Apple Tops J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Report with iPhone

Apple’s iPhone has become a major player in the smartphone realm, closely gaining on Android-powered phones in popularity. With iPhone 5 and iOS 5 to be released simultaneously this October, Apple fans have a lot to look forward to– and are apparently happy with their current mobile Apple device.

According to J.D. Power and Associate’s 2011 Wireless Smartphone and Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Studies, Apple achieved highest ranked manufacturer of smartphones in customer satisfaction for the fifth consecutive time. It received a score of 795 on a 1,000-point scale while Motorola received a 763 and HTC got a 762.

As far as traditional phones go, Sanyo ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 715. LG followed close behind with a 711 score and Samsung received a 703.

The smartphone study, which is based on 7,275 smartphone customer experiences, found that smartphone users who access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter through their mobile device report a 783 satisfaction rating. This is about 22 points higher than those who do not access social networks on their smartphones. During the time of the survey, more than one-half of smartphone owners used their devices to access social networks.

The traditional handset study, which is based on 11,347 customer experiences, discovered that owners who use their phones to access social media have a higher rating of 754 while those who do not use their phones for social media scored an average 696.

“It’s not unexpected that smartphone owners access social media sites from their device more frequently than traditional mobile phone owners due to features such as larger screens and QWERTY keyboards,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, these findings demonstrate that equipping devices with powerful features and service is key to creating positive customer experiences with wireless devices.”

Both studies found that those who use social media on their mobile phones tend to also use calls, texting and data more often as well. They are also more likely to buy additional wireless services in the future and are more likely to give positive recommendations for their handset brand.

The studies also measured key factors that both smartphone users and feature phone users were most satisfied with that contributed to overall satisfaction. For smartphone users, the factors were ranked as follows: ease of operation (26%), operating system (24%), physical design (23%), features (19%) and battery function (8%). For traditional phone users, the factor were ranked as follows: operation (30%), physical design (30%), features (20%) and battery function (20%).

The studies were conducted between July and December 2010, and can be found here.

In other related news, Apple’s iPhone could prove to be even more of a satisfactory device come October when the iPhone 5 is released with unlimited data service plans at Sprint. AT&T does not have unlimited plans for the iPhone, and Verizon just ended its unlimited iPhone plans in July 2011. Though Sprint has struggled to compete with the two for the past 15 consecutive quarters, obtaining the iPhone and adding an unlimited data plan will set it apart from the competition.