I can safely say that I was one of the first people in Canada to own an iPhone. In 2007, when Apple launched the phone that would revolutionize the smart phone industry, I was lined up in the Walden Galleria, in Buffalo, NY. The phone I bought was the original iPhone, which wouldn’t be available in Canada for another year. At the time, I had no idea how I would get it to work in Canada. Rogers and Bell barely knew they existed, and the closest thing you could find to a data plan was Motorola’s $5 a month WAP plan (I actually managed to hack the SIM card to work in Canada, and successfully used a $5 WAP plan for unlimited iPhone data for over a year). At the border, a entire group of customs officials wanted to see it in action and told me they would waive the duty if I gave them a demo. This phone was unlike anything I had ever used. I was hooked.
I’ve been working in the Apple ecosystem since 2006. Before iPhone, before people carried tablets, and before anyone other than a few creative professionals were using Macs. The first time I sat behind a Mac (running 10.4 Tiger) I was mesmerized by the simplicity, cleverness, and intuitiveness of the OS. As rumours started coming out about a new “phone project” within Apple, I began to get that feeling….these guys were about to change everything.
Fast forward to 2013, and I’m still an Apple user through and through. I relocated to Waterloo, ON in 2011 and was immediately slapped in the face with how strong the support was for BlackBerry here. You could almost hear the gasps when you took out your iPhone. It was like driving around in a Toyota or Honda in Detroit in the 80’s. Over the years, I tried as many BlackBerry’s as I could, and even attempted a partial switch once. I just couldn’t get past how inferior these devices felt to using an iPhone, or Android. I wanted to support the regions biggest, and most important technology company…but I couldn’t.
When things started going south for RIM, I thought the light at the end of the tunnel was a train. They were out of touch with reality, too stuck in their ways, unwilling to let go of the past. We heard rumours at Apple that they were working on the iPhone and iPad 7 years before the public even knew it existed. If RIM was hearing about it the same day as everyone else, how could they honestly keep up?
Then something changed. Talking to people at RIM was a double edge sword. Along side the doom and gloom of their friends being laid off, and analysts predicting the end of the company, a few people I knew started to get that “look in their eye”. It’s the same look you see from Steve Jobs when he’s talking about the future of Apple or Technology. It was like they had a secret that the rest of the world didn’t know. They had hope.
As demos of “BlackBerry 10” started to come out, I was impressed. A few years earlier RIM (now BlackBerry) bought two company’s that I adored. Gist (a contact management system that pulls in social info from all over the web) and TungleME (a calendar service that helps you choose open times with others for appointments). I loved these acquisitions, and was jealous that BlackBerry would be integrating them into the OS. These integrations along with features like Peak, Flow, and Balance (although I now understand you need a BIS server for this) were solving real issues I had with my iPhone. As a productivity phene, I knew these features would make my life easier.
So yesterday, on the Canadian release of the BlackBerry Z10, I decided to make the switch. I’ve been using an iPhone for the last 6 years, and although I have very few complaints (beside the battery life!) I’m ready for something new. I will likely miss a few apps, and I’m sure there are going to be bumps in the road along the way. What I see though is the vision that BlackBerry has for the future, and just like Apple in 2006, I’m excited to come along for the ride.
P.S. My phone was ordered from Rogers yesterday, and should arrive early next week. I’ll try my best to document the switch on this blog.
“As it turns out most of the time, (founders) are actually hallucinating, and every once in a while they’re actually visionaries. They are insanely driven to bring that thing they see to fruition. And they need to be because of the amount of travails they go through in making something out of nothing. Founders create on a blank canvas; founders are closer to artists than they are to engineers or business people. They make things happen. And they need this perseverance and tenacity and resilience to drive them through those obstacles, because rationally, it would make a lot more sense to just exchange your labor for money.”
“For me, it all boils down to this… “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?””
~ Steve Jobs
Help this humble photo of a Starbucks coffee get more likes than my 15 year old niece @foreverashxoxo’s pic of the exact same cup. #familyroadtrip
“The goal was to create a service that was actually better than piracy. We realized, that if we could do that, maybe we could take a big chunk out of the 500 million people who consume music illegally. And by doing that, get the music industry back to growth again, where artist can keep making great music that we can all enjoy.”
Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify.
Sunset on Lake Huron at Inverhuron Beach