Just when you thought the iPhone 4 "death grip" controversy was finally put to rest, research firm ChangeWave has done its best to revive it with a new survey finding iPhone 4 owners reported fewer dropped calls (5.2%) than their iPhone 3GS counterparts (6.3%) in June.
"In other words, 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, stated the ChangeWave report, based on responses from 213 iPhone 4 users.
Huh? During the press conference Apple held July 16 to address Antennagate, CEO Steve Jobs admitted the iPhone 4 drops more calls per 100 than the 3GS, though by less than one additional call per 100. He attributed the superior performance of the older model iPhone to more 3GS buyers getting cases for the phones than iPhone 4 owners.
Of course, Apple's decision to give away cases to iPhone 4 users to eliminate the reception problem means that distinction with 3GS owners should go away. ChangeWave says it conducted its survey in the two weeks after the Apple press conference so the results don't reflect user views of the dropped call rate prior to then.
The study also found, however, that 21% of iPhone 4 owners said the external antenna was a problem. Nearly three-quarters said they were satisfied with Apple's free case offer as a solution to the issue, with 18% taking the opposite view. Overall, 72% of iPhone 4 owners said they were very satisfied with the device, and 21% said they were somewhat satisfied.
As strong as those numbers are, they are still not as high as the initial response to the 3GS a year ago, when 82% said they were very satisfied with the phone. "This is likely attributable to the fact that one in five iPhone 4 owners appear to have been at least somewhat negatively affected by the phone's reception and antenna issues and the ensuing drumbeat of controversy," according to ChangeWave.
The features that iPhone 4 users liked best were the phone's upgraded screen resolution (49%), the 5-megapixel camera with Flash (31%), and the touchscreen interface.(30%) Not surprisingly, the biggest objection was having to use AT&T as wireless service provider (27%), followed by the quality of the AT&T 3G network (24%), and antenna issues (24%).
A separate ChangeWave survey showed that AT&T had a dropped call rate of 5.2% in June, up from 3.6% in September 2008, compared to 2% for Verizon Wireless.