By Harry McCracken | 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.”