iPhone 4 survey shows little antenna angst

But the biggest gripe among first owners is a familiar complaint about exclusive carrier AT&T.

By InvestorPlace Aug 4, 2010 8:29AM

Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone 4The first major survey of iPhone 4 users proves that reception issues and dropped calls are indeed a top concern among customers. But if you think that the primary gripe with the latest Apple (AAPL) gadget involves the so-called “death grip” that strangles the smartphone’s antenna, think again. It’s in fact network provider AT&T (T) that gets the brunt of the iPhone 4 criticism.

So says a recent survey from ChangeWave Research, conducted just weeks ago and grilling hundreds of the very first iPhone 4 customers. Here are the details:

Specifically, when asked what they dislike about the new iPhone 4, the top two complaints related to AT&T’s network: 27% of owners saying they don’t like “the requirement to use AT&T's network” and 24% disliked the “coverage/ speed/ quality of AT&T's 3G network” according to ChangeWave.


apple inc iphone 4 survey


Of course, Apple didn’t help matters with its recent antenna issues and the criticism it received that the phone’s construction is as much of a reception problem as AT&T’s overloaded network. “Antenna issues” and “excessive dropped calls” were close to the top of the complaints list as well.


It’s worth noting that most of the new iPhone customers surveyed by ChangeWave thought the antenna issues were overblown. Nearly two-thirds reported it Wasn’t a Problem or they Haven’t Experienced Any Problem, while another 14% reported it Wasn’t Much of a Problem. 


apple inc iphone survey


Additionally, when asked whether they were satisfied with Apple’s response to the issue and a solution that involved giving away a free case to prevent contact with the antenna, nearly three-in-four (73%) reported they were Very or Somewhat Satisfied. 


So in a nutshell, AT&T remains the Achilles heel of the iPhone – and for better or worse, that means whatever antenna issues Apple has are taking a back seat. It’s perhaps reasonable to think that negative views of AT&T have caused the telecom company to unfairly take the blame for dropped calls or reception issues that may in fact be due to flaws in the iPhone’s design rather than network failings.

But perception is reality – and the perception among almost one-in-two iPhone users is that AT&T is still the biggest problem for the device. That could spell bad news for AT&T shares if a competitor ever gets access to the much-heralded smartphone.


The ChangeWave survey of iPhone users was conducted July 19 to 28 and involved 213 iPhone 4 users. View full details of the iPhone survey here.

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