BlackBerry sees light at end of tunnel – but is it just new iPhone's glow?

As RIM claims it has traced source of BlackBerry's problems, fans flock to test rival

With BlackBerry still reeling from a catastrophic communications blackout that left millions of smartphone users worldwide unable to receive emails this week, its rival, Apple, is expected to reap the benefits. The timing of the release of Apple's new iPhone 4S, which goes on sale at 8am today, could not be more fortuitous.

A small handful of die-hard disciples had already staked their place outside Apple's flagship Regent Street store in London yesterday afternoon to be first in line to get the new phone. "I've had it with my BlackBerry," Helen Yemane, 17, said from her deck chair, firmly planted in the Regent Street queue. "I'm going to throw it at the wall. It stopped working for three days, it was so annoying. I'll be replacing it with the new iPhone." Although derided by some critics as a half-baked replacement for the iPhone 4, the faithful were in no doubt that the latest offering from the California tech giant would be worth the wait – and the £500 price-tag. Pre-ordering for the iPhone 4S began on Monday and hit a million in a single day. It is the first new Apple product to be released since Steve Jobs, the company's talismanic former chief executive, died last week.

"Jobs was my idol. I cried when I heard he had died," said Craig Fox, 30, who had queued since Sunday night to be first in line for the new phone. Naturally, he brought his Apple MacBook computer with him and has been sleeping with it in his sleeping bag for safety. "Apple products are the pinnacle of engineering and design," he said. "They're symbols of our time. That's why I'm here."

Fans were initially underwhelmed by the iPhone 4S, hoping for a more comprehensive update – the expected iPhone 5. But today's new release does contain some new and improved features, including an eight-megapixel camera and new voice-command technology called "Siri".

After millions of BlackBerry customers found that their phones did not work earlier this week, the scene was rather more stark at the European headquarters of its Canadian manufacturer, RIM. The large grey building among a row of equally unremarkable industrial units in Slough seemed a world away from the sleek glass frontage of the Apple Store and not like the sort of place that would be at the centre of international controversy.

The BlackBerry blackout has been traced to a server failure, reportedly at RIM's Slough HQ. Inside, an army of engineers was mobilised to fix the problem that resulted in browsing, email and other services being unavailable for most of the company's seven million British customers – and still more in the Middle East, India and Africa.

A source at the BlackBerry manufacturer said: "Our people have just not stopped work on this."

Estimates suggest enough unsent data has accumulated to fill nearly 2.4 trillion music CDs. Nick Dillion, a mobile phone expert with analyst firm Ovum said: "This is the first major disruption to the BlackBerry service since 2009, during which time the number of BlackBerry users has doubled."

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power