BlackBerry CEO Suggests iPhone UI Looks Tired


In the fight for market share, BlackBerry has gone onto the offensive: Ahead of the Australian launch, the company CEO Thorsten Hein said the Galaxy S4 and other recent smartphone releases — BlackBerry included — have left Apple’s iPhone in their wake.


“Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market … They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that,” Mr Heins said speaking with the Australian Financial Review (via AllThingsD).

“History repeats itself again I guess … the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old.”

“The point is that you can never stand still. It is true for us as well.”

Given BlackBerry’s current position on the market and its recent moves, Hein’s words are direct from his and the company’s own experiences. With BlackBerry 10, RIM has redesigned the mobile OS and also launched two new handsets, which were mostly received favorably. Yet most reviewers are wondering if they have enough power to reverse BlackBerry’s position on the market.


  • Matt

    The same could have been said about Blackberry OS for many years.

  • Zanman

    Yes, we all know the UI has gone unchanged since 2007. While the UI has not changed, neither has the functionality and usability of any iOS device, which ultimately makes them leaps and bounds ahead of BlackBerry. Apple is doing it right, not quickly throwing out lacklustre and rushed updates a la BlackBerry 6 and 7. iOS 7 will probably not be revolutionary, but small steps is what counts.

  • I think there is a ‘read between the lines’ sort of message in that statement. As Matt says above, BlackBerry OS (and hardware for that matter,) became stale and the company fell behind as a result. They’re now trying to play catch up. By no means do I think Apple will fall into the same spiral as RIM did, but I do think users expect to see more progress in the OS even if the OS works very well.

    I’d love to see some great improvement in App switching (not a problem exclusive to iOS – I think most mobile OS’s do not handle this elegantly.) If they can hammer that out, some natural design improvements to things like the organization of Apps may result.

  • Mark

    Change, out of necessity, is good. But change, for the sake of change, is… Windows 8.

    My point being… A major change to a UI needs to be revolutionary and practical in order to be a good thing. Coming out with something new, and bat-shit crazy, just for the sake of being new, is not a good thing.

  • pegger1

    They’re not even doing small steps with iOS. The changes they make are so minor they’re not even considered a step forward. iOS 7 definitely has to have big changes, especially compared to iOS 5 and 6 which were pretty minor for a major version.

  • pegger1

    That’s exactly what he’s saying.

  • Cormang

    I use Windows 8 on my touch devices and I actually prefer it over the iPad. I like having the ability to use my Windows 8 device as a slate, but then dock it for a full desktop experience. I think the Windows 8 comparisons are groundless. The new UI works and it works very very well. Especially for productivity at work.

    The iOS UI is tired. That’s why I left it. I was sick of the static boring UI. I waited 3 major releases for an update and it never came. Apple needs to re-design their home screen from the static icons to something that brings a better “single pane of glass” look. Microsoft did this with live tiles, and they work great. Android has widgets, and they also work great. iOS has… a notifications center? Even when I had my iPhone I never used the notifications center. And the little numbers at the top of every icon just drove me nuts. I want to see what’s going on inside the app without having to go inside the app – that’s widgets or live tiles.

  • Mark

    “Especially for productivity at work.”
    I was referring just to desktop (keyboard/mouse) Windows. For the largest use of Windows – that being “business” (productivity) applications – it is a HUGE mistake. They failed to merge the, essentially two, versions of Windows into one comprehensive, fully functional, seemless OS. It’s like when they were running Windows 95 on top of DOS – but much, MUCH worse.

  • Randy Ritraj

    What “big changes” do you want to see? Or is it just change for the sake of change?

  • pegger1

    I absolutely don’t want change for the sake of change. But how about start with the reason people jailbreak because the most basic tasks can’t be done easily. Like turning on wifi, bluetooth, etc… Other phones that’s done quickly and easily with a toggle, without have to go into the settings app. These are things that should have been in the first iPhone, 6 years down the road and it’s still not there.
    I love my iPhone but they have to keep up.

  • Agree. Change needs to come in iterative steps, not something completely new overnight. We need something fresh, but to say a complete overhaul is ridiculous.

    Well played, Heins. He successfully trolled the world with his comments. You can’t buy that kind of press.

  • Mark

    “Like turning on wifi, bluetooth, etc…”

    IMO – That’s just silly. Why would you need to keep turning that stuff on and off? Those functions are about convenience. What normal person wants to constantly tweak that stuff? To put that functionality on the home screen is just useless clutter.

    I jail broke my old iPhone. I found it pointless and awkward so I switched it back. I’m not saying everyone thinks that way, but I am saying the general majority of users do, as they don’t care about silly little tweaks, or someone’s view about a better version of an app.

    The point being, the iPhone does what it needs to… effortlessly. If you want to tweak stuff, then why do you have an iPhone. Get an trojAndroid.

  • iFone

    I got solution for you: Get some apps and stop starring at the icons grid!!
    Seriously, what’s wrong with people and so much whining? Getting sick of your stupid complaints!

  • pegger1

    Every other phone has those switches easily accessible, including the old Blackberries. They’re meant to be turned on when in use and off when not. They’re a major battery drain if left on all the time without using. The majority of people do want this stuff, that’s why jailbreaking and android is so popular. You would be in the minority. From the sounds of it even a bare bones iPhone is too much for you.
    I like the iPhone hardware, I don’t like the size of Galaxies. You’re lucky if you get any software updates with an Android because there’s so much hardware fragmentation. Apple can open up their OS a lot more because they control the hardware too. But instead they lock it down even more.

  • “The iOS UI is tired. That’s why I left it. I was sick of the static boring UI.”

    If you leave a device because the UI is “boring”, then why exactly are you using any mobile device? If the UI is practical and it does want you want it to do, “boring” isn’t a factor. But if you’re in it for the fluff of the UI keeping you .. entertained? .. then… I just don’t know.

    If the UI can use practical improvements, then great, let’s push for it. But “boring”?

  • Mark

    “They’re meant to be turned on when in use and off when not.”
    No, they are not “meant to be turned on/off”. Yes, they add to battery drain, but I don’t have any issues of the battery dieing before the end of the day, and I ALWAYS have both of those things on.

    “The majority of people do want this stuff, that’s why jailbreaking and android is so popular. You would be in the minority.”

    That’s a delusional statement. You assume that what you do is what everone does. You would be wrong.

  • DC

    Actually, Mr. Thorsten Hein, you yourself look very tired. Guess you feel great pressure promoting BB10 among all the fierce and better competitors…

  • Jon

    Shows how much you know because windows 95 was one of the best OSs ever.

    As much as I hate Microsoft, Windows 8 is excellent at what it is meant to do. As much as I hate Blackberry, they’re right.

    iOS is BORING. There’s a reason the jailbreak community is huge for it. An overhaul is needed, sorely. Customization needs to be a priority. Why not allow themes? Why not allow color customizations for the balck timer bar on the home screen?

    If you argue Apple wants to control the user experience, none of the above changes how the OS works. We’re talking icons and colors here, not entire navigation customization.

  • Jon

    You’d be wrong to assume the inverse. You’re both wrong. Everyone does what everyone does.

    If they are not meant to be turned on/off, why even have a switch or option? Obviously, if Apple’s intent was to always have it on, there’d be no off switch. That wouldn’t be practical and would be anti-Apple.

    He assumes nothing beyond the fact the jailbreak community is large and there’s a reason for it.

    YOU sire, assume HE assumes. Nowhere does he state that HE is a jailbreaker, YOU assume he is. YOU assume the majority is everyone, which it isn’t. YOU assume there is such a thing as right and wrong on a subjective opinion.

    How quaint.

  • Mark

    Seriously dude, the obvious INTENT of my discussion was to state that…

    1. The need to frequently switch either of those features on and off was not a need by most users. Most people know that if they switch off Bluetooth, for example, they will forget to switch it on. It’s annoying driving in your car and your phone rings and you realize you don’t have the Bluetooth switched on. It’s also a bother for many to have to remember to switch Wi-Fi on when it’s usable so that they can save on data. Apple is all about this type of convenience, and that’s because that’s what consumers want.

    2. As for jail breaking being popular… That’s only in the minds of the people who get off on that. The overwhelming HUGE majority of iPhone users don’t give a crap about that sort of thing.

  • WatDaPhuck

    I agree with Mark on this, though he might have come off a little mad.

    I can tell you this, EVERONE in my work place, EVERYONE of my friends, and including myself, ALWAYS leave at least wifi on (as some don’t need to use bluetooth), no matter if they use iPhone, Android, or BBs. Yes, that’s 100% of the people I see everyday. Though it might not be the case for others, but that says a lot at least to me. Why would there be a need to turn it on and off all the time? Don’t tell me to save battery, that’s the dumbest excuse. The hardware/software is already desiged to use a lot less power when there is no/little activity. If you’re a heavy user, you would invest in an extra cable. The overall design of iOS is meant to prolong battery life. But look at Android, why does half the people need to buy an extra battery? The jailbreaking community only counts for about 7-10% of Apple devices. It might still be a big number of people, but definitly not the majority. Sure, I would like it if the function is there, but it is not by any means an issue or anything.
    I use to jailbreak my iPhone for EXACTLY this reason. Now I don’t even bother as there’s no need to do so.
    But of course there must be an on/off switch. But the point is, there is no need to always toggle it.

  • WatDaPhuck

    Sometimes I can’t comprehend why others keep complaining. To me, iOS works great. It’s simple, responsive, and does exactly what I need it to do in my daily life. Maybe I’m just a simple guy that doesn’t care about customization to make me feel “different” from others. It’s just a phone for god sake! People spend way to much time starring at their phones.

  • Tai Nguyen

    this CEO is tired. LOL i personally still prefer iphone UI over bb. however, I love android the most. bb10 is ugly and annoying to me.

  • BB is only for a select few, that’s for sure