of that was the lack of Steve Jobs' presence at the event, but the bigger part was that it felt like Apple failed to deliver something really mind-blowing. If the iPhone 5 is now another year away, it seems like the iPhone 4S isn't delivering the kind of newness that Apple fans were expecting. Looking at twitter and some of the polls out there, like this one on TiPb asking iPhone owners if they're going to upgrade, it's looking like a lot of people who were planning to upgrade on the 14th are now going to save their dollars a little longer.
What's it all mean for BlackBerry? I think it means opportunity.
Following what is largely being received as a lackluster iPhone 4S announcement, Research In Motion has a better chance to make a splash with QNX-based BlackBerry Smartphones. I seriously hope RIM capitalizes on this and DOES NOT MUCK IT UP.
RIM needs to deliver a QNX-powered BlackBerry on time. RIM Co-Founder and CEO Mike Lazaridis said calendar Q1 2012. That needs to happen. The sooner they can hit the market with it, the more of an impact they'll be able to make on consumer mindshare. Beyond timing, obviously the device itself needs to deliver. It'll be dual core. The display will be big (and hopefully have awesome pixel density). I want to see the PlayBook's swipe to turn on and bezel gestures come to the phone - I think that'll add an awesome factor that makes the iPhone's home button look extremely dated. I'll follow up with another post getting into the details of what we want to see in the first BBX phone, but obviously the hardware has to rock. AND we need apps. RIM has a new dev relations team at work - these guys need to hustle. RIM needs to make sure that the top apps are all there at launch. If that means RIM has to pay a bunch of money to a bunch of companies to make that happen, so be it. If it means RIM has to get their own developers to build apps on behalf of these companies, that's fine too. Heck, do whatever it takes.
Before this gets long and ranty, I'll end it. Bottom line is that on a day like today when the excitement should be for Apple's new products (and even in the past I've gotten caught up in some of that hype), today it's BlackBerry's next generation of products that I'm excited for.