The State of iPhone Satisfaction

The agony (occasionally) and the ecstasy (frequently) of using an iPhone, as reported by 2150+ respondents to our exclusive survey.

By  |  Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 5:52 am

What Do the Respondents Do All Day?
At some point, we’re going to have to come up with a new name for devices like the iPhone, since making phone calls isn’t necessarily their primary function anymore. (Hey, how about something catchy like Personal Digital Assistant?) Among the folks who took our survey, e-mail and Web browsing are tied as the most popular activity, and voice calls are only fourth. Listening to music is also up there–the iPhone is an iPod, after all–but video is less popular. And although Apple is trying to position the iPhone (and iPod Touch) as a first-rate gaming handheld, close to a third of survey respondents said that they never play games on their iPhones.

Many of the respondents aren’t thrilled with developments relating to the iPhone App Store–more on that in a bit–but they clearly like access to third-party applications: Three-quarters of them have downloaded ten or more applications, and only two percent haven’t tried the App Store. (“One app” doesn’t show up in the pie below because only four people said they’d tried only one; if respondents had downloaded any apps, they’d generally downloaded a bunch of them.)

Judging from the the above, it’s safe to say that the folks who took our survey are truly exploring all of the iPhone’s possibilities; for them, it ain’t just a phone, or even just an e-mail/Web handheld.

Okay, Now to the Good Stuff: Satisfaction Ratings
So what do these sophisticated iPhone users think of their phones? For most of them, the bottom line is positive. Really, really positive, in fact. Ninety-one percent of respondents said they were totally satisfied or very satisfied; only seven percent chose the more cautious “somewhat satisfied.” A mere two percent said they were not very satisfied or totally dissatisfied.

Many iPhone fans were downright rhapsodic: “This is absolutely the best product I have purchased,” “One of the best investestments ever,” and “I will never user another phone. Period” are entirely representative of the praise that respondents showered on the phone.

We also asked respondents to rate the overall value of the iPhone experience, counting both the price they paid for their phone and the cost of wireless service. This result wasn’t quite as sky-high as overal satisfaction, but it was still pretty darn upbeat: 78 percent of users think they’re getting an excellent or good value. Only three percent were unhappy enough to call the iPhone a poor value. And the number that rated it an unacceptable value was statistically equal to zero.

We also asked about how happy respondents were with their wireless carrier–68 percent of them, remember, are AT&T customers–and here there was less love than for the phone itself and the overall value. But there wasn’t much anger, either. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they were totally or very satisfied with their carrier; another thirty-seven percent were somewhat satisfied. Ten percent were not very satisfied, and two percent were totally dissatisfied.

We reminded respondents of some of the bumps related to the iPhone 3G launch, including activation problems, dropped calls and slow Internet connections, MobileMe glitches, and App Store issues. How well had Apple responded, we asked? Sixty-one percent of respondents chose the option that expressed only cautious approval: “It’s responded fairly well.” Fifteen percent thought it had responded extremely well, while a meaningful majority–twenty percent–rated Apple’s handling of 3G launch problems as poor or unacceptable.

Ultimately, many respondents seemed willing to cut Apple at least some slack on the 3G’s launch hiccups. “Really, with all the hoopla about how poorly the launch has gone, are we all that realistic about what other companies would/could have done?” wrote one. “It is no small feat to get this accomplished. So…I do not fault Apple very much.”

«PREVIOUS PAGE 1 2 3  NEXT PAGE»


50 Comments


Read more: , ,

27 Comments For This Post

  1. Frank Forum Says:

    “a plurality say that such rejections are unacceptable.”

    plurality??? Are you for real? Plurality means more than one so does that mean two people complained or all of them? Thanks for telling us nothing.

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Frank Forum: Um, your issue is with Merriam-Webster, not me. To quote from their definition of plurality:

    “c: a number of votes cast for a candidate in a contest of more than two candidates that is greater than the number cast for any other candidate but not more than half the total votes cast”

    Fewer than half of the respondents said that the App Store rejections were unacceptable, but more people chose that option than any other.

    In other words, it received a plurality.

    –Harry

  3. Dennis Says:

    @Frank Forum: Plurality, in the context of most surveys or elections, means the answer (or candidate) with the greatest number of respondents (or voters), but which failed to capture an outright majority (over 50%). In other words, if you had three candidates, and candidate A got 40%, candidate B got 35%, and candidate C got 25%, none of them won a majority, but candidate A won the plurality.

  4. David McElroy Says:

    Frank Forum, you’re clearly unaware of the more common usage of the word “plurality.” In the context of results from a poll or an election, it’s obvious what it means. In this context, the result receiving a plurality received the most votes of the available categories, but not enough to be a majority. For instance, if the percentage of votes was split as A=45, B=35, C=20, that would mean that A had received a plurality of the votes. Check any nearby dictionary for a definition which would probably be more clear than mine.

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks, Dennis and David…

  6. Daryl Says:

    While we’re on the language, is “a good value” standard English? I’d just call it “good value”, but maybe the addition of an article is usual for US English?
    Thanks for the survey info. I took part and I see I’m pretty typical in every way – down to seeing it as a result of Daring Fireball!

  7. Nate Says:

    Frank has been officially owned. Yet another reason to be snotty when you don’t know what you are talking about. Or even when you do, for that matter.

    Daryl: I believe in this case the addition of the indefinite article “a” is rather common, at least in the US. The phrase (to me) is somewhat synonymous with “a good buy” or “a good purchase”, therefore stating that its value is on par or better than other phones in its class.

  8. Joanna Stern Says:

    My apologies for changing the vocab convo. Interesting results. I am totally in agreement with the most desired feature being cut/paste. I didn’t realize how annoying it was to not have that feature until today.

    http://blog.laptopmag.com/blackberry-curve-saves-iphone-user-from-iphones-limitations

  9. Sean Says:

    From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:

    plurality
    1 a: the state of being plural b: the state of being numerous c: a large number or quantity
    2: pluralism 1 ; also : a benefice held by pluralism
    3 a: a number greater than another b: an excess of votes over those cast for an opposing candidate c: a number of votes cast for a candidate in a contest of more than two candidates that is greater than the number cast for any other candidate but not more than half the total votes cast

    So while I immediately grasped from the context that the article used plurality in the sense of definition three, sense c, perhaps we shouldn’t fault Frank for applying the first given meaning. Snot is not more palatable when returned.

    This means that while more responded that the App Store rejections were unacceptable than gave any other response, a majority gave a response other than that the App Store rejections were unacceptable. Or less tortured, only a minority felt the App Store rejections were unacceptable.

    In common usage in the U.S. ‘a’ preceding ‘good value’, in this context, indicates that ‘good value’ is a class to which the iPhone belongs. Without the ‘a’ the statement would be read as equating the iPhone with ‘good value’ (it possesses good value vs. it = Good Value™).

  10. Tom Says:

    Very interesting results. Thanks for doing this. Amazing how satisfied iPhone users are despite the hiccups.

  11. stats-fan Says:

    The results of this survey are very suspect due to “self-selection bias.” Only people who were motivated enough to answer your survey were included in the data. The data IS NOT representative of the iphone population at large because you did not use a random sample of users.

  12. Harry McCracken Says:

    Stats Fan: Absolutely true, and I cheerfully acknowledge that near the top of the story. As I said, the results reflect only the opinions of the 2150+ people who took the survey–but that’s a lot of people, and I find what they said interesting even though it would be a mistake to conclude that their feedback represents iPhone users at large.

    –Harry

  13. Intosh Says:

    There is not much significance attached to such survey. Do a similar survey on the Linux OS and you’ll find a similarly high satisfaction and approval from Linux users. If the respondents were unsatisfied enough, they wouldn’t keep using the product, nor would they spend their spare time answering an online survey about the product.

  14. Harry McCracken Says:

    I hear you, Intosh, but my experience doesn’t jibe. At PC World, we did dozens of online surveys involving tech products of all types, including some that were more complex and demanding than our iPhone survey. There was never any evidence that the results skewed towards happy, satisfied people. In fact, the opposite issue was more of a concern–dissatisfied people are often more likely to make the effort to make their opinions known, and we needed to make sure our surveys didn’t skew towards unhappy campers.

    As I’ve said, for this survey, we didn’t try to screen people to find a survey pool that looked like the iPhone customer base at large. The survey just represents the experiences and opinions of 2150 people, but I think it makes for worthwhile reading nonetheless.

  15. compulsivewriter Says:

    i find myself agreeing to the survey. i just bought the phone a month ago when it launched in india …

  16. Intosh Says:

    Harry McCracken, I understand your point regarding surveys at PC World and I’m not surprised by your observation. But what I wanted to point out was that Linux and Apple users are similar in that they are first and foremost fans of the product/company. Therefore, surveys on these products where the respondents *choose* to participate will inevitably be skewed. Because the respondents are most likely big fans of Linux or Apple.

  17. Henry Says:

    Who in the world can we talk to to get some action on a browsing filter for kids a la NetNanny or SafeEyes? My teenage kids are dying to have iPod Touches but until I can secure their browsers, they’re out of luck. Was hoping the opening for developers would prompt such a product but no such luck.

    I am astonished by the number of parents who have indulged their kids with iPhones but didn’t know the browsers were wide open.

    Any ideas, folks?

  18. Chris Says:

    Intosh:
    While what you are saying will be somewhat true for questions like “Are you satisfied with your iPhone/Linux distro/etc.?”, but when it comes to more specific questions concerning missing features or annoying glitches, I think the results of the above survey are still very valuable. The actual iPhone will know best what they like/dislike about their device since they use it on a daily basis. I wouldn’t be that interested in hearing opinions from people who had just brief contact (or none whatsoever) with the phone.

  19. Chris Says:

    Sigh… I missed a word there. Should be:
    “The actual iPhone owners will know best…”

  20. ed Says:

    Dear Harry,

    I was wondering if this (great) survey is downloadable?
    Or is it possible for you to send it to me?
    If you want, I could point out my purposes.

    Please send me an e-mail.

    Regards,
    Ed

  21. Kevin Wong Says:

    Were any of the questions open for qualitative data gathering? It’d be interesting to not only learn about what people want, but why and when they would find it useful.

    In anycase, thought we’d share a little fun along the way with what we feel is a great solution to the cut and paste fiasco =)
    http://www.artefactgroup.com/frontier/2008/10/14/artefact-adds-copypaste-to-the-iphone/ Just wanted to share. Looking forward to future posts!

  22. Bryan Says:

    I like my new iPhone however; I can’t stand that every time I try to view a website (mostly WSJ.com) Safari crashes…I thought apple was better than this.

  23. Video Games Says:

    The data represented is a standard generalization. The Iphone is not anything special.

  24. Gloria Says:

    I am a Mac hater but I LOVE my iPhone. It is the greatest! I wanted one of the original iPhones, but forced myself to wait until the 3Gs came out. I am one of those consumers that is reluctant to jump on the bandwagon of every new device until I know enough about it to see its worth to me. I use it every day for so much more than making calls, texting, or accessing the internet. I would say my least favorite part of the iPhone is the life of the battery charge, and the fact that I can’t replace the battery when the time comes.

    Thank you for a very interesting survey. Wish I’d known about it earlier so I could have been a part of the stats.

  25. DISSAPOINTET USER Says:

    KEEP IT SHORT – WORST PHONE EVER ON THE MARKET.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. gaz Says:

    just bought this one and love it

  27. Billy Glassel Says:

    A person essentially lend a hand to make seriously articles I’d state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this actual publish extraordinary. Excellent task!

23 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. PollDaddy Blog » Blog Archive » User Survey: The State of iPhone Satisfaction Says:

    [...] McCracken over at the Technologizer blog has used PollDaddy to conduct a really interesting survey of over 2,000 IPhone users on their level of satisfaction with the device. He collected [...]

  2. Some fairly interesting results from an … « Paul M. Watson Says:

    [...] pm on September 30, 2008 | # | Tags: gadgets, mobile Some fairly interesting results from an iPhone survey (2000+ participants, mainly tech and Mac users I’d say.) [...]

  3. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    [...] The State of iPhone Satisfaction It’s one of the most popular phones in history. It’s also one of the most controversial. And it’s [...] [...]

  4. links for 2008-09-30 | mad dog in the fog Says:

    [...] The State of iPhone Satisfaction | Technologizer "The vast majority of respondents love their iPhones. Ninety-one percent said they were totally or very satisfied with them. Seventy-eight percent rate it as an excellent or good value, counting the cost of wireless service." (tags: iphone) [...]

  5. iPhone User Satisfaction Survey: 91% Satisfied, 80% Complain of Crashes | notebooks.com Says:

    [...] Check out the details of the survey at Technologizer. [...]

  6. TPile » Blog Archive » Survey: People Love iPhone Despite Its Imperfections Says:

    [...] hate it, the iPhone has been a hot topic since its launch. Over the weekend, Technologizer’s Harry McCracken polled iPhone owners to just see how satisfied they are with their [...]

  7. The State of iPhone Satisfaction | Harry McCracken | Voices | AllThingsD Says:

    [...] Read the rest of this post Print all_things_di220:http://voices.allthingsd.com/20081001/mccracken-7/ SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “The State of iPhone Satisfaction”, url: “http://voices.allthingsd.com/20081001/mccracken-7/” }); Sphere Comment Tagged: App Store, Apple, Harry McCracken, Technologizer, Voices, iPhone | permalink [...]

  8. Cult of Mac » Blog Archive » Survey: Mac Online Usage Grew In September Says:

    [...] Graph from Technologizer [...]

  9. TPile » Blog Archive » Survey: People Love iPhone Despite Its Imperfections Says:

    [...] The State of iPhone Satisfaction [Technologizer] [...]

  10. Onderzoek Technologizer: mensen erg tevreden met iPhone > Nieuws > iPhoneclub.nl Says:

    [...] de batterijduur en de geslotenheid van het platform. Maar wat blijkt nou? Volgens een onderzoek van Technologizer onder meer dan tweeduizend gebruikers blijkt 91% volledig of zeer tevreden met de iPhone te zijn. [...]

  11. Survey Says: iPhone Users in Love… But Have Issues. | The iPhone Blog Says:

    [...] wrote in to tell us about their look into The State of iPhone Satisfaction. 2150+ iPhone Users surveyed, top 7 answers on the [...]

  12. Survey: People Love iPhone Despite Its Imperfections | Shopping Blog Says:

    [...] hate it, the iPhone has been a hot topic since its launch. Over the weekend, Technologizer’s Harry McCracken polled iPhone owners to just see how satisfied they are with their [...]

  13. The Fear « Recycleosphere Says:

    [...] else, both from Apple and from App Store developers, is piffle, secondary to those four apps. Harry McCracken’s recent iPhone user survey indicates that iPhone users agree that those four apps comprise the most-used features of the [...]

  14. Mac News Update - MacPro, iMac, iPhone, Macbook, and Macbook Pro News » Blog Archive » Apple threatens to shutter iTunes over proposed royalty hikes Says:

    [...] Graph from Technologizer [...]

  15. The Fear | Thetroubleshooting Blog Says:

    [...] else, both from Apple and from App Store developers, is piffle, secondary to those four apps. Harry McCracken’s recent iPhone user survey indicates that iPhone users agree that those four apps comprise the most-used features of the [...]

  16. Survey: Mac Online Usage Grew In September | Green Media Lab Says:

    [...] Graph from Technologizer [...]

  17. The T-Grid: Nokia’s 5800 XpressMusic vs. the iPhone | Technologizer Says:

    [...] single-touch screen, albeit one with more pixels). And it’s got some of the features which some people wish the iPhone had, including a fancier camera that has a flash and can record video, voice dialing, and even an FM [...]

  18. iPhone-användarna nöjda med sin telefon | DiniPhone.se Says:

    [...] Läs resultatet av hela undersökningen hos Technologizer. [...]

  19. Okay, Just How Dumb Are iPhone Owners? | Technologizer Says:

    [...] (Not that it’s remotely the last word on the subject, but among the iPhone owners who took Technologizer’s recent survey, the Web features were more heavily used than the phone [...]

  20. Iphone vs. Nokia 5800 XpressMusic | IphoneManiacs.com Says:

    [...] single-touch screen, albeit one with more pixels). And it’s got some of the features which some people wish the iPhone had, including a fancier camera that has a flash and can record video, voice dialing, and even an FM [...]

  21. nokia5800-vs-iphone « eonly.us Says:

    [...] single-touch screen, albeit one with more pixels). And it’s got some of the features which some people wish the iPhone had, including a fancier camera that has a flash and can record video, voice dialing, and even an FM [...]

  22. good-news-for-the-iphone-apple-axes-the-nda « eonly.us Says:

    [...] why to stifling publication of books about iPhone software development. It also caused some of the respondents to our recent iPhone satisfaction survey to express extreme dissatisfaction with Apple. Basically, it was so comprehensive that in theory, [...]

  23. Survey: People Love iPhone Despite Its Imperfections | Gadgets Says:

    [...] hate it, the iPhone has been a hot topic since its launch.Over the weekend, Technologizer’s Harry McCracken polled iPhone owners to just see how satisfied they are with their [...]