It’s official: Siri is a star. A new survey by ChangeWave research found the virtual assistant built into the iPhone 4S is the phone’s main attraction, rated as its top feature by 49% of users. More broadly, the Nov. 2-9 survey of 215 iPhone 4S owners showed the latest model outshone its immediate predecessor -- the iPhone 4 -- in customer satisfaction.
The iPhone 4S satisfaction ratings overall revealed a high degree of approval, with 77% of owners saying they are “very satisfied” and 19%, “somewhat satisfied.” Only 2% were unsatisfied. The iPhone 4S ratings were higher than those found in a July 2010 survey of new iPhone 4 owners.
In addition to the voice-activated Siri, willing to answer all sorts of questions, iPhone 4S owners cited the device’s overall ease of use (39%), the 8-megapixel camera (33%), faster Web browsing (24%), and screen resolution (23%) among other features they liked best. Less than one in five (19%) rated Apple’s new cloud service, iCloud, as the top feature.
New owners are not completely enraptured with the iPhone 4s. The chief gripe, widely publicized since the phone’s launch, has been battery life. Asked about the issue, 40% said they had experienced reduced battery life with the device. But only 8% said it was a “very big problem,” and 20% called it “somewhat of a problem.”
ChangeWave noted that shortly after the survey was completed, Apple released a software update to its iOS 5 operating system -- which, among other things, was aimed at improving the iPhone 4S' battery life. The company had acknowledged that a “small number” of customers were getting poor battery life because of a software bug.
The other main complaint, cited by 30% of survey participants, was the phone's lack of 4G capability.
What about dropped calls? That had historically been an issue for AT&T iPhone users, especially in cities like New York and San Francisco. The new study found that the overall dropped call rate for iPhone 4S owners of 2.5% was half as much as the rate reported by iPhone 4 owners (5.2%) in the July 2010 survey.
But Verizon Wireless still has an edge over AT&T when it comes to reliability. Verizon iPhone 4S owners had only a 1.3% dropped call rate, while their AT&T counterparts reported a 4.1% rate. Sprint now also carries the iPhone 4S. “In sum, the lower dropped call rate for the iPhone 4S in the current survey appears primarily attributable to owners now using multiple wireless service providers,” stated the ChangeWave report.
Apple has announced that the iPhone 4S sold a record 4 million units in its opening weekend in October, but has been tight-lipped about sales since. One analyst report found that about 75% of Apple retail stores were sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of the day on Black Friday. Sell-outs of stock also occurred at AT&T and Verizon retail stores over last weekend.