Dismissing the iPhone as a lost cause in the face of increasingly stiff competition is a somewhat churlish pursuit.
Some 47.8 million iPhone sold in its last reported quarter suggests Apple is doing ok, thank you very much.
Yes, Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry are making strides. Sammy in particular is becoming a dominant force.
But it’s pretty clear that the general public still can’t get enough of Apple. Which is why, on the one hand, it’s easy to dismiss the recent comments about the iPhone made by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins.
In an interview with an Australian business site, Heins, while praising the Apple smartphone for paving the way for today’s generation of handsets, suggested Cupertino’s blower looked a bit tired.
“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,” said Heins.
“The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old.”
Cue Apple fanboys losing their cool and even measured commentators pointing out that BlackBerry has hardly been a byword for innovation in the six years since the iPhone’s inception.
Very true – this is the company that claimed the iPhone wouldn’t trouble it and released a slew of half-baked kits that failed to pass muster against the competition.
The Z10 is an exception, but in terms of sales is still well off the pace set by Apple and Samsung.
However, there is a kernel of truth in Heins’ remarks, setting aside the irony of the person delivering them.
iOS still serves up the very best apps, but look at the iPhone 5 and original iPhone and the premise of the operating system is still essentially the same.
Check out the similar buttons, admittedly with more options such as multi-tasking and improved notifications. Then there’s a keyboard that feels identical. All of which adds up to a user experience that has hardly changed.
Compare that to how Apple’s OS X desktop software has changed in the same time. The jump from Tiger to Mountain Lion is huge.
In part, this continuity is a success for Apple. People intuitively know how to use iOS and iPhones.
But Microsoft’s Windows Phone Live Tiles and even BlackBerry 10, have shown how this can be built on and developed.
Likewise HTC Sense and stock Google Android have both developed massively, the latter now far better than it was on its first forays in 2008.
Jony Ive’s shift to overseeing software as well as hardware design at Apple, as part of an exec team reshuffle in late 2012, points to iOS 7 making a bolder leap forward.
Hopefully, it’ll give iOS a bit of a boost and push it beyond a growing roster of decent competitors.
Yes, Heins has set himself up for all kinds of web aggro. But his words undoubtedly represent the belief of many iPhone users.
It’s time for a brave leap forward, something that can really show why Apple is still the great innovator it always has been.