A new research survey released Thursday revealed that owners of the new iPhone 4S love their new handset more than Apple's previous model, and most of the high praise is due to Siri, the phone's virtual personal assistant.
ChangeWave Research conducted a survey of 215 iPhone 4S owners between Nov. 2 and Nov. 9, and 96 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied with the iPhone 4S. Only two percent said they were unsatisfied.
Siri was the biggest reason people loved the iPhone 4S, as 49 percent of owners called the new voice-activated feature the best on the handset. The by-product of the biggest AI project in U.S. history, Siri can write and send texts and e-mails, dictate notes, set alarms and reminders, call friends, play songs, surf the Web, and answer difficult and context-sensitive questions. Apple is likely to expand Siri's partnerships with built-in APIs, as the late application version of Siri once worked with OpenTable, MovieTickets.com, StubHub, Rotten Tomatoes, Bing, Google Maps and Yelp.
Besides Siri, 39 percent of respondents praised the ease of use on the new iPhone as its best feature, and 33 percent dug the updated camera system, which features an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot video in full 1080p HD.
Apple's new iCloud service was only liked by about 19 percent of respondents, which may have to do with the cloud service's limited functionality and complaints of slow uploading to Apple's iCloud-based music service iTunes Match. For $25 a year, iTunes Match puts a user's entire library in the cloud for streaming or downloading at any time.
Even if ChangeWave's 96 percent approval rating is slightly skewed by its number of participants, other reports have given favorable reviews to Apple's newest iPhone. Consumer Reports recommended the iPhone 4S, saying the phone did not display the same reception flaw as the iPhone 4 had. This is likely due to the new dual-antenna system in the iPhone 4S, which is used to maximize call reception and clarity.
The survey also asked participants about their biggest gripes with the iPhone 4S. The major complaint among users was the battery life, as 38 percent of respondents said the short battery life was their biggest qualm.
Two in five owners said they had experienced reduced battery life with their iPhone 4S (40 percent), the survey said. But when asked how much of a problem this issue was for them, only 8 percent of all owners said it was a 'very big problem' while 20 percent said it was 'somewhat of a problem.'
Owners reported fewer dropped calls than their iPhone 4 counterparts, which is likely due to the fact that the iPhone 4S is now available to multiple service providers, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and regional carrier C Spire Wireless.
If Apple can clear up the battery life issues in its upcoming iOS 5.1 update, Apple's iPhone 4S may score an even higher approval rating than 96 percent.