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BlackBerry CEO calls Apple's iPhone user interface outdated

post #1 of 264
Thread Starter 
The CEO of BlackBerry has criticized Apple for failing to overhaul the user interface of the iPhone to keep up with competing smartphone platforms.

Since the iPhone launched in 2007, it's had largely the same interface with a grid of icons making users' applications accessible. While that was adequate with the first-generation iPhone, BlackBerry's Thorsten Heins believes it's now antiquated, he said in an interview with Australian Financial Review (via AllThingsD).

iOS
Apple's first-generation iPhone was revealed in 2007.


"History repeats itself again, I guess," the BlackBerry CEO said. "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."

Heins admitted that he must "respect" the iPhone, a device that helped make BlackBerry largely irrelevant in the smartphone market after holding a dominant position for years. His company hopes to mount a comeback off of its new BlackBerry 10 interface and new handsets.

"The point is that you can never stand still," he said. "It is true for us as well. Launching BB10 just put us on the starting grid of the wider mobile computing grand prix, and now we need to win it."

Apple's future direction with iOS and its user interface are now a point of interest for the company, as it parted ways with its previous iOS software chief, Scott Forstall, late last year. That role, along with control of the design of OS X, has been handed to Jonathan Ive, who has overseen development of the company's iconic hardware for years.
post #2 of 264
I tend to agree that the UI of iOS is outdated. Not much as changed since the original iOS. I'd like to see some differences. Maybe Jony Ive can make this happen in iOS 7. No sweeping changes so it makes it harder to use, but just changes to refresh the interface. I'd like to see some new features as well. Except for Siri (which isn't a big deal to me), there really hasn't been anything earth shattering coming out of Apple these days. You can only sit and watch yourself on top for so long before people start to catch up. If you wait until they catch up, its already too late...Its only a matter of time before someone does just this if Apple doesn't do anything to stay ahead.

***Waits to get lambasted for this post***
post #3 of 264

I think that it's visually outdated, but it works.

 

I'd love to be able to glance at weather info on the lockscreen without having to unlock the phone. Something like that just seems like a no-brainer.

post #4 of 264
Looking at their succes, I'd say: "I like their strategy, I like it a lot" A quote from another CEO, who in my opinion could use some overhauling himself.
Quote:
"History repeats itself again, I guess," the BlackBerry CEO said. "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."

Well, looks like he does understand something in life.
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post #5 of 264

Why mess with a good thing? 

 

Like the former RIM CEO's, once you start criticizing Apple, your future ain't looking so bright. 

post #6 of 264
I hear this from the Microsoft drones and fandroids a lot. it has become a mainstain of their talking points. But specifically, they never mention what is outdated about it? what does not work?

While not perfect, iOS has a highly intuitive, easy to use interface. It is far better than the horrid Windows Phone OS with is busy flashing squares, text scrolling off the right side of the screen everywhere, primitive block colors, etc... Or androids, iOS copy, with slow motion scrolling, inconsistent experience, unintuitive navigation, etc...

Apple is not Microsoft who reskins their OS every year as a means to justify its outrageous upgrade cost, or Googles copying of everything Apple does.
post #7 of 264

Retina was quite a big advance in user interface.

post #8 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDMeister View Post

Why mess with a good thing? 

 

Like the former RIM CEO's, once you start criticizing Apple, your future ain't looking so bright. 

 

Because its only a matter of time before something better comes out. I think his point is...you should never rest on your laurels or else you'll turn into a Blackberry. Don't think it can't happen to Apple. 

post #9 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Retina was quite a big advance in user interface.

 

All it did was make the outdated interface look more crisp. I wouldn't say thats an advance in the UI. It still doesn't change the fact that iOS 6 looks pretty damn similar to iOS 1.0.

 

Even with OS X...the overall look and feel is the same, but its been updated many times so in my opinion, isn't going stale. This is what I'm going for. 

post #10 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"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."
I guess they'd know more about that than anyone else in the industry.

I've been thinking. Square houses with doors have been the same for forever. Why not have round ones with tunnels? Innovation!

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #11 of 264
Uh-huh.

Blackberry's CEO, eh?

Next.
post #12 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I tend to agree that the UI of iOS is outdated. Not much as changed since the original iOS. I'd like to see some differences. Maybe Jony Ive can make this happen in iOS 7. No sweeping changes so it makes it harder to use, but just changes to refresh the interface. I'd like to see some new features as well. Except for Siri (which isn't a big deal to me), there really hasn't been anything earth shattering coming out of Apple these days. You can only sit and watch yourself on top for so long before people start to catch up. If you wait until they catch up, its already too late...Its only a matter of time before someone does just this if Apple doesn't do anything to stay ahead.

***Waits to get lambasted for this post***
Try this. Go find an iPhone with OS X for iPhone on it. That was the name they used before iPhone OS and iOS.

Use it for 1 hour.

Come back and try to repeat your post with a straight face.
post #13 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I tend to agree that the UI of iOS is outdated. Not much as changed since the original iOS. I'd like to see some differences. Maybe Jony Ive can make this happen in iOS 7. No sweeping changes so it makes it harder to use, but just changes to refresh the interface. I'd like to see some new features as well. Except for Siri (which isn't a big deal to me), there really hasn't been anything earth shattering coming out of Apple these days. You can only sit and watch yourself on top for so long before people start to catch up. If you wait until they catch up, its already too late...Its only a matter of time before someone does just this if Apple doesn't do anything to stay ahead.

***Waits to get lambasted for this post***

I think IOS 7 will add whatever they planned on adding in IOS7 regardless of Jony Ive/Scott Forestall change.

 

As of a more broad UI change, don´t expect it with IOS 7. I believe Jony Ive/Apple will make this transition smooth and safe, and not try to wreck IOS with a major overhaul at first go. Expect fingerprint/payment solution in IOS7, with some other minor features here and there. And that´s it. 

post #14 of 264
Overhauling the UI for an existing and popular platform is the hardest thing to do in UI design, IMO.
 
It's fairly easy to create a clean and user-friendly UI when you're working from a clean slate. However, as the platform matures, features get bolted on that the original UI designers never envisioned. These new features are often not 100% compatible with the existing UI idioms and compromises have to be made. This happens to every user interface eventually and iOS is no exception. 
 
But even a messy UI is sometimes preferable to a UI overhaul. Microsoft has tried UI overhauls several times with Windows and Office and it's always been a disaster. Legacy apps don't fit the new UI idioms and users, who are often not tech-savvy, have to learn a scary new UI.
 
If anyone can do it, it's Apple though.
post #15 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

Apple is not Microsoft who reskins their OS every year as a means to justify its outrageous upgrade cost, or Googles copying of everything Apple does.

Could you please provide some specific examples over the last 10 years of a Microsoft OS that has been reskinned every year so that Microsoft can justify its outrageous upgrade cost?  Windows Phone upgrades have come for free (but who cares), XBox upgrades have come for free, and Microsoft Windows has only had three releases over the last 10 years ("Windows Vista" in 2006, "Windows 7" in 2009, and "Windows 8" in 2012). 

post #16 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I tend to agree that the UI of iOS is outdated. Not much as changed since the original iOS. I'd like to see some differences. Maybe Jony Ive can make this happen in iOS 7. No sweeping changes so it makes it harder to use, but just changes to refresh the interface. I'd like to see some new features as well. Except for Siri (which isn't a big deal to me), there really hasn't been anything earth shattering coming out of Apple these days. You can only sit and watch yourself on top for so long before people start to catch up. If you wait until they catch up, its already too late...Its only a matter of time before someone does just this if Apple doesn't do anything to stay ahead.

***Waits to get lambasted for this post***

 

I agree with pretty much all of this (especially the lambasted part, so easy to get slammed on this forum if you don't toe the line) but at the same time Blackberry is the last company that is currently qualified to lecture others about timely innovation.  Certainly when it's yet to be seen how successful the uptake of BB10 will be. That said, I think there's neat UI tweaks in WP8 (live tiles, for example) and BB10 (Hub? can't remember what it's called but my friend demo'd it for me on his Z10) and not a lot has changed for iOS user experience since inception (other than Siri, like you said).  Not to say it has to change for the sake of changing, but something does feel a bit stale about the current iOS experience.

post #17 of 264

this is like: pot meet kettle....Pot says: the kettle is black....ewww. Kettle says: so are you......

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Tallest Skil:


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post #18 of 264
One thing that I think absolutely has to be done with iOS7 is cleaning up the Settings. Every time a new feature gets added it gets thrown in there and it's grown into a big mess. Like, why is notification settings for Angry Birds in both the first Settings screen and then in Notifications? Why is there a massive list of apps on the first page of settings at all? Why is VPN in two spots? I could go on.

Also let us either search for settings or add them to our home screen for quick access.

Actually I have another example: Go find where to turn on the battery percentage in Settings. Yeah.
post #19 of 264
Heims is a self serving douchebag with a failed business model. Tell him for me we just bought 2 iPhone 5s and no Blackberries
post #20 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I tend to agree that the UI of iOS is outdated. Not much as changed since the original iOS. I'd like to see some differences. Maybe Jony Ive can make this happen in iOS 7. No sweeping changes so it makes it harder to use, but just changes to refresh the interface. I'd like to see some new features as well. Except for Siri (which isn't a big deal to me), there really hasn't been anything earth shattering coming out of Apple these days. You can only sit and watch yourself on top for so long before people start to catch up. If you wait until they catch up, its already too late...Its only a matter of time before someone does just this if Apple doesn't do anything to stay ahead.

***Waits to get lambasted for this post***

 

Funny how these posts criticize iOS and demand changes yet fail to offer any concrete suggestions. "No sweeping changes... refresh the interface... new features" the poster laments. So bottom line, just change it for change's sake so we can say it's innovative? Well, we've now seen how this attitude works out with the Galaxy S4 loaded with features only a few geeks will use. But hey, it's 'change' so it must be good, right? To me the S4 has become the Microsoft Office of the smartphone market, bloated with features the average user doesn't even know about much less ever use. 

 

The continuing war rages between the tech types and the common user with Apple on the common user's side. Just take a peek at Andy Ihnatko's 6000 word geek manifesto on why he switched to Android and you'll see the contrasting ideologies. Meanwhile even the enterprise is opting for ease of use with iOS.

post #21 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

I hear this from the Microsoft drones and fandroids a lot. it has become a mainstain of their talking points. But specifically, they never mention what is outdated about it? what does not work?

While not perfect, iOS has a highly intuitive, easy to use interface. It is far better than the horrid Windows Phone OS with is busy flashing squares, text scrolling off the right side of the screen everywhere, primitive block colors, etc... Or androids, iOS copy, with slow motion scrolling, inconsistent experience, unintuitive navigation, etc...

Apple is not Microsoft who reskins their OS every year as a means to justify its outrageous upgrade cost, or Googles copying of everything Apple does.

I agree. I hear everywhere that it is outdated. But never an example of what they mean by it. It's like political parties. Ask them anything you want, they will answer any question! Of course, they answer the question with a practiced party talking point that, usually, has no relation to the question asked.

 

So, to those on this forum that think it is outdated, what should they do? Any suggestions/examples?

 

Aside from a Dashboard like screen/space (as in Mac OS X, which I have turned off), what can they do differently?

post #22 of 264
Changing a form factor or a UI is not necessarily innovating. This is the lesson these CEOs need to learn and remember.

Perhaps Apple has changed the UI because they don't want to force folks to start over from scratch in regards to learning how to up use the tech, so it can get out if the way and they can just use it.

That notion sounds rather innovative to me. Especially when the other side seems to be change everything just to change it.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #23 of 264
I hope ios7 doesn't change much, honestly I don't want to see widgets, live wallpapers, swype, and a bunch of software features that you see on some of the android phones. I'm old school, I just want ios7 to look relatively the same as the first ios in 2007. I prefer speed, fluidity, solid battery life over a bunch of features that most people wont use anyways.
post #24 of 264
OMG Seriously?
post #25 of 264
LOLZ. Having used an X10 for the first time this weekend, I can say without hesitation that he's tilting at windmills.

Long and short, the new X10 UI is a bag of hammers. Every app had a different UI, apparently designed at random. This wouldn't be so bad if they were 3rd party apps, but no, these were the out-of-the-box examples.

I'm sorry to say this as a red-blooded Cannuck, but there's no hunt left in the BB dog.
post #26 of 264
Apple has an outdated UI, Blackberry has an outdated company.
post #27 of 264
Hmmm- are his comments drawn from strength...or experience


"Since the iPhone launched in 2007, it's had largely the same interface with a grid of icons making users' applications accessible. While that was adequate with the first-generation iPhone, BlackBerry's Thorsten Heins believes it's now antiquated"


This argument is akin to saying the buttons on the telephone, arranged in a 3x4 grid was antiquated .

I disagree, The original iphone was a completely different product, The UI which has been updated numerous times was well thought out and functions as it should. If anything, the icons could be updated, but the interface as a whole? Not long BBY anytime soon.
post #28 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by quest01 View Post

I hope ios7 doesn't change much, honestly I don't want to see widgets, live wallpapers, and a bunch of software features that you see on some of the android phones. I'm old school, I just want ios7 to look relatively the same as the first ios in 2007. I prefer speed, fluidity, solid battery life over a bunch of software features.

 

Most common users, which are Apple's focus audience, would agree with you.

 

the trouble is that folks on a board like this aren't part of that group. They are geeks and tweakers and to them the lack of such things as widgets etc is a total failure. And Apple will keep being a failure until they add it because being able to jailbreak just isn't enough for these folks.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #29 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by jglonek View Post

One thing that I think absolutely has to be done with iOS7 is cleaning up the Settings. Every time a new feature gets added it gets thrown in there and it's grown into a big mess. Like, why is notification settings for Angry Birds in both the first Settings screen and then in Notifications? Why is there a massive list of apps on the first page of settings at all? Why is VPN in two spots? I could go on.

Also let us either search for settings or add them to our home screen for quick access.

Actually I have another example: Go find where to turn on the battery percentage in Settings. Yeah.

Your Angry Birds example doesn't hold water, though, because there isn't an option for it in Notifications, but that does raise another issue. Why are ALL notifications not handled within Notifications? That seems like something that should be mandated.

 

Also, Settings --> General --> Usage --> Battery Usage. I don't think that's too bad, as it's a setting you will turn on and never, ever, ever touch again, unlike WiFi, Bluetooth, or airplane mode. The biggest issue I have with it, is why is it not just on by default, and why is there an option to turn it off at all? Why is it even a setting? It's not in the way of anything else when it's on, and it is much more useful than being off.

post #30 of 264
Just granted UI patent and more
LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01
and more is coming..
i can not tell u more that for secret reason
1biggrin.gif
Edited by Selva Raj - 3/18/13 at 6:25am
post #31 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

I hear this from the Microsoft drones and fandroids a lot. it has become a mainstain of their talking points. But specifically, they never mention what is outdated about it? what does not work?

While not perfect, iOS has a highly intuitive, easy to use interface. It is far better than the horrid Windows Phone OS with is busy flashing squares, text scrolling off the right side of the screen everywhere, primitive block colors, etc... Or androids, iOS copy, with slow motion scrolling, inconsistent experience, unintuitive navigation, etc...

Apple is not Microsoft who reskins their OS every year as a means to justify its outrageous upgrade cost, or Googles copying of everything Apple does.

The risk of changing the GUI drastically is that it's not always for the better, and some might stick with the older GUI.  Look at Microsoft, Almost half of their users sill using XP.  Apple is just got an easy to use GUI and what Android OEMs and Blackberry are trying to do is copy Apple enough to be similar, but make changes to make it different like putting the weather on the locked screen and saying how advanced their OS is.

 

What it sounds like is the ones that complain are used to playing video games, probably have ADD as a result and they use the OS likes its a video game.

post #32 of 264

Hey Thornton, Cook knows and that's why Scott Forstall is no longer at Apple. 1smile.gif

post #33 of 264
What Blackberry's CEO is actually saying is they want Apple to come out with something new and innovative to copy.

In regard to other smartphone UIs, the key with Apple is simplicity. After all, an easy to use smartphone was the primary goal of creating the iPhone in the first place.

Now others what to or have already added a lot of complexity to their copies of the iPhone. That's OK to do. Keep on trucking. Keep on making it every more complex until it looks like a Windows PC. After all, that is where they are heading.

The iPhone will continue to be easy enough for a 1 year-old or grandmother to use.
post #34 of 264

I agree with the comment about Settings needing a tidy up. That would be a good place to start.

 

Also, it's already the case that nearly every iOS control is skinnable. They did this so game developers who wanted their controls to match the look of their game could still use the standard controls (i.e. not have to write their own slider or button). So Apple could use this feature themselves.

post #35 of 264

Here's what probably happened.   BB's CEO and head of PR, and they are trying to figure out how to get public attention without spending anymore money, so they figure that bad mouthing the company whom they are copying will get them attention and people will just buy BB phones.

post #36 of 264

Ok this is a design patent for what?  The UI layout on the iPad?  The names on the patent aren't familiar to me,  not  the guys usually on patents with Forstall.

post #37 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


Try this. Go find an iPhone with OS X for iPhone on it. That was the name they used before iPhone OS and iOS.

Use it for 1 hour.

Come back and try to repeat your post with a straight face.

 

Uh what?

post #38 of 264
Honestly, I can't imagine a ton of structural changes. I could easily see more cosmetic changes as we've seen in OsX, getting more matte-looking compared to some of the early versions aqua-look. iOS still has a shiny, aqua feel.
post #39 of 264
UI design and next ipad internal design..
post #40 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

Funny how these posts criticize iOS and demand changes yet fail to offer any concrete suggestions. "No sweeping changes... refresh the interface... new features" the poster laments. So bottom line, just change it for change's sake so we can say it's innovative? Well, we've now seen how this attitude works out with the Galaxy S4 loaded with features only a few geeks will use. But hey, it's 'change' so it must be good, right? To me the S4 has become the Microsoft Office of the smartphone market, bloated with features the average user doesn't even know about much less ever use. 

 

The continuing war rages between the tech types and the common user with Apple on the common user's side. Just take a peek at Andy Ihnatko's 6000 word geek manifesto on why he switched to Android and you'll see the contrasting ideologies. Meanwhile even the enterprise is opting for ease of use with iOS.

 

 

You can still refresh the interface without making changes, or making it hard to use. I didn't say just make it look completely different. Of course that would be stupid. My OS X example was what I was going for. The interface looks the same, but it UI has been updated a few times to keep it current. You can do both without losing people. 

 

BTW...I like how you immediately went for the iOS vs Android thing. Very nice...

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