Mobile Talk: The BlackBerry Z10 looks like an iPhone from the future

News Richard Goodwin 17:47, 1 Feb 2013

With its larger display, button-less frontage, premium build materials, and rounded edges, the BlackBerry Z10 looks like everything you’d expect from a redesigned iPhone

After two years of waiting, insane delays, boardroom warfare, network outages, and the appointment of a brand new CEO, BlackBerry 10 is finally here, following its global launch on January 30.

As launches go, they don’t get much bigger than what took place on Tuesday. BlackBerry 10 was demoed extensively, there were celebs, we heard gushing testimonies from launch partners like Rovio and Phones 4U, and saw two new brand new handsets unveiled: the BlackBerry Z10, which is now available to buy in the UK, and the BlackBerry Q10.

Tasked with turning around the fortunes of the telecommunications company formally known as RIM and showing off a brand new platform in one fell swoop is a rather unenviable task – but the Z10 seems to have taken it all in its stride. Networks love it, consumer buzz is palpably high, and initial reviews of the handset – check out mine here – have been tentatively positive.

I’ve been getting on swimmingly with BlackBerry10 and the Z10 these past couple of days. And I do genuinely appreciate BlackBerry’s take on what a modern smartphone OS should look and function like. Sure, it might be a little green behind the gills but the potential is most definitely there.

Chatting in the office about the handset and BB10 in general conversation inevitably turned to the second most talked aspect of the Z10: that it looks a bit like the iPhone 5.

I say ‘a bit’ because that’s all it is, really – a passing resemblance, if you will. The Z10 is significantly wider, longer, and, for want of a better word, flatter-looking. But there are similarities if you look closely.

And this brings me to my point –– I do think the Z10 looks like an iPhone, but it’s not the iPhone 4S or the current iPhone 5. The Z10 looks like what I imagine the next iPhone, the one supposedly called the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6, will look like.

You see, the only sure-fire way Apple can change its iPhone design is by increasing the size of its display, and perhaps removing the home button. Doing both of these things would mean the new iPhone, if it kept the same style, shape and contours, would look more like the BlackBerry Z10 than the BlackBerry Z10 looks like the current iPhone 5.

That’s quite a mouthful, but you get the point. The BlackBerry Z10 looks like a next-generation iPhone. If I had to draw a picture of what I thought the iPhone 6 would look like, it’d probably look like the Z10: minimalist, rounded-edges, thin, no Home button, and built from excellent materials.

I see Apple’s iPhone as a rigid box of orthodoxy, one that’s barely changed in three years. Looking at it now no longer inspires wonder or appreciation as it once did. The mojo’s gone and the handset now looks moribund compared to its peers. The iPhone 5 is still a great handset through and through. It still ticks all the right boxes. But it’s gone from being the Aston Martin of the mobile space to the Ford Mondeo.

Not that any of this really matters, as evidenced by the Apple’s below-par-but-still-hugely-impressive Q4 earnings call. Still, if Apple does changes the design of the iPhone, which is strongly rumoured, then there’s only a couple of ways it can take the design unless, of course, it goes completely crazy, and that’s (1) using a bigger display (like the Z10) and (2) removing the Home button (again, just like on the Z10).

I don’t even see Apple taking things far with the iPhone 5S/6, but if it did you can bet your bottom dollar that it’d look a hell of a lot more like a Z10 than the Z10 looks like the current iPhone 5.

Perhaps this was BlackBerry’s intent all along?

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