From BB10 to iOS: 1 Week Challenge

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!

My current daily driver - BlackBerry Passport Limited Edition
My current daily driver – BlackBerry Passport Limited Edition

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!

My phone for this experiment - iPhone 5 64GB
My phone for this experiment – iPhone 5 64GB

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.

ITunes logo
ITunes logo

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 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!

The iOS keyboard, shown in Documents To Go
The iOS keyboard, shown in Documents To Go

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.

Jon Hunnings

(Step-)father & husband. I code directly on my #BlackBerry devices, in between blogs! Contact me via Twitter: @BrizBerryDevs or via email:

  • bambinoitaliano

    Very brave of you to venture out into the land of Apple. Anymore home button pressing I will be using the hammer to do it one last time. Home button is stone age in mobile phone universe. One of the reason I rid of my Ipod touch.

  • bartron

    You’re a brave man. I went from iOS to BB10 and will never go back. iOS is just way too limited in functionality. The iPhone is just a portable kiosk for iTunes, the iOS app store and the Apple store. It’s not designed for users to do anything useful with it.

    • Martin

      But you can play Candy Crush and tether yourself to a wall outlet.

  • newcollector

    I wish you had decided to do this experiment with a more recent phone like the 6s. That would eliminate comparing today’s BB10 OS on a Passport to a new OS on a 4(?) year old phone. Still, more power to you. It won’t take you long to master the simple OS. Not sure if you will be able to deal with the limitations without loading more apps. :D

  • Azensun

    Fun read! I look forward to reading more on this! Also, I’m impressed with your patience, my limited experience with iPhones had me ready to find the sledgehammer in short order!

  • Schmurf

    I wish you all the best in your experiment and hope your nerves hold out! I hope you either tied yourself to a long tether before you stepped inside the walled fortress, I mean garden. Either that or a large bag of bread crumbs to find your way out. :)

  • To be fair Briz is being A LOT more polite in the article than in our BBM Group where his pain is causing much hilarity.

    • Canuckvoip

      Numerous rounds of guffahs!

  • Rog518za

    Interesting. I’ve had to assist iOS users and there is one thing I just can’t get over, is that home button. WTH?! It’s really stupid. Funny enough the first time my exboss tried out my PassPort he struggled to close apps and stated that it needed a home button, needless to say he is an Apple fan.

    I actually feel the same way about Android, I never know when I’m actually out of an app, or if all I done with the back button is go to a previous menu/screen. I hope this doesn’t become an issue when I get my Priv.

    Back to the article, I bet you there are going to be many things you going to have to spend extra time doing especially the simple things, that would have been two clicks on BlackBerry 10.

    Try/test this, share/fwd an existing text message to another contact.

    I bet you going to hate the battery life, the boring menus, auto-correct, continuously have go into extra screens or menus to do the most basic of things, also you’ve already encountered the fact a lot of stuff needs to be downloaded, (but t say BlackBerry lacks apps).

    Can’t wait for the follow up article, will you be typing it on that little phone too?

  • fishlove73

    Very good read for me. Your putting into words what I could not. When I was with ATT I picked up an IOS 6 just to play with and take back 2 weeks later. I could not even handle the full 2 week trial period before returning it. The Passport (both of them) amaze me.(still) Only device that has allowed me to have 5-6 webpages open, listening to a podcast, texting and BBM’ing at THE SAME TIME :-) with no hicups or delays. Oh, and it was still giving me email alert lights….adjusted to my own custom colors of course. I’ve had Passports for the last 8 mo. So far hands down…the best devices I’ve ever owned.

    • Prem WatsApp

      I regularly have between 20 and 100 tabs open on th Passport.

      10.3.1 was more stable in that respect…. :-D

  • Robert

    The music stops playing because Apple says you don’t need it while having another app open. According to them it’s a distraction. locco_smiley_8

  • E

    I’m so used to the workhorse that is BB10, I forget how limited iOS is in its functionality! Great article. This series is sure to be enlightening!

  • jrohland

    OK Briz, I was going to come out guns blazing. Only, I know you are a good, fair man. I get it. You don’t believe it’s right to criticize iPhone without direct knowledge. For me, it’s not the phone. I know I could figure out how to work around its limits and get on with life. The problem is Apple Corporation. It is run by evil, despicable people. I could not support them.

  • DickLewis13

    Maybe the chestnut, you holding it wrong comes to mind. Good Luck, you’re a braver man than I am. :)

  • Canuckvoip

    Make sure not to drop the iPhone, it’s delicate!!!

    • Martin

      But isn’t the spider web cracked screen part of the iOS experience!?

      • Prem WatsApp

        Superhero outfit…. :-)

  • Trev

    Oh man, you’re never going to go back to your old, antiquated BlackBerry now! Why don’t you just send me that Passport to help you avoid any temptation to go back to your old (working) ways!

  • Jon! More power to you! I have really been fantasizing about doing this type of experiment for a long time. I’m so glad you’re doing it.

    I look forward to your future posts on this. I have no doubt our perceptions on iOS and iPhones will be confirmed.

  • jrohland

    Squeeze song it here:

  • Anthony

    Be careful with your iPhone test. It will suck and destroy your brain cells until you’re dumb enough to like it. locco_smiley_13

  • kpbutton

    Interesting experiment. My daughter has an iPhone and the frustrations I have when I discuss how you should be able to do this or that is never ending. Good luck with the experiment.

  • Martin

    I had an iPhone once, I grew tired of it within three to four days. I called it my three to four day phone. As it usually took three to four days to download an app, and three to four days to open the browser, three to four days to update the OS. I could go on, compose an email, share music or share an attachment or file, it was extremely difficult to get anything done. Multi tasking really doesn’t exist on iToys. If I remember correctly the only thing it was quick at, was draining its battery….that usually only took three to four hours.