Even on every BlackBerry fansite, the talk of this week is going to be about Apple's new iPhone operating system, iOS 7. Sure the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone has just launched on Verizon, but that news seems to be trumped by tweets and comments about iOS 7 and how it will affect the smartphone market later this year. And in our circle, particularly BlackBerry.
If you didn't see the WWDC 2013 coverage and what's new, you may be surprised to find out that the new iOS 7 copies a few features from BlackBerry.
Before I get started, while it's nothing new that handset makers copy each other. In a way, it's great to see that core UI features of BlackBerry 10 are making a bang within the mobile world. As the old adage goes, "imitation is highest form of flattery." However, that doesn't mean it's always best for business. I'll quit jabbering for a second and let's talk about the features Apple has decided to take from the BlackBerry 10 page.
The Back A Screen Feature -
iPhone users being plagued by the lack of a native in-app back button, Apple took a note from BlackBerry 10 on going back screens within an app. They have implemented in iOS 7, the swipe from the left side of the screen to go to the previous screen in the hierarchy. It will work in places that you would expect. Such as the Safari browser, and in apps like Mail, ect. As we all know, this feature comes directly from BlackBerry 10.
iOS 7 also has a new multitasking feature that resembles that of the PlayBook OS 2.0. When the iPhone's home button is double clicked, it brings up a page view of all your open apps in a minimized thumbnail form. Although not confirmed yet, the minimized apps are suppose to show in real-time, which means they will function very much like the PlayBook minimized apps do. For example, if you are watching a movie, and you minimize it into a thumbnail, the movie will still be playing in a minimized form. The apps are also closed out easily by swiping up on the thumbnail. Exactly the way it's done on the PlayBook. I wish BB10 kept this part of the PB OS. It's very easy to just swipe up on the thumbnail to close out an app, and it's also very cool to see your movie still playing in real-time on a small thumbnail.
Now granted WebOS deserves credit for this type of multitasking layout (about the only good thing that came out of WebOS), but BlackBerry was able to take it to another level in the PlayBook. I think BlackBerry 10 should go back to resemble that simple PlayBook multitasking a bit more.
Integrated into cars -
Other big news that was revealed today by Apple, is iOS integration within cars. Sound familiar? A new in-car feature will link up iOS 7 with the car's infotainment systems, giving drivers an interface for features like maps, music, and messages. A number of automakers (such as Ferrari) expect to implement iOS in cars sometime in 2014. This iOS car integration will rely heavily on Suri.
It's obvious that Apple looks to compete with BlackBerry's QNX for the in-car mobile experience of the auto industry. It's a huge market! One hurdle for BlackBerry is, iOS already has the user-base it needs to make it work on a larger scale. BlackBerry will need to really push into the auto market in a major way in the coming year. We know the QNX auto integration experience is great, we just have to see it take off.
To sum it up -
I don't' think that any of us are really surprised that Apple has gone out and implemented features from competing mobile operating systems. The question for BlackBerry is, will it be enough to slow the progress that BlackBerry has made with BlackBerry 10? While they are both still very different operating systems, there still inlays the battle to make the ultimate device that caters to every user.
And with BBM going cross platform, will the new iOS 7 be able to lure in BlackBerry loyalists to a somewhat familiar experience they've already been enjoying with BlackBerry 10?
I don't have all the answers, as only time will tell. But I do know that whatever flagship device that BlackBerry plans on coming out with this fall, better be absolutely positively fucking amazing!