User satisfaction of Apple’s new iOS 6 mobile operating system is down slightly from that of iOS 5, according to a new poll conducted by mobile research firm On Device and revealed by TechCrunch Wednesday. The drop in satisfaction is small but notable as it represents the first time that iOS user satisfaction has decreased upon the launch of a new version.
Polling approximately 16,000 iOS 6 users on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “very satisfied,” the survey revealed that the average score for iOS 6 was 7.65, compared to 7.75 for iOS 5. Apple’s two most recent operating systems both scored higher than iOS 4, with an average rating of 6.93.
“We have always seen an increase in device satisfaction as consumers upgrade their mobile operating system from one version to another,” On Device CEO Alistair Hill told TechCrunch. Mr. Hill further explained that nearly all mobile operating systems, including Android, score higher in customer satisfaction than their predecessors.
Frustration over Apple’s new Maps application, which replaced Google Maps for the first time in iOS 6, confusion over new apps like Passbook, and criticism of Apple’s App Store redesign all contribute to iOS 6’s lower score.
The iOS 6 rating revealed by the On Device survey may also be lower than reported. The survey only polled users currently running iOS 6 on their devices, but we have heard from many users who have delayed upgrading, primarily due to reliance on Google Maps in iOS 5. The evaluation of iOS 6 by these users is not considered by the survey.
Apple’s iPhone overall is known for receiving customer satisfaction ratings higher than its Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone-based competitors, a reputation that was reaffirmed in early September when Cupertino’s flagship product topped the J.D. Power and Associates Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study for the eighth consecutive time.
As that study was conducted before the release of iOS 6 on September 19, it remains to be seen if lower user satisfaction with Apple's latest mobile operating system carriers over to customer impressions of the iPhone as a whole.