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Satisfaction survey shows why Apple’s iPad will remain on top

Apple’s iPad (s aapl) is still the tablet market leader in terms of sales, despite gains by Android (s goog) devices like the Amazon(s AMZN) Kindle Fire, and a recent survey of tablet user satisfaction suggests it’s well-poised to stay in the lead. The iPad’s customer satisfaction is through the roof, according to a ChangeWave report, while Amazon’s Kindle barely exceeds the satisfaction level of the rest of the tablet pack.

Seventy-four percent of survey respondents said they were “Very Satisfied” with the iPad in an earlier November survey, while only 54 percent said they were “Very Satisfied” with the Kindle Fire in the January survey. The average of Very Satisfied customers for all other tablet devices combined was 49 percent. Why the 20-point gap between the iPad and Fire? It came down to what many users seemed to feel were missing features, according to ChangeWave.

The major dislikes that survey respondents listed for the Kindle Fire included the lack of a hardware volume button, the absence of a camera, short battery life, a lack of cellular connectivity and the size of the Fire’s app library. Cost and screen were favorite features among Kindle Fire owners.

Apple’s focus on user experience seems clearly to be better at winning the admiration of users post-purchase, while Amazon’s focus on offering a low-cost device seems to ultimately leave customers feeling like there’s something missing. That strategy appears to have worked well in the short term. One analyst said earlier this week that Amazon may have shipped as many as 6 million Fires during the last quarter of 2011. But long-term, Apple may have been right when it suggested in December that strong Kindle tablet sales might eventually help boost iPad demand.

Consider that the features tablet users indicated a desire for in expressing their dissatisfaction with the Kindle Fire are all features the iPad currently offers; there’s a clear path of where to get what they want out of a tablet already in place. And if Apple does decide to keep the iPad 2 around as a lower-cost offering when it unveils the iPad 3, the Fire’s No. 1 selling feature won’t seem nearly as much of a marked advantage.

On the flip side, Amazon could also address those deficiencies in future iterations of the Kindle Fire, should it find cost-effective ways of doing so. But Apple will continue to push the experiential envelope at the same time, and so far whatever it provides seems to set the standard in terms of tablet buyer expectations. Pleased customers are loyal customers — as ChangeWave says, it’s found that satisfaction is highly linked to future sales, so Apple’s big lead here is definitely a key measure of success.

11 Responses to “Satisfaction survey shows why Apple’s iPad will remain on top”

  1. I love, love, love my iPad. Bought it in May of 2010 and am anxiously awaiting the iPad3 to enter the market. I use it for everything, even though I have two macs and a windows based computer.

  2. I own the iPad 2 and have tried serveral others Android or Windows tablets. Apple is still det number one in tablets, but i think that with tablets like Transformer Prime it’s gonna be competition.

    • JustDl Betty

      The same here, I thought that maybe they did something different than IOS and Ipad, but they don’t do as much and I don’t jailbreak my devices. We got 2 Kindle fires as gifts and traded them in for another Ipad2 plus a few add ons for our Mac

  3. I have been an iPad user since the first version came out. We now have five IPads in our household. In my business, we have two iPads for generating sales proposals. Obviously, we keep buying them because we are one of the “very satisfied” iPad owners. Other than the occasional Flash-based YouTube videos that are embedded in news web sites, I haven’t experienced any “missing features.”

    • Bryan Lee

      I recently got a Kindle Fire, and I too haven’t experienced any “missing features”. Just because someone thinks certain features are missing doesn’t mean they’re willing to pay more than twice the price for them.

      So the premise is questionable, like saying that Lexus will sell better than more inexpensive cars because the others are missing a sunroof, heated steering wheel, and powered rear-door sunshades.

      Similarly you don’t get certain things with an iPad that you do with a more powerful machine, like multitasking and the ability to plug in a USB drive to transfer files. And a keyboard. If you wanted those you’d presumably get a different device

      • Our World

        I wish you Android fanboys would get it right. You can plug a special USB drive into an iPad to transfer files. Don’t any of you pay attention to new hardware news? I have also had two bluetooth keyboards for my iPad for well over a year.

      • Bryan Lee

        Ah, sorry, I forget that Apple is calling what the iPad does “multitasking” – I was thinking of true multitasking, like you have on a PC or a Mac. And unless many websites are mistaken, you can’t plug a generic USB drive into an iPad unless you buy something (from Apple?) called the Camera Connection Kit.

        There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that there are limitations with the iPad just as with any device. Yes I’m aware you can buy (for more $$) a keyboard for the iPad – my point was just that with the iPad you don’t get certain things that you would with a more powerful device, like a PC laptop or Macbook, just as with the Kindle fire you don’t get some things that you do for the more-expensive iPad.

      • JustDl Betty

        You can multitask, Ipad is also not just a way to use Amazon content as the Kindle Fire is, if that’s all you want than that is for you. Ipad is used in the Armed forces, Business World, Education and so many other fields because of the ability it has to do so much more. You don’t NEED a USB to transfer anything to other devices or your computer and you can us a USB cord, For charging or uploading data but you can do all of that over Wifi, Someone Posted above this has been true since 2010>You can plug a special USB drive into an iPad to transfer files. Don’t any of you pay attention to new hardware news? I have also had two bluetooth keyboards for my iPad for well over a year AND so much more why don’t you look at the page