BlackBerry 10 vs Apple iOS 6
There are certain types of questions people ask on a certain subject. One of the most popular questions is which is the best one of all. This question can be posed pointing to a group, but for the sake of the argument, let us take the two instance problem. What is the best between these two? Well that depends is the easiest answer. I mean that question is one of the most difficult questions a layman can ask a techie. There are some classic examples of one being the obvious choice; for instance you are asked to choose between Android 4.2 and Windows CE 5.0, you won’t have to think twice to make up your mind. But when you are thrown a difficult question, there are various things you need to analyze before answering the question. And even if you do answer, it is not likely a black and white binary answer on A being better than B. It actually depends on what you think and how individuals’ perceive. Hence you need to be very careful in answering a question like that, and I’m also going to be very careful because this comparison is a question like that. If you are a loyal BlackBerry fan, obviously BlackBerry 10 OS would be the best choice for you and all the other operating systems are somehow inferior; if you are a loyal iOS fan, that is the best operating system for you and there are tons of reasons why other operating systems are garbage. Well I’m not ready to get caught up in that debate; so let us compare these two operating systems objectively by leaving the subjective judgment to you.
BlackBerry 10 OS Review
BlackBerry 10 is a very important stepping stone for Research in Motion and the outcome of it may well change the future of RIM. As such, we can be sure that RIM has paid a lot of attention to BlackBerry 10. The best example for RIM’s dedication towards their new operating system can be seen as the acquisition of QNX Systems in early 2010. Back at that time, we weren’t actually sure what RIM intended to do with QNX Systems, but having seen the BlackBerry 10 OS, it all makes sense because at the center of the BlackBerry 10 OS lies QNX Neutrino Micro Kernel. RIM has taken a different approach in engineering their new operating system by adapting a distributed architecture which is also known as hub-and-spoke architecture. As such, it has independent self-contained operating environments for its components that are controlled by QNX Neutrino Micro Kernel. This approach enables RIM to create a robust operating system that is more stable because even if an individual component fails, the other components can work with the least impact. In layman’s terms, we can simply say BlackBerry 10 OS is supposed to be a more robust and secure operating system.
The first thing you need to understand is that BlackBerry 10 is an entirely new experience compared to BlackBerry 7 OS. It is available for full touchscreen smartphones without any buttons and as such features exciting opportunities for Blackberry fans. An exciting integration that catches your eye the first time you set your hands on BlackBerry Z10 is the BlackBerry Hub. It can be considered as the holy grail of your notifications. All your incoming notifications from email, SMS, voicemail, BBM, call etc. are featured in here for better accessibility. In the home screen of Blackberry OS 10, you have the BlackBerry Hub, then the Active Frames and classic icon grid. The active frames are a little like live tiles in Windows Phone 8 although they are not as interactive. It shows brief information about the apps that were minimized recently. It should be noted that developers need to use the API provided by RIM in order for an application to appear in Active Frames. All these home screens are only a custom gesture away, and I’ll leave you to find out the exact gesture specifications.
RIM has also integrated a quick settings menu like in the Android OS with the same gesture. You can also access the full settings page from the quick settings apart from the Wi-Fi toggle, Bluetooth toggle, rotation lock, notification sounds and alarm icons. BlackBerry 10 OS also offers a universal search that can find content from your messages, contacts, documents, pictures, music, third party apps, and maps as well as web content, which is pretty nifty. If you are used to iOS or Android, you should be quite accustomed to their lock screens as well right? Now RIM offers a lock screen in BlackBerry OS 10 which has smooth operations and quick access to camera app. It also features the number of unread emails you have and some other information. The new keyboard in BlackBerry 10 also comes with some nifty enhancements. The virtual keyboard is well spaced horizontally with good reason. You can press two or three characters for the word you want to type, and you’ll see a predicted word floating on top of the next character you have to type which is quite nifty. The system is said to be powered by popular Android engine SwiftKey and offers a learning environment that gets better at predicting when you use it more. Cursor selection on the typed words has gone touchscreen as well, and you sure would have to make that transition from the track pad.
Following their enterprise roots, RIM has included an app called BlackBerry Balance that separates your work from your personal modes. The work mode offers 256 bit AES encryption, which is highly secure and another bunch of options so that you will not mix your work with your personal life. This is actually a well thought feature from RIM we like. BlackBerry 10 also has a Siri like virtual assistant that is activated and can be operated with voice commands. The browser seems more or less than what you’d have in BlackBerry 7 OS although RIM has decided to fully support Flash which is quite a surprise given all the other mobile vendors are trying to cease support for Flash. BlackBerry Messenger is a unique feature that is available only in BlackBerry, and we can see that in BB 10 OS too. In fact, you can now make video calls and share your live screen through BBM which is fantastic.
The new camera app is also really nice, and the central selling point for that is the TimeShift camera. With this new feature, BlackBerry 10 captures a short burst of pictures when you touch the virtual shutter enabling you to choose the best version of the short burst of frames. This especially comes in handy in selecting the faces of friends where everybody is laughing, and nobody is closing their eyes! However I’m really going to miss the Panorama mode which I hope RIM would push through an update for the OS. Story Maker video editing software is also quite easy to use and produce good results combined with the 1080p HD videos recording. There is another built-in app called Remember which seems more or less like Google Keep. BlackBerry Maps provide turn by turn voice enabled navigation, but the maps are not as better as Google Maps, which may be a turn off.
I’m actually impressed with BlackBerry 10 as a whole and won’t really give second thoughts in using it. What worries me is the low matured content available in the app store. BlackBerry pledged that they’ll improve the quantity and quality of the apps available, and that seems to be happening at a rapid pace. However, there are still apps that I miss from my Android or iOS which would eventually make their way to BlackBerry 10. Other than that, BB 10 is a solid operating system with a great architecture and offers good performance with great usability features.
Apple iOS 6 Review
As we discussed before, iOS has been the main inspiration for the other OSs to improve their appearance in the eyes of the users. Hence it is needless to say that iOS 6 carries the same charisma in impressive looks. Besides that, let us look what new Apple has brought to the plate with the iOS 6.
iOS 6 has improved the phone application significantly. It is more user friendly and versatile. Combined with Siri, the possibilities to this are endless. It also enables you to reject calls more easily with a pre-composed message and a ‘don’t-disturb’ mode. They have also introduced something similar to Google Wallet. iOS 6 Passbook lets you keep e-tickets in your mobile phone. These may range from musical events to airline tickets. There is this particularly interesting feature related to airline tickets. If you have an e-ticket in your Passbook, it would automatically alert you once the departure gate was announced or changed. Of course, this means a lot of collaboration from the ticketing / airline firm as well, but it’s a nifty feature to have. As opposed to the version before, iOS 6 enables you to use facetime over 3G, which is great.
A major attraction in the smartphone is its browser. iOS 6 has added a brand new Safari application which introduces a lot of enhancements. iOS mail is also improved, and it has a separate VIP mailbox. Once you define the VIP list, their mails would appear in a dedicated mailbox on your lock screen which is a cool feature to have. An apparent improvement can be seen with Siri, the famous digital personal assistant. iOS 6 integrates Siri with the vehicles on their steering wheel using the new Eyes Free feature. Leading vendors like Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota have agreed to support Apple on this endeavor which would be a welcome addition in your car. Further it also has integrated Siri to the new iPad, as well.
Facebook is the world’s largest social media network, and any smartphone nowadays concentrates largely on how to integrate more and seamlessly with Facebook. They specifically boast on integrating Facebook events with your iCalendar, and that is a cool concept. Twitter integration has also been improved as per official preview of Apple. Apple has also come up with their own Maps application which still needs improvement on coverage. Conceptually, it can act as either a satellite navigation system or a turn by turn navigation map. Maps application can also be controlled using Siri and it has new Flyover 3D views of major cities. This has become one of the main ambassadors for iOS 6. In fact, let us look at the maps application in depth. Apple investing in their own Geographic Information System is an aggressive step against relying on Google. However, right now, Apple Maps application is going to lack information about the traffic conditions and some other user generated data vectors that Google has collected and established over the years. For instance, you lose Street View and instead get the 3D Flyover View as the compensation. Apple was conscious enough to provide turn by turn navigation with voice instructions with iOS 6, but if you intend to take public transport, the routing is done with third party applications, unlike the Google Maps. However, don’t expect too much right now because the 3D Flyover feature is only available to major cities in USA only.
A Brief Comparison Between Blackberry OS 10 and Apple iOS 6
• Apple has improved their Personal Digital Assistant Siri while BlackBerry 10 OS has a new voice activated virtual assistant that needs more development.
• Apple iOS 6 has added some enhancements to their camera application while BlackBerry 10 offers TimeShift camera as an interactive feature but misses out on fundamental modes like Panorama.
• Apple doesn’t offer the ability to have multiple user accounts or a secure compartment for work mode while BB 10 offers Blackberry Balance, which separates your work and personal life with a 256 bit AES encrypted wall.
• Apple iOS 6 has delegated their store to a set of different applications while BlackBerry 10 has a nifty universal search that comes in handy.
• Apple iOS 6 has introduced notifications in the Lock Screen while BlackBerry 10 has a basic notification bar along with an advanced Blackberry Hub which integrates all your incoming notifications under one list.
• Apple iOS 6 offers Safari browser that has a ‘read it later’ function while BlackBerry 10 offers an alternate interactive way of typing that uses the famous Android SwiftKey engine for prediction.
If you clearly look at the evolution of smartphone operating systems; what we see as a smartphone operating system was first defined by Apple iOS and subsequently Android. They co-evolved affecting each other in numerous ways. Android and iOS copied from each other; they took different approaches at times and converged to a unified objective at other times. It certainly is interesting to study their co-phylogenetic tree if we can create one. In any case, what we see as BlackBerry 10 today has its roots from both Android and Apple iOS which is clearly evident when you use it. As such, it is really not for me to declare which one is the best and which one is inferior. That choice is immensely personal and depends on what you like and what you believe in and what you support. The only problem you will have to worry about is the low maturity of the BlackBerry 10 and the lack of content in the app store compared to Apple iTunes. If you can overlook that, these two operating systems can be solid choices for you. However in order to use Apple iOS, you will have to pay a premium price while BlackBerry 10 is offered at a relatively low price point which might trip your balance.