This is the first in a series of blogs following my progress in an experiment never-before-seen on UTB – an attempt to give up BlackBerry 10 for a week, in favour of an iPhone 5!
Before I continue, I should give a bit of background: I have been a BlackBerry user continuously for the last five years or so, starting with a Curve 8520 and working my way up to a Limited Edition Passport. I love how intuitive BB10 is, and it should be mentioned that I currently have no intention of permanently switching! When I recently acquired an iPhone, it made me think. After five years using BlackBerry, could I cope using iOS for just one week? Here’s my chance to find out!
Part 1: The setup
Before I started using the iPhone, I made sure to perform a Factory reset and double-checked that I had the latest version of iOS installed. The next step was swapping the SIM from my Passport to the iPhone, before powering it up. I went through the initial setup and signed into an old Apple ID I had the details for, and after a few minutes, I was ready to go.
My first priority was to download BBM for iOS (There was no way I was gonna go a week without being in contact with my BBM groups!) and inform the rest of the UTB team that I had started my experiment. The reaction was more or less what I expected: comments like “Why?”, “Are you crazy?”, etc, interspersed with more supportive messages like “It’s an interesting idea”, “Not sure I could do that” and so on. Now I had told the UTB team, there was no going back!
The First Few Hours
As soon as I began using the iPhone, I noticed one huge difference compared to BB10 – the use of gestures, or more accurately, the lack thereof! iOS makes heavy use of that Home Button – single press to access the Home Screen, long press to access Voice Control, and double press to see all the running apps (followed by a swipe up to close the app). Navigating around the various apps was simple enough, but then I decided to listen to some music.
No problem, I thought, I’ll just open Safari and play some music from YouTube. Off to the site I went, chose a tune, and tapped Play. Music filled the room, and all was well… Until I wanted to reply to a BBM message. I had the “multitasking” thing down now, just a simple double-tap on the Home Button, and a tap on the BBM app running in the background, and I’d be fine.
Except I wasn’t.
As soon as I double-tapped the Home Button, the music stopped. iOS, for whatever reason, will not permit music to play from a webpage unless Safari is active (and not in the background). With a sigh, I realised I would have to transfer music over to the iPhone to listen while I worked.
Being in Apple’s “walled garden” now, it wasn’t as simple as plugging the iPhone into my PC and dragging and dropping files (like with a BlackBerry device). No, I had to visit apple.com to download iTunes, wait while it installed, restart my PC, import my music into iTunes, create a playlist of the tracks I wanted to transfer, and then (finally!) transfer them over. The process took almost an hour in total, compared with around a quarter of the time for transferring the same music from my PC to my BlackBerry! Thankfully, I now could listen to some music while I worked.
All I needed now was a handy document-editing app – but surprise, surprise, there isn’t a native document editor on iOS, so I had to open the App Store and find one. Luckily, the top app on the suggestion list was Documents To Go, so I tapped ‘Get’, then ‘Install’ and waited for the download to complete. Three-quarters of an hour later (I kid you not!), Documents To Go finished downloading, and I could finally get productive! At last!
I began typing (the draft for this very article, in fact) and quickly discovered that I was frequently mistyping letters. The keys on the iOS keyboard are TINY in comparison to the Passport, and small even when compared to the Z10’s VKB. In iOS’ defence, it does offer word substitutions, but only three of them, and they appear above the keyboard, as opposed to above the letters (which I find much more efficient). Typing a few letters whilst checking the suggestions and tapping the relevant one proved much more efficient than attempting to type full words and deleting the (many) errors. On a BlackBerry VKB, I often find myself typing full words rather than using the suggestions, and thanks to the way that BlackBerry’s keyboard learns how you type and can detect letters that you frequently mistype I’m almost as quick on a BlackBerry VKB as I am on a regular one. The iOS keyboard is much less forgiving, however – and importantly, there is no swipe-left-to-delete (trust me, I tried more than once – old habits die hard!).
Unfortunately by now it was almost midnight, and time to turn in for the night. I’d have to wait until the morning to continue my experiment (and finish this article!).
In the next article, I’ll describe my first full day with the iPhone – I’m not sure if I’m intrigued about how it will go, or just plain worried! One thing I do know: I miss my Passport :(
Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.