Apple’s iPhone is outdated, according to the chief executive of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd.

Thorsten Heins made the comment Thursday on the eve of the much-delayed launch of the new touchscreen BlackBerry in the United States. AT&T begins selling the Z10 touchscreen BlackBerry on Friday, more than six weeks after RIM launched the devices elsewhere.

Heins also told The Associated Press that a new keyboard version of the BlackBerry won’t be released in the U.S. until two or three months from now. He previously said it would be eight to 10 weeks, but now he’s saying it could be delayed an additional two weeks.

“It’s still the same,” Heins 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 don’t have to close an application to check an email.

“We’re changing it for the better because we’re allowing people to peak in the hub,” Heins said.

Heins said the iPhone was revolutionary five years ago, but he said it’s now “just kind of sitting there.”

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris declined comment.

BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone goes on sale in the U.S. today, almost two months after its debut in other countries, putting the company’s turnaround plan to the test in its largest market. The phone will be offered by Verizon Wireless on March 28.

Heins is trying to reverse BlackBerry’s fortunes in the U.S., where the onetime smartphone leader has lost ground to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android. Sales in the country fell by almost half to $520 million in the third quarter from a year earlier, through the U.S. still accounts for about a fifth of revenue for Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry.

“There’s no risk of overstating the importance of the U.S. for BlackBerry,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst with IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. “It’s such an important bellwether market.”

AT&T, the second-largest U.S. carrier, will offer the Z10 for $199.99 on a two-year contract, putting it at the same price level as the main iPhone. The phone was first unveiled on Jan. 30, and it’s been available for weeks in the U.K., Canada and other markets. Heins has attributed the U.S. delay to the longer equipment-testing procedures of American carriers.

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 Inc.’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 favorable reviews for new system.

Heins said the Q10 keyboard version BlackBerry is just not ready yet and said 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.”

U.S. carriers reportedly haven’t made testing a priority because RIM, which is based in Based in Waterloo, Ontario, has dramatically lost market share. The U.S. has been one market in which RIM has been particularly hurting, even as the company is doing well overseas. According to research firm IDC, shipments of BlackBerry phones plummeted from 46 percent of the U.S. market in 2008 to 2 percent in 2012. The iPhone and Android now dominate.

Early demand suggests that the Z10 will perform as well in the U.S. as in BlackBerry’s home market of Canada, Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben told Bloomberg News.

“I expect that we’re going to hit the ground running,” he said, citing “substantial pent-up demand.”

The U.S. will add to the phone’s global footprint, Boulben said. By the end of April, BlackBerry expects the Z10 to be available from 150 carriers around the world. By this time next year, there should be six different BlackBerry 10 models on the market, he said.

(The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report)