Amid Cheers, Three iPhone 3GS Concerns Surface

AT&T, lackluster battery life and zero enterprise support raise iPhone owners' ire.

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Wed, August 19, 2009

CIO — Despite a few iPhone lemons in the market, including a couple of iPhones and an iPod Touch that reportedly exploded in Europe, the vast majority of iPhone 3GS owners love their new phones. According to a survey by RBC/IQ ChangeWave, 99 percent of 200 respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with their iPhone 3GS.

Apple has always had a loyal following. Indeed, the American Customer Satisfaction Index released this week its customer satisfaction scores, and Apple still ranks above its competitors (although Apple's traditionally high ratings slipped a point from the prior year). But RBC/IQ ChangeWave's 99 percent satisfaction rate for the iPhone is especially impressive given recent complaints about the iPhone and Apple itself.

[ Are you carrying an iPhone lemon? Discover tips on how to breathe life into your iPhone battery, reports CIO.com ]

Anecdotal evidence, for instance, strongly suggests some iPhones overheat. Apple's own user discussion boards have been filling up with consumer complaints over the iPhone 3GS battery life. Then there's a growing number of iPhone developers who cry foul over Apple's draconian policies for green-lighting apps made for the smartphone. For example, critics continue to bash Apple for taking the Google Voice iPhone app off its virtual App Store shelves.

In a few of the more bizarre cases, Apple began looking into reports of exploding iPhones and iPods following a query by the European Commission directorate that oversees consumer safety.

Yet the Apple faithful remain intact. RBC/IQ ChangeWave's 99 percent iPhone 3GS satisfaction rate improves upon satisfaction rates for the last two iPhones, which had low 70s percentages. The iPhone's most liked feature, of course, was the touchscreen interface. Another interesting survey finding: More than half of the respondents migrated from other devices such as Motorola, Nokia, RIM, Sanyo and Palm.

That's not to say that respondents didn't have any gripes:

The biggest complaint concerns the much-maligned AT&T network, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone. There are many reasons why iPhone owners hate AT&T. Among them, AT&T does not support MMS and tethering even though its competitors do. The company has also been criticized for high prices and spotty coverage.

Another complaint is that the iPhone battery life is too short. Apple had touted improvements to the iPhone 3GS battery at its Worldwide Developers Conference: The iPhone 3GS would deliver 9 hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge—about a 30 percent upgrade to the iPhone 3G. But this hasn't been the case for some iPhone 3GS owners.

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