If iOS Is Five Years Old, Then BlackBerry 10 Is Five Years Late
“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.”
— BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says Apple’s iPhone is tired and consumers are ready for something new, like the next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system and the Z10, the first smartphone to run it. But if that truly is the case, consumer research firms aren’t seeing it. Not yet, anyway.
According to a February IDC report, consumers are still pretty enthralled with Android and iOS. Currently, they are the two top-ranked smartphone operating systems worldwide. Together, they accounted for 91.1 percent of all smartphone shipments during the fourth quarter of 2012. So if iOS is as dated as Heins claims, the market hasn’t realized it.
And it may not for some time.
A new report from Gartner suggests that BlackBerry’s chances of riding a wave of born-again BlackBerry acolytes to smartphone market supremacy are slim indeed. The research outfit expects the company to claim less than a 5 percent global market share through 2016.
Said Gartner analyst Van Baker, “Market conditions will make it extremely difficult for BlackBerry to rise above iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 platforms.”
That the iPhone UI is five years old clearly isn’t a problem for Apple. But it is a problem for BlackBerry. Because if iOS is half a decade old, then BlackBerry 10 is half a decade late. And one need only look at the downward spiral of BlackBerry’s stock price and smartphone market share to see the havoc that delay has visited on the company.
With the iPhone, Apple upended the mobile computing market in 2007. Only now, in 2013, has BlackBerry finally managed to ship an operating system and handset that can reasonably compete with it. And in the five years it has taken BlackBerry to do that, Apple has lapped it not once, not twice, but six times. And it has sold hundreds of millions of iPhones in the process.
So it’s not enough for Heins to simply say the iPhone is outdated and its UI stale. He needs to deliver a smartphone and mobile OS that prove, definitively, that they are outdated and stale. Has BlackBerry done that with BB 10 and the Z10?