What Apple Must Squeeze Out of BlackBerry

 | May 11, 2013 | 2:00 PM EDT  | Comments
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Over on The Street Friday, I provided my review of the new Q10 phone from BlackBerry (BBRY). I've been using the device for the past week in addition to my Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5, which is still my primary phone and will remain so.

As I said there, having a Q10 made me more appreciative of my iPhone. We take for granted how many little details the iPhone takes care of.  When you try another phone and some of these basics suddenly aren't there, it's very jarring.

However, using the Q10 also made me realize how little the iPhone has changed in a long time

I imagine that Jonny Ive, the new head of hardware and software for Apple (a post that used to be held by Scott Forstall), has been going back to the drawing board. But there's only so much he can do for iOS 7, which will be previewed next month. It's in iOS 8, next year, that Jony will really be given the chance to reveal a fresh approach to Apple's software.

Here's a laundry list of things that he should be trying to emulate from the Q10:

  • Better battery life. The Q10 sips battery life when it's compared to the iPhone 5. I'd estimate you get twice as much life out of a charge. There are several ways the Q10 accomplishes this, but one key way is the fact that it turns off the screen light quickly when it's not in use.
  • Predictive text. The Z10's glass keyboard experience is actually better than the iPhone, in my view. The words that pop up are really helpful -- and BlackBerry incorporates this technology into the Q10 well, even with the physical keyboard.
  • NFC Technology. BlackBerry has incorporated this in order to allow for payments. Mind you, you can't really do much with it now. Vendors haven't really signed up to do anything with it yet, which explains why Apple hasn't yet really done anything with it. However, the point is that it's time for Apple to really push Passbook into full on payments. The current iteration of Passbook must go much further.
  • Camera. I really like the feature BlackBerry has built in from a third party that allows for scrolling milliseconds before and after photos, which allows you to get just the right shot of someone without closed eyes or red eye. That's very useful.
  • More complete Instagram-like photo editing built into the iPhone camera.
  • An update/refresh of the core iPhone apps like stocks and weather. I'd much rather use the Yahoo! (YHOO) Weather app than that of Apple.
  • iTunes. This app is ancient now.  It needs a total redesign with radio integration and capability to share or "like" songs you're listening to after purchase.
  • New core apps. Beyond just the thousands of third-party apps, it would be great to see Apple beef up its own core set of apps it offers to  users.
  • Fixing iMessage from downtime, once and for all, along with integration to other third-party messaging services.
  • Continued upgrades of Maps, along with integration with Yelp (YELP), OpenTable (OPEN) and traffic-jam information.
  • Siri improvement. It's a niche service now. It needs to go to full conversational mode.
  • Integration with other wearable computing hardware that delivers fitness and health information.
  • Full integration into your car through your navigational system, iTunes and AirPlay.

In short, Apple needs to surprise us again. We need to have our breath taken away, as we were with the original "Jesus Phone" back in 2007.

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