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Network World - If the iPhone 4S was a disappointment to the technorati, it's not to the millions who have already bought one. In fact, according to a new ChangeWave survey, the 4S is a bigger hit with owners than the iPhone 4 was.
Seventy-seven percent of 215 iPhone 4S users said they were "very satisfied" with the new phone; just 2% were "unsatisfied" with it, according to results of an early November survey by ChangeWave, a division of The 451 Group.
FIRST LOOK: Apple iPhone 4S
In a July 2010 survey, 72% of iPhone 4 users reported they were "very satisfied" with the then-new iPhone model.
While users are high on the 4S, nearly 4 out of 10 users say the phone's battery life is "too short." Still, only 8% say this is a "very big problem."
With the 4S model, Apple introduced a sophisticated "voice assistant," Siri, which lets a user control a wide range of tasks and functions with natural language spoken commands or questions (Siri has also sparked a host of fun videos, like this). Apple's bet on Siri has paid off: ChangeWave found that it is the best-liked feature of the new phone.
Siri was ranked as the best-liked feature by 49% of these owners. No. 2 was "general ease of use" (by 39%), the new 8 megapixel camera (by 33%), faster Web browsing (by 24%) and screen resolution (by 23%).
Apple's iCloud service, which was introduced for the 4S and other models that could also run the new iOS 5 firmware, ranked sixth, for 19% of the sample.
NETWORK WORLD'S HOTTEST ARGUMENTS: Apple iCloud vs. Amazon Cloud Drive
The top two dislikes, by far, were the new phone's battery life and its lack of 4G or LTE cellular support. More than one-third, 38%, of these owners said the 4S battery life is too short; just less than one-third, 30%, disliked the absence of 4G.
ChangeWave asked the sample if they had experienced shorter battery life on the new phone. "Two-in-five owners said they had experienced reduced battery life with their iPhone 4S (40%). But when asked how much of a problem this issue was for them, only 8% of all owners said it was a Very Big Problem while 20% said it was Somewhat of a Problem," according to the report.
Apple has released an iOS 5 update aimed at improving battery performance for the phone.
Eleven percent of owners said they disliked the phone's screen size. All the remaining dislikes, including 3G network satisfaction, excessive dropped calls, difficulty importing contact list or phone book, were single-digit percentages.
Dropped calls on the 4S are much fewer than for the iPhone 4. In July 2010, the sample of iPhone 4 owners reported on average a dropped call rate of 5.2%. By contrast, iPhone 4S users report a 2.5% rate.
The new survey also confirmed the continuing disparity between AT&T and Verizon of dropped calls: 4S users on AT&T reported a dropped call rate of 4.1%; on Verizon, 4S users reported a rate of 1.3%.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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