Survey: Customers Love for iPhone 3GS > iPhone 4 > Everything Else

When it comes to customer satisfaction, a new survey finds that while early iPhone 4 owners like their smartphones more than owners of just about every other device, early owners of the iPhone 3GS liked that device more. ChangeWave Research released the results of a survey of 213 iPhone 4 owners which sought to find exactly what users of the device think in the midst of all the negative publicity resulting form the device’s antennae controversy.

According to that survey, iPhone 4 owners are largely a happy lot, with few reporting any unhappiness regarding their antennae. Even more surprising was the fact that the owners reported fewer dropped calls on AT&T’s network in the U.S. than did owners of of iPhone 3GS.


72% of respondents in the survey reported they were Very Satisfied with their device, with another 21% reported they were Somewhat Satisfied. That’s makes 93% of respondents saying they like their device, the kind of numbers most companies would (and a few maybe have) kill for.

Those satisfaction levels, however, are actually shy of the stratospheric numbers ChangeWave found in a similar survey of new iPhone 3GS owners taken in August of 2009. That survey found 82% as being Very Satisfied with their device and 17% being Somewhat Satisfied, for a total of 99% of respondents saying they liked their new iPhone 3GS.

ChangeWave Chart

Source: ChangeWave Research

Dropped Calls

Though there has been a lot of noise made about the so-called Antennagate issue with iPhone 4, ChangeWave found that some 65% of respondent reported they have not experienced any issues regarding their reception, with another 14% reporting they haven’t had “much of an issue.”

That makes for 79% of respondent reporting that the iPhone 4’s antenna hasn’t resulted in a problem for them.

This is a glass half-full and half-empty set of numbers, however, and those upset about Antennagate and Apple’s handling of the situation will no doubt quickly note that this leaves 21% — slightly more than one-in-five — who have had a problem with their reception. 14% said that the device’s antennae issue was Somewhat of a Problem, and 7% said it was a Very Big Problem.

What’s interesting is how this matches up to the issue of actual dropped calls. Though more than one-in-five reported the antenna issue as being a problem to one degree or another, ChangeWave found that iPhone 4 owners are experiencing fewer dropped calls than owners of iPhone 3GS did.

The survey found that 5.2% of iPhone 4 owners have experienced dropped calls in this survey, whereas a survey taken in June of 2010 found that 6.3% of iPhone 3GS owners had experienced a drop call.

“In other words,” the company said, “despite the hoopla surrounding the antenna issue, in actuality iPhone 4 owners report experiencing slightly fewer dropped calls on the average than do iPhone 3GS owners.”

ChangeWave Chart

Source: ChangeWave Research

This is at odds, however, with numbers from Apple CEO Steve Jobs who said that AT&T’s own numbers show that iPhone 4 drops one more call per hundred than the iPhone 3GS.

Good Results for Apple

ChangeWave said that the positive satisfaction levels for iPhone 4 are good news for Apple, especially in light of the bad press the company has received concerning Antennagate.

“Despite the waves of controversy that surrounded the iPhone 4 within days of its launch, the latest Apple release is outperforming almost every other smart phone in the industry in terms of overall customer satisfaction and meeting owners’ expectations,” the company wrote. “The good news for Apple is that these issues appear to be clearing up for good – and if they do, this survey shows there is a high likelihood the iPhone 4’s customer satisfaction levels could end up equaling or surpassing those of the 3GS.”

The author of the report, Paul Carlton, added, “From Apple’s perspective, that’s the happy ending they should hope for.”