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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says iPhone is now dated and being left behind

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins claims that rapid advancements in the global smartphone market has left Apple trailing when it comes to innovation. Speaking exclusively to The Australian Financial Review ahead of the US launch of the new range of BlackBerry 10 handsets Mr Heins said last week’s launch of the Samsung S4, along with a wave of recent smartphone releases had reeled in the lead Apple used to hold in the market.

“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. “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.”

He went on to explain that one area where he felt that BlackBerry 10 devices had overtaken the iPhone was in the area of multi-tasking. Apple has its fast app switching which saves the state of an app without closing it. It allows certain apps like audio apps to run in the background. BlackBerry 10 devices do things in a different way and allow up to eight apps to run in the background and when you open a ninth app, one is automatically closed.

To be clear, BlackBerry 10 still has app launcher pages, just like Android still has an app drawer, they just have other areas of the Home screen experience, including BlackBerry Hub, that you can gesture through. It might be more complicated, but it's also more convenient.

There is no doubt that a lot of iPhone users are pinning a lot of hope on the upcoming release of the next iteration of Apple’s iOS firmware. Hardware appears to no longer be the difference in mobile technology; as all top end phones seem to have reached a really high specification. It's software and services that are increasingly important.

It is certainly going to be interesting to see how Apple will wow us with iOS 7 when we finally get to see it; hopefully in the not too distant future. Maybe then, it will put an end to comments about it being old and dated!

Source: The Australian Financial Review

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

  • He has a point. Apple seems to be squeezing everything out of the same old design and u/i. Apple needs to revolutionize the iPhone again to try to gain some momentum they have lost.
  • +1
    I love my iPhone 5, but I really hope they come up with something fresh soon.
  • Yes,he has. But I saw nothing beautiful in the blackberry's UI. If anything, it looks worse. But that's my personal opinion. And I am not talking about functionality here.
    Anyway, saw this video on wmpoweruser and thought I might share it here. It makes the Z10 look really, really bad
  • People need to understand, that 90% of people who use iPhone don't even know what multitasking is. It's the duty of apple to take care of that for them, if you are a geek and want full contro of what you do, go for android but whithin two months, you'll be back on what works..
  • He's just trying to distract attention away from what's most important, APPS! Apple has them, BB Doesn't!
  • I agree 100%, I am one of the 90%. I use the iPhone because it is does what I want it to do well. What is multitasking on a phone anyway? You only see one app at a time, not like we have multiple screens open.
  • Yes, because on iPhone you can't have multiple screens open. But you can on Android.
  • This is over rated IMO. Having multiple screens opens on a phone just isn't a great or even good experience. Even on these 5+ inch screens. There's just not enough screen space to make it productive. 11" PC's are getting close to being unusable. There's a reason that PC's have big screens. it's what you need to work with multiple windows. Specifically, drag and drop functions.
    Moving between apps and content between them should be the focus. Not having multiple windows open on a small screen.(this being under 11")
  • And even on PC, you don't always have two windows on the screen at the same time, you just switch very quickly from one to another, but rarely with two window ajusted to fit half of the screen each...
  • Amen brother. I think we nerds consistently over estimate how much the average user out their cares about stuff like multi tasking etc. The dead simplicity of the iphone interface still has a very broad appeal to mainstream consumers and will continue to for some time.
    Apple can certainly add functionality and depth, but I see very little advantage to screwing around with the basic concepts that have served them so well thus far. The people who are clamoring for apple to revolutionize the ui will never be satisfied anyways. Let them be the platform transients that they are (nothing wrong with that) and play towards what the vast majority of people need. Add more depth and control for pro users, but in a way that doesn't confuse the 90% of users who will never have any interest in pro features.
  • do realize that the iPhone market share is still growing? Where are the numbers showing that people are abandoning iPhones?
  • The Iphone got it right they dont need to update anything. I prefer a stable phone. I have had horrible experiences with android and blackberry. Add everything you want to your cheaply made plastic phones just makes more room for error. I have found a keeper in the iphone so you wont be getting my money.
  • A lot of users are realizing this and leaving apple.. And The ones that don't have a clue will still purchase an iphone. Their are now a few better options..
  • do realize that the iPhone market share is still growing? Where are the numbers showing that people are abandoning iPhones?
  • Well there is no doubt about it IOS is dated, and yes "it just works" but it's currently the oldest OS and really think people are beginning to want a little more. Will apple give them that? Probably not but IOS has remain virtually unchanged since its release(looks wise anyway)
  • My Mac's desktop has looked the same for far longer. Longer than the iPhone has been around even. Both interfaces serve me just fine. I don't understand the outcry for a whole new look. Windows just did it in their desktop, how's that working out for them?
  • Exactly.
  • Well, he has a point, pick up an original iPhone, ignore the device itself, and the interface is exactly the same as when that iPhone was released. It hasn't changed one bit. There is a lot more functionality to be sure, but the look has not changed. I am hoping that Apple will change up the look of iOS in a new version, but I really doubt that they will. That's just not the way Apple works. It will be the same, with new functions to be sure, but limited in scope so that those functions can be expanded in future OS releases. An example was SMS on the original iPhone. When first launched it could not do MMS. Then the ability to send pictures was added in the next version but not video, then in a later version video was added. Iteration is how Apple works. The other manufacturers throw in the whole shebang and see what sticks, the perfect example of this is the plethora of questionably useful functions in the new GS4.
  • How do you propose changing it? Is the current layout not serving the purpose? There is a lot more functionality, as you say.
  • I don't see any need for wholesale change. There could be little tweaks, like allowing setting changes from the Home page without having to drill down deep into the Settings app and then pressing the Home button 4-5 times to get out of there. Same with an app that resides in a folder, you have to press Home 3 times to get back to the Home screen. Just a couple of the little tweaks, stuff like that, not wholesale change only for change's sake. I had a NexusOne for a while and had a widget on the home screen where I could cycle Wifi, Bluetooth, brightness, whatever, just from the widget instead of having to go deep in the settings to change those commonly used items. Little things like that add up to LOTS of Home button presses.
  • Good points. Those are the tweaks I would like to see. I think Notification Center could be used. For instance, I don't need both the twitter bird and the words Tap to Tweet, same with the Facebook f and Tap to Post. I would like to see a Messages bubble there and a Phone there. Just four icons. Don't want one or more there? Turn them off as you can twitter/Facebook today. Only have one or two? Sure, include the text. Settings could get the same treatment, maybe cap it at choosing up to 4, and right below the Tap to buttons. Other than that, I think I am good. But I don't see these changes addressing the fact that it is considered 'old' by the media.
  • design wise i disagree but os i agree
  • I thought the same thing about a year ago. Then I tried the other options. I found I would rather have a dated (in the opinion of some) OS than the mess that is everything else.
  • While I prefer iOS this falls into the argument that Apple needs to release more than one model a year to stay competitive. When there was no competition one phone a year worked. Not anymore. I would even say a .5 is update with additional features would help too. Once a year releases throws all your eggs into one nest and let's everyone catch up.
  • No, no need to release more than one model, even Blackberry is scaling down to 2. Why would you need to release new products if your current product works? Mass production of new devices every year and marketing each as "the next big thing" is a lack of faith in your work and hoping no one will find the bad before your next device gets released.
  • I agree completely. However, BB is releasing 6 models this year instead of two.
  • Wow.I never saw Apple's one device a year strategy in this manner!!
  • He makes a very valid point. I can't believe you guys posted this though :) Be aware, kch50428 is probably gonna come in here and start complaining. He was very rude to me after posting a BB10 related thread
  • Considering that Apple created the iPhone and iOS to bring the best mobile experience, I think it's doing just fine. There was no need for a desktop in your pocket when iOS was introduced (just ask Windows Mobile). Blackberry has taken a step in the right direction in updating their user experience, but they may have overstepped a bit (making what was simple into something more complex; i.e. gesture-based interface for users who were completely relying on hardware). It seems that people forget that the purpose of the smartphone is to have the best MOBILE experience, not necessarily to put a desktop experience in your pocket. iOS still brings the best overall mobile experience (in my opinion, Windows Phone also gets it right, but lacks the app catalog to keep me on it). I don't want complex when I pull my phone out of my pocket to do something. I want simple and fast. iPhone continues to do that, even if it is the same old look when you "slide to unlock."
  • Agreed and happy to see you mentioning Windows phone. These two are the only platforms I would ever use on a phone. Android is untouchable and Blackberry's new OS looks pretty complex!!
  • I just don't know how the new CEO of BB can say that iPhone is dated. What is dated and how when every single day more and more jump ship from other platforms including his to go to an iPhone?
    I think he just needs to concentrate on his platform and not worry about iPhone.
  • 50% of current BB10 owners switched FROM iPhone and Android.
  • Do you have a source and exact number? 50% doesn't really tell us anything. It could be 10 people, it could be 10 million.
  • Granted its from Forbes
  • Yes, but its also possible that Android played a major role in losing its followers. Although I am yet to read that Forbes article linked above.
  • For the most part, they do just focus on BlackBerry. This is the first time Heins has said much of anything about iOS since becoming CEO over a year ago. Also, I'm pretty sure the BlackBerry guys know a thing or two about what it's like to be dated, and able to recognize it elsewhere. They also had a big initial uptake and an innovation that kickstarted the industry, then got complacent about their leadership position and kept churning out nearly-identical devices.
  • "They also had a big initial uptake and an innovation that kickstarted the industry, then got complacent about their leadership position and kept churning out nearly-identical devices." Sounds a lot like what Apple is doing with the iPhone line...
  • I initially dismissed Heins' comments as a simple broadside against his biggest competitor, but you make an interesting point. Blackberry's recent experience does give them a sort of "it takes one to know one" insight, but, since Heins does have benefit from taking Apple down a peg, it seems impossible for us to separate his motivations.
  • Yeah, obviously it's his job to cheerlead his own company before competitors, but even from that perspective he manages to heap on plenty of praise to Apple for what they've done so far. That strikes me as pretty classy.
  • Indeed. And Heins has a point. iOS has looked the same and functioned the same since it's beginnings in 2007. iOS could use some enhancements to the UI, not just under the hood. Improvements can certainly be made. If all we get is a 5S with slight upgrades and an iOS 7 that doesn't provide anything substantially new or different from what we've already had in every version of iOS, the faithful may hang around for another year, but you can be sure that 4S users up for a phone upgrade are likely to look at the other platforms, compare them to a 5S that's not inspiring, and bail.
  • Exactly what I was thinking. I was a BB user and saw the same user complaints when I participated in the CackBerry forums.
  • Prior to buying my first iPhone I owned four Blackberrys. They were all junk. The quality control in the production of Blackberrys was appallingly bad. Their customer service was even worse. I love my iPhone and will own nothing else, for one simple reason: iPhones work first time, everytime.
  • I never spoke to customer service, the phones weren't junk, just plastic. Plastic is and feels cheap. There's a reason why Blackberry was the most used smartphone until the iOS got apps.
  • It wasn't the cheap cases that bothered me. In the case of my individual phones, specific utilities like GPS, WiFi, and BlueTooth either did not work at all or were spotty and undependable. Speakers and microphones failed on other models. There were a string of problems in one phone after another. I had four Bolds before I finally gave up and bought an Android, and it was only one of four models of Blackberry that I owned. The last Blackberry that I had that actually performed as advertised was a Curve 8330. It was a basic phone without WiFi or BlueTooth or GPS. Once I upgraded to newer models thing went to hell.
  • I never had a problem with Bluetooth, WiFi or GPS, with the exception of trying to connect to my current home WiFi. Everything else always worked for me. And I had 5 different Blackberry's. And actually the only one that didn't connect to my current home WiFi was the latest Bold the 9930.
  • iOS is getting a little stagnate. I may be somewhat new to the iPhone but I had owned plenty of iPod Touch's. they need to shake it up a little and bring back the flair.
  • I've never owned a smartphone but always owned their iPod Touches and it is because of them that I don't see myself making my first smartphone an iPhone. I might later on if more ui and system changes occur but at the moment I don't find them an option.
  • What people still fail to understand about the momentum of BB10 is that it is big and it HAS NOT hit the US yet. It is already endorsed by some big name app companies and celebrities (which the US population takes into high regard unfortunately). And from what I've seen, it does everything they said it was going to do, they listen to the Crackberry community and fixed most of the bugs people were experiencing inside of the first month of release. That shows success and a will go succeed to me. And it will only get better from here.
  • Glad to read that he has ceded the tablet space to the iPad. I hope they work to get BB10 unto the PlayBook, but I definitely don't think they should put anymore efforts into a new tablet.
    I'm excited for BlackBerry. Had I known they would have released so early in 2013, I probably wouldn't have switched to an iPhone. As it stands now, the camera apps and FaceTime have a complete grip on me.
  • They have been regurgitating the same device for a while but people still buy them when they come out. It'll probably be the same with the 5S.
  • I have a lot of respect for iOS, and have no doubt it will continue to sell like crazy. But I am blown away from the number of people I talk to who tell me "they are bored with their iPhone." I think iPhone boredom is literally becoming an epidemic for anybody who falls a bit into the area of technology savvy (as in, not Rene's mom). Doesn't mean people will flock away from iOS due to the boredom, but it's definitely leaving the doors open for others. Which is an OK thing. The planet earth shouldn't just be made up of iPhone owners... having a good competitive mix is key. Just as not everybody drives the same car. Room for a lot of players.
  • Blackberry Kevin I agree with you that there is iphone boredom but only with those people who are more tech savvy and love to customize their phones. These people typically jailbreak. The masses on the other hand (myself included) just wants a phone that works and will be reliable and easy to use. I haven't played with a bb10 device so I don't know how user friendly it is. Though all I've seen of it, it looks like there's a bit of a learning curve. The beauty of apple products is that it is for the masses. Anyone can pick it up for the first time and just use it and I know this is not the case with android.
  • Maybe... but not by blackberry.
  • im sure they plan on updating it. its not as bad as blackberry or MS. only competition is Android.
  • It's up to your preference, that's it. I'll stick with the Apple ecosystem and the quality of their products will forever be my target.
  • His points are valid. Example: my iPhone 4, current will the most recent OS updates, works just fine and lacks very little the iPhone 4S or 5 offer. Apple does need to take some bigger steps forward in software and services.
  • This is why the iPhone 5 didn't impress me. Other than LTE and a slightly larger screen, what did it offer someone who already has an iPhone 4S? Sprint's LTE is in it's infancy, so LTE wasn't even a consideration. And with iOS 6 on my 4S, I wasn't missing anything on the software side. Apple needs to step it up and blow us away with something other than under the hood tricks. Some UI re-design would be good for iOS.
  • People talk about innovation as if it is THE deciding factor when it comes to choose a phone. Most people, sad but true, will choose app availability over innovation. I would consider "innovation" to be a relative and subjective term when it comes to mobile operating systems. For example, BBOS 7 to BB10 = large "relative" innovation. iOS to BB10 = small "relative" innovation. However, the innovations that differentiate iOS from BB10 are also "subjective" since many people don't recognize an improvement in terms of useability, and would therefore not consider BB10 to be innovative. What innovations do you care about? Why do you care about them? There are a lot of innovations I like in BB10, but the Hub is the most important to me - it takes the need for apps out of communication, it's always on, always a swipe away, and is open to integrate new services as they become available. Relative to other platforms, I consider this to be hugely innovative. The waterproof-ness of Xperia Z? Google Now? Siri? The preposterous thinness to battery life ratio of the iPhone 5? The way Jonny Ive says "Ah-loo-min-ee-um"? All innovative, all things I'd like to have, but they are not a priority for me personally. That said, these innovations matter a great deal to a lot of consumers - and coupled with a superior ecosystem, it's a compelling package, far from being left behind as far as demand is concerned.
  • It is true. Apple has had to much confidence in its products. The iPhone has become to much of the "iPhone we've always known", we need to see something "revolutionary" and something more incredible than the "most incredible iPhone ever". We need the most incredible smartphone ever to come from Apple; or Apple will be taking a bite out of itself, along with Samsung, and soon, we'll see just the "core" or the Apple left. Reinvent the smartphone industry again Apple!!
  • Other than reading reviews on the new bb10, I have yet to see anyone using one in real life. When someone I know gets one and can really give me real life feedback then I can determine whether or not it will be worth a try. People I know with bb right now have them for work purposes and it'll be interesting to see if the new devices are approved by their IT departments. Also, why is he trying to drag iOS through the mud? Just focus on bb10 and what it has to offer. Let it stand on its own two feet.
  • Do you live in the US? If you do that would be why you haven't seen one. They are releasing this week and the next. Also I don't see how he is dragging iOS through the mud since he is simply stating a fact about the ui of the phone. He gave them credit and said Apple is doing well and I didn't feel they were trying to slander Apple in any way. Just merely pointing out facts.
  • What "facts"? Saying iOS is boring isn't a fact, its someone's opinion.
  • I have to think that Thorsten is on the right track. I think pointing out that innovation is key in the tech world is valid. BB has been suffering and is attempting to build something new with BB10. iOS changed the game in 2007 with the iPhone...I want to see what else Apple has up their sleeve.
  • I like that Thor is starting to show his competitive side! BlackBerry seems to have done hell of a job of building BB10 from the ground up but I feel that everyone including BB, Google, Windows, and Apple have a long way to "innovate" because the technology is limited. I see it over and over in the comments of posts like these: "Apple is stagnant... Apple lacks innovation..." The problem is that no one has defined what that innovation should be. No one. innovation for me is bringing some Star Trek like functions and AI. Or making my car and house do stuff with my phone no matter what phone or tablet I have. If someone is screaming innovation and you have the ability to implement then by all means make it happen. Changing the skin of the interface or adding widgets will never truly shake things up. It will only serve to confuse the people who buy a device and use it because it is simple and what they understand. These people don't want to relearn a phone every year and these people are the majority of consumers, not the tech junkies like us who read sites like this. In my immediate family, I have my wife, brother, sister, her fiancé, dad, mom, and stepmom. Of them only me and my sisters fiancé care about bells and whistles or any type of customizing and frankly neither of us have that much time in the day. Bottom line, he and I are early adopters and will tweak and customize somewhat but we all want what works and what is familiar and comfortable. Sooner or later apple must change the UI but not on every iteration of the iPhone. When true innovation will come and what it will be is who knows how far off. Blackberry brought us the smartphone and qwerty keyboards to get us away from dumb phones then they just stopped until now. The ground up build if BB10 looks nice and I can't wait to get my hands on one here in the US especially to see the Hub but is that really over the top innovation? Other than that, they are still catching up and have settled for fighting for third place in the smartphone market. What is up their sleeve for the future? Apple didn't invent the touch screen but they made it work right and be fluid. Now the displays are crystal clear with an app ecosystem that is top notch and an OS that is beyond smooth. Then we got Siri and it got one upped pretty quick so where can they push the innovation envelope next? Google has taken beautiful displays and made them in a variety of sizes on phones with multiple price points. Their voice assistant makes Siri look like a cheap puppet. I just don't want to see them put too much into gimmicky stuff like Infrastructure less NFC or this half ass excuse for wireless charging that we are seeing. If they can bring google glass mainstream then now we are talking. The bottom line is this: innovation happens all around us in small steps but the first priority is for phone makers to make their stuff work and work well for the 90% of consumers that are not early adopters or who cringe in the face of big change. It is those people who generate revenue and pay the bills so that Apple, Google, and other tech companies have the scratch to pay those mad scientists down in the lab to keep coming up with innovative features for us, the geeks, nerds, tech junkies, early adopters, or whatever you like to be called.
  • in the next iPhone i'd like apple to give a icon in the scroll down bar to see which apps are running in the background instead of double pressing the home button, and another home screen just like bb10 where running apps are shown but here you can keep your favorite folders.
  • I agree with CEO. iPhone, while it is extremely user-friendly, it is out dated with subtle improvements over time such as: siri, icloud, and more. iOS is becoming more and more outdated with nothing fresh. It seems that's what Apple wants; however, people will get bored and move on. Personally, I think deeper iCloud integration, better SIRI, better app 2 app communication, apps getting full access to apple apis, and widgets (at least in notification center) would be the change apple truly needs!
  • What I really want to see from Apple is NFC. Would make passbook a lot more relevant and would get a LOT more retailers to start supporting it for gift cards and loyalty cards. Not a huge deal but I think Apple jumping on board would finally make it take off and I think they could come up with some cool new ways to utilize it.
  • I say worry about your own device versus others. It's so interesting how everyone's benchmark is the iPhone.
  • I love my iPhone but he is not saying anything new. Apple needs to tweak the OS. In 97 the OS was "5 years ahead of everyone else" now we are 6 years out and need the next leap forward.
  • Multi-tasking is great but I think Apple rightly puts a premium on battery life and that's the tradeoff/purpose of freezing applications not in use.
  • The next iPhone will have what it needs to entice and keep existing patrons. If they are truly becoming predictable, then their track record tells us to expect "automagical" features.
  • This comes from a CEO of a company that is on a edge of going to history forever. Also their should come up with something more innovative than changing their name to Blackberry and making up mystery buyer for their phone.
  • So what? Why do i care what a CEO says? He's selling a competing product. What do people expect him to say? You don't see Pepsi saying Coke tastes good.
  • I guess i could somewhat see some truth in his comment. If im not mistaken ios is now the oldest operating system since BB10 just launched and i believe BB no longer spits out os7 and older phones. Other Os' have been spitting out features like crazy which when compared would make ios look like they have fallen behind but msny of the features they put out are gimmicky and may not even be used by the average user....But to get back on topic what do people use their phones for? Do people use them as toys or tools? I for one use my iphone as a tool and a toy in my downtime. I read the newspaper,books, make phone calls, check emails, etc and in my downtime play games. Toys have to be often replaced because you get bored with them after a while but tools are simply tools, they're objects to simplify life and speed up certain tasks which is how i see my iphone. Sure they're are things i would love to see change, updated, added, and so on but at the end of the day i wont die without them.... anyways just my two cents
  • I don't think Heins's comments are at all offensive to anyone with a brain. He is the CEO of Blackberry and his company is trying to reinvent itself. So he said the Iphone software is dated, is any part of that incorrect? Didn't he also give props and respect the Apple for what they do right? Yes he did.
  • 1st BB CEO makes unfounded statements about Apple, based on what he thinks but lacking on the facts. Second, yes BB might have a great product with great functionality but that does not equal success. BB needs to prove themselves and attempt to gain some of the market share. One thing is for sure, BB failed in the past and plummeted down. The lack of trust from device users will make their efforts that much harder. It will be an uphill challenge for BB to survive and become a player in the game. The smartphone business is hardball with all the competition. Personally, I don't think BB has it anymore. Pushing a product while in survival mode will be really hard. I am a geek myself. I have tried many devices on most platforms. Apple delivers an amazing user experience, which I don't think will not be surpassed by other platforms in years to come. Lastly, BB has never being able to build a good or reliable ecosystem for their devices. I don't think that it will be any different now. Bottom line, they need to prove themselves or otherwise it will be bye bye!
  • I say merge iOS with OSX shouldn't be hard that way we have more features...
  • I think apple could redo the 3GS and still sell millions because of the apps. That's their #1 thing they have going for them. He is correct their os is very dated but its users will stick around b/c of the apps. The iPhone itself has no wow factor. The 5 is still a glorified 4. I was a diehard bb fan, got a 4 and still use it b/c of the apps I need to use.
  • I am all for innovation. I have yet to play with a BlackBerry 10 device, I've only watched videos. I have had android devices in the past and now my iPhone 5 is the first iPhone I have had. Honestly, it does everything I need it to do without a hitch. That's all I really look for in a device. If Apple can continue to improve on their iOS with added features, GUI, etc...they will be able to keep me as a customer for a long time.
  • Will stick to iOS beats others for integration and smooth transition across devices
  • "apple ain't number 1 any longer." ... I'm hell sure atleast BB ain't taking it's place lol.