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ChangeWave: iOS still in demand despite no new iPhone

Just because Apple hasn't released a new iPhone in more than a year doesn't mean demand for the handset is waning. The latest survey from market research firm ChangeWave Research shows that Apple's mobile platform is maintaining a high level of demand as well as attaining solid satisfaction numbers. And, in good news for Cupertino, the announcement of the company's iCloud online service may actually bring in more users.

ChangeWave surveyed 4,163 consumers in June, asking those who planned on buying a smartphone in the next 90 days which platform they would prefer. iOS clocked in at first with 46 percent, followed by Android at 32 percent--both were up, from figures of 44 percent and 31 percent respectively, since ChangeWave's last survey in March. RIM, meanwhile, has dropped back down to a meager 4 percent of intended purchases, matching its all-time low. Keep in mind, however, that the survey numbers mainly refer to the domestic smartphone market, as only 11 percent of respondents were from outside the U.S.

Unsurprisingly, customer satisfaction numbers mirror the intended purchase figures: iOS leads the pack with 70 percent of customers reporting they're very satisfied, followed by 50 percent of Android customers. While Windows OS just barely edged out RIM in satisfaction, 27 percent to 26 percent, ChangeWave notes that the Microsoft figure contains both numbers for Windows Phone 7 as well as the older Windows Mobile OS. The newer platform is apparently hitting the sweet spot with users, with a 57 percent very satisfied rating, compared to just 14 percent for Windows Mobile, but this has yet to drive significant new demand for Microsoft's mobile platform.

With Apple's announcement of its new iCloud service in June, ChangeWave also asked consumers whether or not the online offering would make them more likely to buy Apple products in the future. While 29 percent of current Apple product owners answered to the affirmative, 13 percent of those who don't count themselves among the company's customers also said that they'd be more likely to invest in Apple's devices going forward. Since iCloud's basic features are free, Apple clearly hopes that the service will spur purchases of its hardware devices, much in the same way as its iTunes ecosystem. If ChangeWave's numbers are any indication, it looks as though that strategy might very well pay off, both in terms of keeping existing customers coming back as well luring in new customers.

While Apple continues to fly high, RIM has taken a nosedive. ChangeWave points out that the Canada-based company's satisfaction ratings have dropped in seven out of ChangeWave's last ten quarterly surveys, falling to an all-time low in the most recent. With the underwhelming release of the PlayBook tablet and leadership issues, RIM would seem to have a steep uphill climb in front of it before it can challenge the likes of Apple and Android.


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