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I have been a long time BB user. In fact, in the company I own, ... General Blackberry forum

  1. #1
    StefanSmith's Avatar
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    iPhone 3G & BB - My observations


    I have been a long time BB user. In fact, in the company I own, the software needed to run our business which was written for us, is designed to work with our internal use of BB devices.

    For various reasons, the nature of my business has necessitated an increased use of attachment handling – mainly Excel and PDF files. And my use of the web browser for accessing our intranet – as well as my own personal use – has increased significantly.

    As a result, there were many needs my BB was no longer able to fulfil and for this reason I now own an iPhone 3G. But my BB – a Pearl 8120 (I have a personal preference for SureType) – is still very much my main device.

    With so much debate around the iPhone 3G, I thought I would share some of my observations now that I carry both devices. These observations are very low level. So often I see blogs/forum posts/reviews which completely ignore such important aspects of a device.

    I am hugely into productivity. Like so many people, I struggle with time! Getting things done as quickly and efficiently as possible, is ultra important to me. And its for this reason I am focusing a lot of my attention on the finer points of these platforms.


    The first thing I need to mention is “notifications”, an area which since the year dot, RIM seem to have grasped. As we all know, the BB allows different tones to be set for different email accounts, message types, phone calls and so on. And you can set how many beeps, vibrates etc. are required.

    After all, what is the point of push email if you never hear or feel the device telling you something is waiting!

    Now that Apple want to play in the enterprise space, this is something they have overlooked!

    On the iPhone 3G email notification is a tone which you cannot alter; you get one beep and one vibrate. The vibrate you can never feel and the beep is lost if the phone is inside a case or in your pocket. Yes – you can hear it if the noise levels around you are low, but so so so so many times I have missed calls, text and email messages because I have not heard it!

    Users deserve an element of control over noise and vibrating...and the iphone lacks in this space.

    When travelling – by tube, bus, taxi or car, missing something important will potentially be very common with an iphone 3G!

    Attachment Viewing

    This is an area in which both devices excel in some areas and severely lack in others. To the wider BB population, attachment handling is at best, poor. Newer OS versions are addressing this, but even so, RIM IMHO have a long way to go.
    The iPhone is not about saving attachments and then manipulating them. Why? Because you can’t. But as a tool to view attachments, it far exceeds any other platform – Palm, Windows Mobile and Symbian.

    Viewing Office documents and PDF files on an iPhone – well, Apple has set a new standard!

    Not only is the layout just amazing but the speed at which you can navigate through large attachments is incredible.

    This is one of the primary reasons for my ownership of an iPhone and this device does not disappoint.


    The deficiencies of iPhone messaging have been well documented across the internet. Only email and SMS is supported; there is no copy/paste; you can’t even forward a text message. And forget searching.

    The BB is in a different decade to the iPhone and to be honest this applies to other mobile platforms too.

    What do RIM provide us with?

    We get full text searching across messages – and its quick!

    We have the ability to forward text messages as emails, MMS; and vice versa – in fact, other non-messaging apps such as Calendar/Tasks/Memo also support forwarding data as a message. I don’t know any other platform which offers the extensive range of options available on the BB platform.

    We get pre-defined searches where we can assign a hot key

    We get auto text!

    The list goes on. I do not underestimate the value of this rich functionality.
    And of course, with email we can get delivery and read reports – again, something not to be underestimated. In my company, I rely heavily on these as I know immediately whether someone has actually read an important item sent to them.
    With the iPhone, email is basic...incredibly basic.

    The only one thing iPhone does offer is when using an Exchange server, messages can be moved between folders with ease. And the way in which messages are displayed is aesthetically pleasing. Aesthetics do matter when using a device for a long period of time.

    BB users – at least on BIS linking to an exchange server – do not get these benefits.

    In so many ways, the iPhone when it comes to messaging is stuck in the 1990’s and a lot of software updates are required to even come close to what the BB platform has offered for years!

    3rd Party Applications

    Yes – Apple have set a new standard in application delivery! Don’t be fooled. There is a massive percentage of junk in the Apps store. And Apple has severely limited the hands of developers by currently not allowing access to certain features of the phone – e.g. text messaging, call logs, email and so on. Finally, at this moment in time no applications can run in the background.

    BUT – when you look at sites like – they must be incredibly upset as Apple, in the space of one month, move more mobile applications than they have in years.

    Yes – Apple have set a new standard. Period.

    BUT – here are some of the downsides for those of us who want to stay productive.

    EXAMPLE – there is no task application on the iPhone. And whilst there are a plethora of 3rd party apps offering this, none can run in the background – so if you want alarms and reminders to go off during your working day – forget it! It isn’t going to happen!!!!

    I use Todomatrix on my BB extensively. It is a real killer app principally because of the way it can be set to bug the hell out of you until you attend to something you’ve set as a reminder!

    Forget doing anything like this on the iPhone anytime soon!!!!

    Another EXAMPLE – social networking! I am not a huge facebook user but have it installed on my BB. I never have to go look in facebook to see messages etc. I have a nice notification on the homescreen of my BB – it is pushed! This is impossible on the iPhone platform and probably will stay that way for sometime.

    Web Browsing

    I am not going to cover this with any more than one or two sentences. Apple win hands down. Since the first release, they really are in a decade to any other offering.

    Yes – there are one or two features missing – but the touch control and power of Safari make any other attempt on any other platform seem poor at best!
    The iPhone is King of the Jungle when it comes to web browsing – the UI, speed, presentation...everything is really in place.

    Battery Life

    On the iPhone 3G, the battery life is just amazingly poor! Let me explain.
    For many BB users, we are spoiled by BB devices. Firstly, they are mostly non-3G so will use less battery life. And of course, RIM’s push email is very efficient – way more efficient than ActiveSync used to offer the same facility to many platforms when connecting to an Exchange mailbox.

    So the comparison isn’t exactly fair.

    But time to be real. I will start work around 7.15am and before 5pm my iPhone will be dead. And this is even with very small usage. Ok – I am not defining here what I mean by small usage – but I have ended up with around 25% battery life only switching the phone on during that period for a few seconds to check the odd email. Through my own testing, what kills the phone is push email. The way it handles the permanent connection drinks battery juice faster than it is possible to imagine.

    I have been forced to invest in a lot of extra battery juice solutions.
    When I upgrade to a Bold very shortly, I am sure I will see reduced battery life when compared to what I am used to today. But from what I have observed so far in online commentary, being able to go through a complete day is more than do-able and more than sufficient for my needs.


    Although touched on briefly above, for whatever reason, Apple seemed to have missed the whole concept of searching.

    BB users from the get go have the ability to search various data types across their device in one hit. There is no searching anywhere other than Contacts on the iPhone – and even that only came with iPhone 3G and was not available before.

    There is no calendar search – no notes application search – no email search. No nothing! And there are no third party solutions available either because the necessary SDK’s – the programming tools – are not available to developers.

    If you keep hundreds of emails, text messages and have a full diary, forget finding anything quickly with the iPhone. You are very much in the dark ages of manually working your way through things until you find what you need.
    Anyway, these are just some of my initial observations.
    Last edited by StefanSmith; 09-20-2008 at 05:31 AM.

  2. #2
    joeperrin212's Avatar
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    Nice comparison!
    ~via BB (

  3. #3
    snipes mcgee's Avatar
    snipes mcgee no está en línea Stack level 4
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    Really good comparison in terms of productivity and usability, a lot of good points.
    I have a BlackBerry and a WhiteApple. :)

  4. #4
    adetamor's Avatar
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    I'm waiting to see how the new Blackberry Storm is going to compare to the Iphone.

  5. #5
    danger872's Avatar
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    ~via BB (

  6. #6
    macallik's Avatar
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    Great comparison

  7. #7
    jsenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adetamor View Post
    I'm waiting to see how the new Blackberry Storm is going to compare to the Iphone.

  8. #8
    DCookSta's Avatar
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    Nice as well. I always though if you want to do "stuff" get the iPhone, if you want to get "stuff" done get a BB.

    ~via BB (

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