Friday, June 24, 2011

Switching from a Blackberry 9630 to an iPhone 4

I've had a Blackberry since the inception of the 950 Internet Edition. I made the switch to the iPhone 4 mostly because of the problems I've had with the BES server at my current job. Every 15 days or so, I'd stop receiving corporate email. The 'fix' was to delete & re-add my account to the BES server. I got tired of needing someone to do that, and figured now was as good a time as any to learn a new gadget.

As you may or may not know, I am not a Mac fanboy by any means. There are a few simple things I want from a phone/handheld computer and I'm finding that the iPhone is lacking in a few important areas IMO.

I'll make it simple & make a list.
(This list assumes that you're not jailbreaking your iPhone)

  1. Customizing notifications between different email accounts is not currently possible. I'm told with the new OS release in the fall it will be possible. In the mean time, your only option to customize alert sounds is Boxcar.
  2. There is no way to change photo naming format without resorting to changing the phone region format to United Kingdom or some other such nonsense. Of course changing the phone region to United Kingdom also makes the phone numbers you dial look mighty strange if you're not used to international phone number formats.
  3. Single click dialing of conference call phone numbers is not supported natively. Of course there is a $5 app for that, but if you put the conference call number in the 'Notes' section of the conference call, you can do a single-click-to dial.
    • For the iPhone format the number to dial like this (leave off the last 'pound' sign)
      • tel://+ 1-123-456-7890ppp123456
    • For the Blackberry format the number to dial like this:
      • (123)456-7890!12345# (this string can be anywhere in the conference call info)
  4. Gmail push notifications didn't work smoothly out of the box until I followed these instructions to setup my Gmail account as an Exchange account.
  5. There isn't a red led indicator letting you know you've received a message if you weren't glued to your phone when the message came through. (no workaround)
  6. Battery life is pretty abysmal, but since this is a phone that is more like a personal computer, I expected that. Have your charger cables handy at all times!
  7. Name touch typing a contact's name to dial a contact - I miss this feature of the Blackberry. In the Blackberry phone you could type the name of the person you wanted to call instead of their number and the Blackberry would show the different phone numbers you had stored for them. It was really easy to choose a phone number and dial. Seems the only way to achieve this functionality is to - you guessed it - jailbreak the phone
Given that Cisco has partnered so heavily with Apple to create apps around VPN/WebEx/Security - I naively thought that the iPhone had all of the features of a Blackberry & then some. This is not the case.

Perhaps some of my gripes will indeed disappear with the new iOS 5 release in the fall. One can only hope.


  1. All good points, some of which I never thought about. Hopefully you'll find all of the other great features that might start making up for the lack of those you miss!

  2. I don't really get the typing someones name to get their numbers? this works fine on my iphone.. under contacts? which is inside the same app as dialer?
    I moved over to iphone from blackberry about 18 months ago and to be honest I have been nothing but impressed.
    but best of all... no Black berry enterprise server licencing :)
    good post though :) impressed with your skills :)

  3. When you're using a Blackberry, anytime you're in the phone dialer, you can use the keypad to alpha type a contacts name and then select their phone number. You wouldn't need to be in your contacts list, the phone begins to display contacts as your alpha character string matches a contact name rather than being a phone number you're trying to dial.

    I haven't been a BES admin for ages and ages, so licensing hasn't been a problem I've had to deal with :)