The iPhone? So 2007. So says the CEO of BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) as the Canadian phone maker -- once at the top of the heap in the smartphone market -- struggles to regain share with its new devices running a revamped operating system.
Thorsten Heins heaped praise upon Apple's Steve Jobs-designed, hugely profitable smartphone for the innovation it brought to the market before telling the Australian Financial Times in an interview published Monday that the device hasn't kept pace with competitors.
Updated Too Slowly?
"Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market....They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that," Heins said.
But the German-born Heins, who took the reins of the company in January 2012, went on to note the importance of updating and refreshing products quickly: "The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now 5 years old."
Apple is now on the sixth generation of the iPhone and the sixth version of its operating system, iOS.
The first BlackBerry device (a pager and e-mail retriever) made the scene in 1999, eight years before the iPhone, and BlackBerry released the 10th version of its operating system in January.
Heins also said last week's launch of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S IV smartphone and others would chip away at Apple's lead in the market.
The iPhone is still the single best-selling phone, though Samsung's wide range of devices powered by Google's Android operating system are No. 1 both globally and in the important U.S. market, according to market research firms.
The iPhone 5 has sold more than its predecessors, but fell short of the high expectations of some Wall Street analysts, who perceive a weakness. The iPhone 5, after all, has no feature that was not already available on other phones at the time it was released, other than access to the avalanche of applications in Apple's App Store, which leads competitors by far with 800,000 titles.
Apps are one area in which the BlackBerry needs improvement, and Heins told the Australian paper that 100,000 would be available for its latest device, the Z10, when it launches this week.
Weston Henderek, principal analyst for consumer services at Current Analysis, predicts that there will be no lost sleep among execs at Apple's Cupertino, Calif.- headquarters when the Z10s hit the market.
"Honestly, I do not believe that Apple is worried much about BB10 stealing sales," he told us. "While I personally like the BB10 OS, it will be extremely hard to get consumers who have an iPhone to switch over to a BB10 device. It would have been much easier to convert customers to BB10 a couple of years ago when there was a larger BlackBerry install base at the high end.