Last night, like many others, I watched the launch of the worst kept secret this year – the iPhone X. It’s just written X, but it’s pronounced 10. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it iPhone 10. Years ago, I used to vouch for my BlackBerry.
And just before the lights went out, there was a glimmer of hope in the form of BlackBerry 10. I found myself passionately demoing the benefits, and the superiority of the UI. Peek and Access were two gestures that were iconic and ahead of their time. This was late 2012, early 2013 when I’d experienced BlackBerry 10. It’s been close to five years, and a few familiar faces have moved to Apple. And five years later, I don’t find it surprising that I’m reminiscing some of the most exciting features I experienced years ago in a mobile operating system.
BlackBerry 10, a new mobile operating system, 5 years ago
BlackBerry has existed in the mobile space since time immemorial. Well not really, but before the days of iOS and Android, there existed a world with BlackBerry and Nokia. This was the early 2000s. Consumer needs were different. If you find yourself cribbing about devices today, those were the days when executives cursed the BlackBerry for bringing email wherever they went.
BlackBerry Messenger aka BBM, took away boundaries from conversations. Everything was switching to data. Those were the days when telcos still had a steady stream of revenue from text messaging and voice calls. Times changed, and to cut the long story short, there was no longer a need to buy a separate BlackBerry plan for your smartphone. These were the times of BlackBerry 10. There’s reason why I’m writing so much about BlackBerry 10. when in reality, I want to write about iPhone 10. Oops, iPhone X.
At the time of release, BlackBerry marketed BlackBerry 10 as a whole new mobile computing platform built ground up. From scratch. It really was. I still vividly remember the case it built with QNX, the most advanced real-time operating system that powers nuclear reactors. And compared to the old sluggish Java piece of bloat, the QNX-powered BlackBerry was buttery smooth. In fact, it was known for having among the fastest browsing experiences. All said and done, the highlight was its UI. And the BlackBerry Z10 truly was the phone without the home button. ALSO READ: Next BlackBerry smartphone to ditch keypad; to launch in October
Things didn’t work out too well, and in late 2013, BlackBerry had to lay off 40 percent of its workforce. Could you guess what happened after that? According to this report by FP, Apple sent out LinkedIn invites to BlackBerry employees based in Waterloo inviting them to interview for positions at Apple. The report has an interesting image of the new Apple Campus where Apple just announced the latest iPhones.
Peek and Access
Before I delve into BlackBerry 10’s Peek and Access, I’d just like to take you back to last night’s Apple launch event. Where the star product was undoubtedly – Apple iPhone X. The iPhone without the home button. That’s the best way to describe it. With the new Face ID, you simply register your face, and you’re good to go. All you need to do is look at your phone, and swipe away to glory.
Technology has evolved today, where you can pack in a plethora of sensors on the top of the smartphone to scan literally every parameter possible. All you need to focus on is your consumer or work flow. But just about five years ago, with the lack of viable sensors, the best that happened was the Peek and Access, where a swipe from the bottom of the screen showed you all open apps. But a swipe from the bottom, and tilt to the right took you to BlackBerry Hub.
When I see the new gestures in iOS 11 on the new iPhone X, I can’t help but remember BlackBerry 10. And I’m sure a lot of the BlackBerry employees who are now employed at Apple resonate with the thought as well. RELATED: Apple iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, tvOS 11 release dates revealed
The best idea with the best execution works
Clearly, not a lot of the things we’ve seen are firsts in the industry. But it can be argued that the execution of these ideas are ideally what stand out. My friends who own a Samsung Galaxy S8 have been raving about the face recognition for unlocking. And it’s available at a much better price. But then it’s the Apple experience that would probably present itself as a benchmark for the future of smartphones.
Whether it’s the Samsung Galaxy S8, the newer Galaxy Note 8 or the iPhone X that will impress depends on your favorite platform. As the Apple world believes, an iPhone is always an iPhone. And as the Android world believes, there’s nothing new in the iPhone that wasn’t there in Android before. In the meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing how the iPhone, with its hefty pricing, does in India. DON’T MISS: Apple iPhone X Face ID feature raises concerns around privacy and surveillance