Blackberry boss Thorsten Heins takes bite out of 'outdated' Apple iPhone

Lack of innovation has left iPhone user interface outdated, he says

Apple's iPhone is outdated, according to the chief executive of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion.

Thorsten Heins made the comment yesterday on the eve of the much-delayed launch of the new touchscreen BlackBerry in the US.

AT&T begins selling the Z10 touchscreen BlackBerry today, more than six weeks after RIM launched the devices elsewhere.

Mr Heins also said that a new keyboard version of the BlackBerry will not be released in the US until two or three months from now.

Both the touchscreen and keyboard models are part of RIM's attempt at a comeback after the pioneering brand lost its cachet not long after Apple's 2007 release of the iPhone.

Mr Heins said a lack of innovation at Apple has left iPhone's user interface outdated. He noted iPhone users have to go in and out of applications and the device does not allow for multitasking like the new BlackBerry Z10 does.

"It's still the same," he said of the iPhone. "It is a sequential way to work and that's not what people want today anymore. They want multitasking."

RIM's new software allows users to have multiple applications open like on a desktop, he said, noting that with BlackBerry you do not have to close an application to check an email.

Mr Heins said the iPhone was revolutionary five years ago, but it is now "just kind of sitting there".

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris declined to comment.

But the delay in selling the new keypad BlackBerry, called the Q10, complicates RIM's efforts to hang on to customers tempted by the iPhone and a range of devices running Google's Android operating system.

Even as the BlackBerry has fallen behind rivals in recent years, many BlackBerry users have stayed loyal because they prefer a physical keyboard over the touch screen found on the iPhone and most Android devices. But the temptations to switch grow with each additional delay, despite favourable reviews for new system.

Mr Heins said the Q10 keyboard version BlackBerry is just not ready yet and part of the reason is out of his control.

"It's our job to deliver the right software package and the right software quality to the carriers," he said.

"Then it is on the carriers to decide how intense they want their testing cycle to be and that really can range from a few weeks to three months."

Mr Heins said the company has to regain market share in the US for BlackBerry to be successful.

"You got to win here to win everywhere else," he said. "That's just the way it is. We've lost market share quite a bit, to put it mildly, and we absolutely need BlackBerry 10 to turn us around."

Mr Heins said initial sales in other countries are encouraging, but he could not release numbers ahead of RIM's earnings report next Thursday.

AP

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