Having been the head of IT for a multi-national company for many years there was only 1 question I was asked every week without fail… Blackberry or iPhone? To clarify, this post is not about a specific model of either phone versus the other but rather one brand versus the another or should I rather qualify one lifestyle versus another.
Blackberries have been around longer and certainly in South Africa are more popular than the iPhone but if we based all our decisions on popularity our wealthy would be driving around in Toyota Corollas. To get to the bottom of this frequently asked question one needs to throw away all the spec sheets, user reviews and most importantly the running costs / contract offers – The Blackberry or iPhone dilemma can only be answered on an emotional level.
Who should buy a Blackberry? Blackberries are aimed at those who love to type and type a lot. The blackberry (in my opinion) is primarily a messaging device and this must never be forgotten. When Blackberries were first launched the majority of people used them as a secondary device for checking email on the go. As time and popularity moved forward so did the Blackberry’s features and the move to becoming a usable phone too. Today’s Blackberries are light years ahead of their early model predecessors yet one can easily follow the evolutionary path and what a path that has been. So why Blackberry? Well simple, if you are email focused and require to be in touch 24×7 while on the move the well laid out keyboard and easy to use software will appeal to almost anyone one. Who else would want a Blackberry? With the last 2 generations of Blackberries including significant multi-media enhancements, the fairly recent (3 years) popularity of Blackberry Messenger and the introduction of low cost models, Blackberries now appeal to the Tween market as must have fashion accessory.
Who should buy an iPhone? iPhones are aimed and marketed as Apple’s phone and not a messaging device. An iPhone’s primary use is as a phone and up and until the latest model with its apparent signal issues it has always been a very good phone. South Africa never saw the first generation iPhones for sale locally but that did not stop a number of them being imported privately. The iPhones needs to be viewed by a perspective buyer as a phone that can do email and messaging too (and very well I might add). If you are a user that expects to spend hours typing on an iPhone then please think again. Although the touch screen is incredible and yet remains unmatched by any of the competitors it is still not aimed to take on the Blackberry keyboard and will never be. An iPhone’s main draw card to the masses is the endless supply of applications… No matter who you are or how much you think you don’t need them, you will always find one or two that you just can’t live without. So why buy an iPhone? As simple as why buy a Blackberry… If you enjoy the not so serious side of life and want to have fun with your phone there is no better way to do it than with an iPhone. The iPhone is aimed at the mass market and not only the techno-geeks which makes it a real play toy. Who else would want an iPhone? Having called the iPhone a toy, it does not mean that it can’t work hard too. The push (and pull if you want) email capabilities on the iPhone are comprehensive and work with even more reliably and consistently as you are not dependant on Blackberry service from your network.
So, in summary have I answered the question? Well… No and the question can never be answered… A Blackberry is a work horse that has been adapted to cater or the Tween market and messaging junkies. With Blackberry service coming in at a fixed cost for all data transferred to and from the device and the recent launch of the entry level phones it now appeals to both the budget conscious and business world. The iPhone will always be for the more creative out there but it does still steal a few from the business world by providing all the features of a Blackberry and more.
Which phone do I use? Well having used an old HTC iMate before moving over to Blackberry, I was never interested in the iPhone until I was giving one by our service provider as a present. I am now on my 2nd iPhone (went from the 3G to the 3GS) and will not ever look back. For me email is a critical part of my life, but I don’t need to ever type anything more than 1 line replies so the concerns of a touch screen soon became a thing of the past.
As a final parting tip, be honest with yourself and ask what you are going to use the phone for? If email is your business or messaging is your life, go for a Blackberry… If staying in touch and having fun while doing it is your aim go iPhone