RIM should take note as we just saw Apple do what it does best
Yesterday, Apple unveiled details of the iPhone 5 at an event in San Francisco. As BlackBerry users awaiting BlackBerry 10, it is only natural that we followed what happened, as this phone is going to one of the main phones that BlackBerry 10 will have to compete against.
At the end of the day, what they showed was a superb phone. Make no mistake, regardless of the jokes being made by less professional BlackBerry sites, and elsewhere online, this is a fantastic phone. Apple have literally improved nearly every single aspect of the iPhone 4S in one way or another. Personally, I am looking forward to reviewing it not only as a phone in it’s own right but as a comparison to what I can currently do with my BlackBerry and, more importantly, what I expect to do with my BlackBerry 10 device.
However, I am struggling very hard to find anything really innovative in the iPhone 5 and I have tried. It’s LTE enabled of course, but so will practically every new smartphone being made. We already know that BlackBerry 10 devices will be LTE enabled and this is great considering that 4G will finally be available in the UK. It also uses the nano sim format and unless RIM engineers have had a brain seizure, so should BlackBerry 10 phones. The lack of NFC in the iPhone 5 could be something that will come back to haunt them.
Apple Did What it Does Best
What Apple did yesterday just proves why brand image is vitally important. As I have just said, the iPhone 5 contains nothing innovative. It doesn’t have anything that made users go “Wow!”.
None of that matters in the slightest as even though it’s nothing innovative, it didn’t need to be. People will buy it because its the iPhone. Sadly, this won’t be limited to existing iPhone users who will want to upgrade their existing phone but there will be a lot of BlackBerry users that will buy it for the same reason – it’s an iPhone. For others who have been sitting waiting patiently, the iPhone 5 is exactly what they have been waiting for to convince them to buy it.
Apple have created a brand and whether the product matches that brand or not, the iPhone sells, and sells in massive numbers. That is marketing at it’s very best.
BlackBerry Brand and BlackBerry 10
RIM just didn’t keep up with android or Apple and there’s no arguing that the BlackBerry brand has taken a hammering. BlackBerry OS 7 phones are great phones and I just love my Bold 9900. However, there are a lot of things that I see on IOS and Android that I wish my BlackBerry had. Every day I see major companies bringing out apps that support IOS and Android and no mention of BlackBerry support. BlackBerry 10 will provide a partial solution to this as more and more apps are being developed for BlackBerry 10, a fact which is purely down to the hard work of Alec Saunders and his dev team. RIM have stated that there will be more apps available at BlackBerry 10 launch than for any other first generation OS platform. Unfortunately, numbers doesn’t equate to quality but the “Built with BlackBerry” program will be a massive step to ensure that quality programs are available on BlackBerry 10.
Consider this though. There are a lot of users out there who have already written Blackberry off and moved on and the brand name has been hit hard. Now take a company that re-invents a brand that you don’t like or have heard too many negative things about … what are the chances of you trying it when they already have that thinking and are comfortable using another brand. This is a massive problem that RIM will face when BlackBerry 10 launches.
Most users don’t buy a phone from a new brand by researching it and finding out whether it is the best product for them or not. In the real world, they buy it because it’s popular and they’re friends and/or work colleagues have it and a lot of other similar reasons. Once they have it, they then decide whether it is the best phone for them or not.
To be completely honest here, BlackBerry 10 smartphones could be the most innovative, best looking and best productivity tool that there is. If people don’t buy it, then all those fantastic features count for nothing.
Marketing is going to absolutely crucial to the success or failure of BlackBerry 10. RIM is going to have to make the BB brand “cool” again. Frank Boulben, the CMO of RIM probably has the hardest job on the planet right now. He has the job of making BlackBerry “cool” and making users “want” the phone. He has a great pedigree in the UK but has a lot riding on his shoulders right now.
Personally, I don’t have any doubts that BlackBerry 10 will be innovative and awesome but it’s not the BlackBerry lovers like myself that need convincing.
Research In Motion will give us all something fantastic but can they make the BlackBerry brand fantastic once again. That’s what Apple have perfected and the target RIM need to attain to.