Weekly Contest: iPhone iMminent

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Sorry about the haitus last week, but we’re good to go again. Only one week left to go on the iPhone release, and it’s hard to ignore (especially when your favourite BlackBerry blog can’t shut up about it). RIM’s remained adamant in their position that the iPhone isn’t going to bother them one bit, and is in fact a blessing to the industry as a whole. Meanwhile, we’ve got Paul Jacobs prophesying the JesusPhone like the apocalypse is nigh. These are both extreme ends of the spectrum, and what eventually happens to RIM as a result of the iPhone will probably fall somewhere in between. They’ll obviously still have a great product with its own unique flavour, but the iPhone will have some kind of impact, like it or not.

SO! The question goes to you, BBCool readers: as far as RIM’s concerned, is the iPhone really a “game-changer“? If not, then is BlackBerry potentially a game-changer for Apple? What will be the extent of interplay between these two brands, and how will it pan out? This is your big chance to make wild, unfounded speculations, just like the big boys. The most thought-provoking/entertaining/far-fetched entry will win 3 ringtones from Bplay.

  • Kyle S.
    In order to answer any such questions, it is first necessary to look at them as a function of the “game” itself which I think will be changed by the iPhone, if in a complicated manner. First off, there are multiple “games” in the mobile phone industry, each of which I think will be affected differently by the iPhone and each of which has certain demographics. For example, I think that in the consumer “game” which focuses more on mass-market appeal of products, I think that at first, RIM will really lose out to the iPhone among early adopters for which price isn’t as much of an issue. These are the types that see phones are more or less status symbols and the same people that a year (if they “fail” a credit check and go prepaid or 2 years if they don’t break their contracts) from now will buy the “ultimate” blackberry if RIM markets it right and if the hype over the iPhone has sufficiently faded. I also think that even among people that aren’t really early adopters, the iPhone will remain popular simply because apple has made it “the phone”. However, when it comes to the business “game”, RIM will continue to win out amongst companies. For one, phone companies and RIM can discount or subsidize the cost of 50-100 blackberries for a company, whereas Apple really isn’t even publicly looking at business users yet and if they did, the cost would be very unattractive for a phone that thus far, isn’t being sold on productivity. I also group corporate executives and other high-rankers within companies as being part of that early adopter crowd that might go ahead and pick up an iPhone just to look good, but I doubt even many of those people are leaving blackberries for them.
    In terms of “changing the game” I feel it is also worth looking at the “conversion factor” of BlackBerries vs. iPhones. Getting a Blackberry, as we all know, changes people. Suddenly, efficiency and productivity are right at our thumbs and extremely intuitive at that. Blackberries, I feel, are the “next level” of mobile phone use. People can be brought to that level and they rarely if ever leave it. The iPhone I feel is different in this respect. The iPhone, for all its features, is still a mobile phone, and by definition can’t be called a “smart phone”. Besides, the price is far too high for anyone to use it who doesn’t already understand all of its (sometimes complicated) features and exactly how to use them. The iPhone isn’t designed to bring more people into mobile phones period, it’s designed to get defectors to AT&T and from less featured or less stylish phone and I feel that it does a far worse job than Blackberries have over time.
    Regressing to my point earlier about how Apple has made the iPhone “The Phone”, I feel that Apple can only “change the game” in mobile phones once, maybe twice if they can create a big hype over the “iPhone 2” which would have to be greatly improved and do even more. Apple has the huge advantage of having been in the technology game for more than 30 years without making a phone and while watching the technology for them simultaneously shrink and improve. And because apple has such a good track record that many Blackberries sync to Macs and sit in pockets and purses next to iPods, people expect big things from Apple for an iPhone, which is what they believe they will get on June 29th. RIM on the other hand has it different. Blackberries have been out for 8 years now starting with extremely basic, grayscale, pretty bulky ones, and taking little steps such as slimmer forms, color screens, and mobile phone capabilities to reach milestones such as the pearl and the curve.
    I would start a discussion of “interplay” by saying first that I don’t realistically see some big flaw popping up in a bunch of iPhones that renders them useless or causes mass recalls. Apple did their homework on this and I would venture to say that even though there’s drawbacks regarding what the iPhone can and can’t do, it can probably do all of it’s advertised functions very well. However, I do see 3 conflicts “on the horizon” so to speak. The first is with the keyboard. Many people who use Blackberries now are used to “thumbling” with a plastic keyboard that you can really feel. Most Blackberry users after that many E-mails and text messages would continue to prefer the plastic keyboard and I would venture to say that most people who are looking for that mobile “step up” for E-mails and such would also prefer a plastic keyboard, suretype or not. Overall durability will also be an issue I think. Despite its dainty appearance, I’ve given my Blackberry pearl a good few drops and it still works well and looks great. I’m not sure that will be able to be said of a touch screen phone 6 months down the line. iPhones aren’t really the “all terrain phones” that Blackberries are today and I think that too will begin to show. I think that the third and final conflict between the two will be what they represent. I think that especially among business customers, Blackberries will continue to represent productivity, efficiency and commitment. iPhones will represent a certain tech-savyness, but overall, not much more than that.
  • george kazaklis
    the game is money.
    there is no change there.

    att may have a new logo, but they still have the same towers, prices
    & customer service.

    the iphone looks good.
    i am sure it is a great ipod, the phone part i am not sure.
    Having osx is way cool.

    Battery life, apple care and tons of user errors will be topics in many forums.

    i don't text and navigate with one finger so i doubt i would like the

    voicemail is so 1990s. It is where people send you when they don't want to talk to you.adding any features to this is like keeping faxes on file because you may go on a disney cruise 6 days, 7 nights for $99 per person.
    Why not tex-mex instead?

    Their maybe a new standard for: web on phones, higher priced phones, higher prices for data/speed, etc.

    The iphone isn't for everyone.
    I hope nobody gets killed over an iphone,beanie baby or old school pair of air jordans.

    I will check weekly to see if one will turn up at my local pawn shop before spending $6h on something I already have.

    In my opinion, the iphone is not something "new".

  • Eric
    Ever have to grind the scratches off an Ipod? Then you will understand the massive drawback of a touch screen phone. The face will be trashed in a month...and the owners will be searching for the "protection" of added plastic covers.
  • troy
    The prereviews are already out there and I have seen little to suggest that the iPhone is a total failure. There are some drawbacks such as the touch screen and lack of im. I have little doubt that it will sell well in the market place. It goes after a heavily prosumer market that has to buy the latest and greatest phone as well as image conscious consumers. I'm sure there are enough mommies and daddies all too willing to drop $600 considering how many teens there were with $300 Motorola Razrs. As far as RIM is concerned, they will need to continue to lead in email and add further features. As more people enter into the smartphone market, people's expectations of their phone and service will expand. That is the real game-changer. We all expect a whole lot more out of our cellphones.
  • Anonymous Coward
    I want to see who they cast as "BlackBerry Guy" and "iPhone Guy" in the commercials...
  • jason
    I think there will be a huge burst of sales in the begining. But in the end, I don't think that people will be happy with the iphone. After years of using different devices, it seems to me that touch screens just don't hold up to buttons in the end.
    After 6 months of eating chicken wings and using your phone and other general nastiness - i think that the appeal of rubbing your fingers all over the screen then pushing it against your face to talk will wear off. I wonder how long before the the aftermarket keyboards fill the selves so that consumers can type. . .
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