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Apple keeps its great image polished, with the iPhone

The Blackberry Storm was labeled an "iPhone Killer" when it debuted last month.  While less polished than the iPhone, the best-selling phone in America, it upped the ante in several key areas such as offering replaceable batteries, expandable memory, a better camera, and more. 

Early sales numbers have shown the phone indeed boosting the fortunes of Research in Motion and Verizon Wireless.  Overall, the company added 2.6 million new subscribers for the quarter ending in December.  It also shipped 6.7 million units and made $477.3M USD in net income, up from $370.5M USD last year.

However, when it comes to boosting brand image by customer satisfaction, RIM has fallen short to its competitor Apple.  Apple, which has the world's top brand according to recent studies of brand appeal, kept its iPhone customers happy with 77 percent stating they were "very satisfied" in a recent survey from market research group ChangeWave.

By contrast, in the survey of 4,000 U.S. cell phone owners, only
33 percent said they were "very satisfied" with the Storm.  The Storm also posted higher dissatisfaction numbers, with 14 percent of Storm owners saying they were "unsatisfied" with it and only 5 percent "unsatisfied" with the iPhone.

While the poor customer satisfaction is a warning sign for RIM, ChangeWave points out that it’s not a game-ender for the Storm.  The company points out that RIM has already began a decent campaign of firmware updates, which were a critical factor in Apple boosting customer satisfaction.

Paul Carton, research director at ChangeWave states, "Competitive pressures may have caused the Storm to be launched before it was quite ready for prime time.  But if RIM can rapidly fix its initial glitches and bugs, the survey shows that this new offering, along with RIM's other recently released models, will provide accelerated momentum in 2009."

One good sign for RIM was that 39 percent of those surveyed who were buying a smartphone in the next 90 days said they were picking a BlackBerry smartphone, while only 30 percent said they were going to pick the iPhone.

RIM, with 41 percent of the current smartphone market may be better positioned, says ChangeWave.  The company has multiple handsets available and is on multiple carriers, while the iPhone currently only has the base 3G model available on AT&T.  Apple may have trouble capturing more than its current 23 percent market share if it doesn't release another model, like the rumored iPhone nano.

The new study also showed that Palm has continued its slide after conquering 36 percent of the smartphone market in June 2006.  It is now down to 9 percent, and hopes to reverse its fortune with its upcoming Nova OS and handsets.

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Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By hellokeith on 12/26/2008 11:37:38 AM , Rating: 5
This may come across sounding like another "apple=elitist" comment, but in seriousness what metrics are used to determine if the buyers really are very satisfied vs them just being proud of themselves for buying an Apple product?

Back when the iPhone came out, several company executives were clamoring for iPhones, and some even bought them out of there own pocket, only to be repeatedly told by the IT department that Exchange email was not supported at that time. This type of behavior/perception that Apple=cool even when basic functionality is missing makes me cautious about studies of Apple customer satisfaction.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By blazeoptimus on 12/26/2008 11:57:21 AM , Rating: 5
I understand what your saying and I don't entirely disagree. I do however own both devices mentioned above(one for work, one for home), and the study largely mirrors what I and many others have already observed. The iPhone OS benefits from a higher level of refinement and a more narrow design focus. Even without all the crashes (my storm crashes about twice a day currently, and my iPhone does not), the interface feels more clunky. Many of the "ease of use" features are either more difficult to use, or don't exist in the Storm. Also the Storm is substantially slower the iPhone OS during normal usage. It also lacks the variety of Apps available to the iPhone. The article is correct in that there releasing firmware updates rapidly. I've already updated my storm once, and I've noticed a large improvement in general usage. Hopefully, with these updates, it will come closer to parity with the iPhone in the next few months.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By mcnabney on 12/27/2008 3:53:36 AM , Rating: 1
You are comparing a mature product (one that launched with a laundry list of bugs) with a brand-new product. Comments about UI are good and very much a concern for most consumers.

By michael2k on 12/27/2008 4:52:19 PM , Rating: 4
We are also comparing a company who's been designing pagers and phones for 13 years vs one who's been working on the iPhone for only three years.

No, the real competition here is who can write better software, and in that regard: RIM, 13 years, Apple, 33 years. The only real question is how much better RIM can get in the next two years.

We saw this happen with the iPod and it took 6 years for someone else to surpass the iPod. The real issue is that RIM should never have had to play "catch up" in the first place, and that puts them at a severe disadvantage. They should have been leaders, and stayed leaders, before the iPhone was ever released and updated.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By biggsjm on 12/26/2008 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
First, that's an inane comment. For years (most of the 90s and early 2000s) Apple was considered most "uncool".

Second, I would hardly call exchange server support "basic functionality" especially when we are talking about a consumer product. The iPhone has never been purported to be a "business" phone. I'd probably say the same about the storm, but I cannot say that with absolute certainty. The point is, Yes there are some missing features with the iPhone, but that's always been Apple's mindset. Do a few things, and do them well. If you want a phone that does everything (albeit with varying degrees of success) please go buy a different phone. Windows Mobile Phones are very good at providing unlimited choice in terms of a feature set. Who said the market can't decide what it wants?

Finally, a survey is a survey. Part of the bias of a survey is the fact that consumers never have "perfect knowledge". Its assumed that most consumers don't know what they are talking about and are simply providing an answer based on either what they feel or what they think is the "right" answer regardless of their experience. Take it with a grain of salt in specific cases, but generally its fairly accurate to the overall perceptions in the market.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By Ryanman on 12/26/2008 12:26:21 PM , Rating: 5
Just because apple WAS uncool doesn't mean it's not at the height of chic now. Trust me - I've seen firsthand some of the apple worshiping that's been going on, especially among my "teen/young adult" demographic.
His point was that many businesspeople were interested in getting the iphone for reasons other than its practicality as a business platform.
And just because it's a survey doesn't mean there's excessive bias toward one end of the spectrum. The fact is, Apple's brand is built around mindless acceptance and glorification because they sacrifice stability and adoption for a pretty GUI and ridiculous gimmicks.
However, in this case, I've heard nothing good about the storm. There's no doubt in my mind that RIM did a terrible job, and that the iPhone is the better platform at this time. In fact, despite the ridiculous limitations that Apple put on it with regards to MMS, copy/paste, and software available (compared to the G1 or even windows mobile, in terms of getting apps easily) I still think the iPhone, for its target market, is going to be hard to beat.

Cause Cuberunner is fun as hell.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By Complex Pants on 12/26/2008 12:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
The device that will beat the iPhone will most likely be some android phone. I had a chance to play with the Storm in a verizon store and I hated it. It was very slow and sluggish. While, overall I like the design and feel of the phone, it was just unbearable to use.

I think Android will be the OS to beat in the coming years. The big challenge now is for android to find the right device. I think the G1 is close, but not quite there. Kogan's Agora looks promising to me, but I think I would still prefer the single large screen like the iPhone.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By lco45 on 12/26/2008 1:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
You may be right that Android will need dethroning in the coming years, but right now Apple's OS is the one to beat.

I've never bought into the whole "pick a team" approach people seem to have when thinking about tech products, and I've tried to judge each product on its merits, and the iPhone/Touch OS really is ahead of the pack on speed, appearance and ease of use.

Any "anything but Apple OMG" fanbois out there please feel free to mod me down...


RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By JAB on 12/26/2008 1:44:17 PM , Rating: 3
The most fanatical people around are the Apple haters.

One constant seems to hold true. The people that are the most critical of Apples never use them. Really what is wrong with likening what you use just because it is not MS?

Every OS and product has flaws it is what you can do that really matters.

I really need to stop reading any post about Apple MS or any of the flame bait. This is too much like a religion for my tastes- and despite the claims the windows fanatics seems the worst.

Not I dont own anything by Apple. I have a PC and feel no need to change.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By finalfan on 12/26/2008 4:57:05 PM , Rating: 5
People hate Apple because Apple tries to render an image that anyone not using Apple is stupid and the ones using are superior. This inevitably translates into a hate towards the Apple users who consistently try to demonstrate their superiority.

One way to fix this is tell Apple stop spreading the lies and attacks.

No technology should be a religion. And no vendor should be supported to create one.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By michael2k on 12/27/2008 5:04:58 PM , Rating: 2
You can believe that if you wish. I think their ads say, "You aren't stupid for buying Apple." Yes, the devices are simpler, less featureful, and more expensive; its about the only way to guarantee superior ease of use FOR people who are overwhelmed by the complexity of PCs, WinMo, or MP3 players before the iPod.

I mean, all the Apple haters seem to blast people who buy Apple as being shallow or sheeple.

That doesn't help your anti-Apple cause. Attack the people is stupid. Give us better products instead!

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By Strunf on 12/28/2008 9:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
There's nothing to believe... Apple keeps making ads about how everyone that doesn't have a Mac sucks, it's always the same thing you have a Apple product you are "in" you don't you are "out".

By michael2k on 12/29/2008 4:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
Um, right. Which ad did you have in mind that insults PC owners?

Every ad *I* have seen actually commiserates with people who own PCs; it doesn't insult them. It may seem insulting to you because you think PCs don't suck, but for the target market most PCs actually do suck (most OEM PCs have a lot of junk installed on them, and you have to pay extra on some to clean them out).

You obviously don't remember Apple in 2002 or 2003. They were NOT hip or in.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By Alexstarfire on 12/26/2008 6:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
I can't help it if their products don't have the features I'm looking for. As such, they aren't even considered. Some things that happen I just don't understand, this goes towards all companies. That when a new tech product comes out it sometimes lacks rather basic features or features that are extremely easy to implement. Like copy and paste on the iPhone. I had that feature on my 5+ year old phone.

BTW, I thought the PS3 lovers were the most fanatical. Ohh well, doesn't matter to me.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By michael2k on 12/28/2008 12:13:18 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the idea is that copy and paste isn't a basic feature, it's just a common one that all previous smartphones had. However, Apple decided to implement a different basic feature that most other smartphones had implemented poorly, a web browser, instead.

The end result? After six months on the market it had reached nearly 50x the penetration of it's next nearest competitor, a WinMo phone. And over a year later it still manages to top all the charts.

So the real question: Why is it that a new phone like the iPhone has such a basic feature as full web browsing (sans Flash and Java) where your 5+ year old phone didn't, or did it poorly?

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By Strunf on 12/28/2008 9:07:36 PM , Rating: 2
"iPhone has such a basic feature as full web browsing (sans Flash and Java)"

Let me laugh a bit... it doesn't support Flash nor Java and you say "full web browsing" ? This is why their ads got hammered in the UK, if you don't support those two you sure don't support a lot of the web. I would rather see a site badly than not seeing it at all.

RE: Apple buyers happy/proud of themselves
By michael2k on 12/29/2008 4:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but the competition have horrible web browsers with Flash and Java. The market has evidently chosen broken Flash and Java over broken Javascript and HTML. Most people, it seems, would rather see more sites completely than a few sites badly.

By Strunf on 12/30/2008 1:56:51 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about... a website that can be displayed on a iPhone can also be displayed on any other smartphone, the opposite is not true.
You can downplay Java and Flash as much as you want but the fact still remains the iPhone doesn't support them whereas others do. If MS had done such thing everyone would scream abuse but since it's Apple it slides like if it was nothing.

By HrilL on 12/27/2008 3:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
heh I would install Android on my iPhone if they had a working version. In the future I could see one coming out. But until then Apples OS will stay.

That is the thing Android can pretty much run on any device. I'd love to have it on my phone.

well if you buy Apple
By mforce on 12/26/2008 12:16:54 PM , Rating: 4
The iPhone is probably a pretty good product overall but let's face it , people that buy Apple are mostly going to be satisfied with the Apple products and are going to overlook some minor flaws ( maybe even major ones ).
It's been proven that Apple fans are loyal to the brand and the products.

RE: well if you buy Apple
By lco45 on 12/26/2008 1:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
There's definitely an element of that, but having tried a variety of products, the iPhone/Touch OS really does have something special.


RE: well if you buy Apple
By Sandok on 12/26/2008 2:45:48 PM , Rating: 3
Thank god I am not an Apple fan because I totally regret buying the iPod Nano (1G)... Crappy battery build quality among the fact that it's missing basic functions is an outcry.

Same with my iPhone, I hate the fact I can't attach multiple pics to an email, that I can't copy or paste and that I have to browse the web to see my MMS.

However, I do love the 3rd party support (iPod accessories and iPhone apps) and that's the only reason why I'd buy these products again.

But what you say is quite true, especially here at my university where everyone has the new macbook or macbook air... I've even asked friends why they spent so much more for their laptops and 90% of the time, it's just down to the fact that it's "pretty" or "cool". Makes my geek heart bleed :( LOL

RE: well if you buy Apple
By blazeoptimus on 12/26/2008 3:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
But what you say is quite true, especially here at my university where everyone has the new macbook or macbook air... I've even asked friends why they spent so much more for their laptops and 90% of the time, it's just down to the fact that it's "pretty" or "cool". Makes my geek heart bleed :( LOL

While your post is generally negative toward Apple's products, I can't help but notice that it more or less agrees with Luke's post above. You've admitted that you've already bought 2 devices in the iPod/iPhone range, and that you'd be willing to buy this style of device again for the "3rd party support". I can only conclude that your agreeing that Apple, while not perfect, has hit some sort of sweet spot with there devices that makes it worth purchasing. In which case, it makes this statement

Makes my geek heart bleed :( LOL

ironic - lol

RE: well if you buy Apple
By Sandok on 12/27/2008 7:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
lol I am a person of contradictions :)

But yes, you're totally on the money, I do say two compeltely opposite things!

Can't say I'm unsatisfied
By Nihility on 12/26/2008 12:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
Bought a first generation iphone several months ago and while it's not the perfect phone I can't say that I'm completely unsatisfied with it.
Despite the long list of shortcomings (bluetooth support, limited support for media files, no copy paste, no flash browser, average camera, non-standard headphone jack, removable battery, memory cards, only works with itunes, no To-Do, can't synchronize notes and so on), I still like it a lot.

This was my first apple product and I got exactly what I was expecting, getting stuck with itunes and no divx support but also a pretty solid experience using the phone.
My previous phone was windows mobile based so of course I'd be impressed ;)

So I'm not surprised by the survey results. Besides, if apple ever does see a decline in customer satisfaction they could just release an update to allow Copy/Paste and they'd easily get a few more points.

RE: Can't say I'm unsatisfied
By tjr508 on 12/26/2008 3:15:39 PM , Rating: 3
What is wrong with the popular Windows phones? Is it ICS, removable batteries, Exchange syncing, MMS, copy/paste, ability to use many media players, better 3rd party apps, real keyboards, expandable memory, or is it that they are just too customizable?

RE: Can't say I'm unsatisfied
By Nihility on 12/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: Can't say I'm unsatisfied
By michael2k on 12/27/2008 4:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Um, resistive touchscreens require styluses, IE mobile sucks, lack of wifi (until recently) sucks, lack of UI polish sucks?

I mean, if WinMo had addressed all that first, the iPhone wouldn't have been capable of making a dent (much less surpass them).

It will take more than firmware...
By Goty on 12/26/2008 11:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
It will take more than firmware to fix the Storm's problems, the least of which is that flimsy little piece of metal on the inside that provides that annoying little "pop" every time you want to select something on the screen, not to mention the fact that you basically can't select anything in the corners.

By AlexWade on 12/26/2008 8:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
I know someone who was glowing because he got a Storm. However, when he was showing it off to me, the screen would never adjust when he held it up-and-down or side-to-side. Less than a week later, he had to exchange it because it was a hardware problem. Blackberry has had problems lately. AT&T delayed the Bold several months until most of the bugs where worked out.

I'm getting the Bold in January. I did think about the iPhone, but the iPhone lacks many key features. I also don't remember if Apple fixed the 3G bug. My current AT&T service is great (provided I don't use customer service) and I don't want to mess it up getting a business phone.

the storm = the lose
By pinlop on 12/27/2008 8:20:15 AM , Rating: 2
The storm is the worst phone I've come in contact with in years. Of all the phones that i have had to support at my job the storm is a floundering embarassment. the touch pad is aweful, the concept of a "clickable" touchpad was interesting in terms of tactile feedback, but their implamentation is sloppy. it ends up keeping the user from being able to type with any kind of acceptable speed, if you like apple get an iphone, if you like RIM get a Bold, this phone is a waste of everyones time. 3 people at my company got a storm when it released and they all returned it within 2 weeks.

RE: the storm = the lose
By superflex on 12/29/2008 11:04:32 AM , Rating: 2
I was hoping the Storm would be the phone which would equal the iphone. After playing with my co-workers, I realized this thing is a quirky piece of crap. The touchscreen is bad and the UI is nowhere close to Apple.
Too bad because I refuse to pay AT&T $70/month for substandard 3g service and poor voice quality (at least in my area. If the AT&T contract wasn't so bad and there was a user replaceble battery, I'd be all over the iphone.

Palm is dead
By androticus on 12/26/2008 7:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
Palm is dead. You can't sit on your hands for years, and then expect to come back on top by issuing some one single product. The Treo was their last new concept -- every phone since has just been a slight variant on it. Their OS is ancient. They haven't updated the awful Palm Desktop for ages, and on Mac it is still an ancient Power app. The Follyo was... ooops, slip of the keys... I downloaded their "app store" app the other day to my Treo -- know what it was? Just a link that opened up in Blazer (a laughably ill-named app if there ever was one.) I probably incurred download charges for that, even though they never warned me (I don't have a data plan.) I do like my Treo, but yeah, I guess I'm bitter because they haven't kept their desktop app up to date, and they have not innovated in a long time now.

By comc49 on 12/28/2008 7:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
why is there an article about iphone every week but not about samsung omnia or eternity? i think they are more threat to the iphone than storm

By Soldier38 on 12/26/2008 11:54:02 AM , Rating: 1
32 Gb Iphone here I come! Will be even better

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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