Amazon nearly tops Apple in tablet satisfaction

Kindle Fire and iPad battle for supremacy

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
September 13, 2012
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With the launch of the iPhone 5 yesterday, Apple’s next big event is expected to come next month with the release of its iPad Mini. After the release of its updated iPad earlier this year, though, will customers come back for more so quickly?

If customer satisfaction with the product is any indication, it seems like they will.

Apple ranks highest in J.D. Power’s first ever survey on tablet satisfaction in the United States, it was revealed Thursday.

The study ranked overall satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale, measured across five key factors: performance, ease of operating, design, features and price.

The 1,985 tablet owners surveyed for the study ranked performance as most important, with 26%, followed closely by ease of operation, which 22% said was important, design with 19%, features with 17%, and price coming up last with 16%. 

Out of the possible 1,000 points, Apple was ranked at 848, just barely pulling ahead of Amazon with 841. Amazon's high ranking was due to high satisfaction with its low price. Apple and Amazon were the only two to top the industry average, based on this survey, while Samsung, Acer, Barnes and Noble and HP all ranked below average.

The iPad Mini is expected to sell so well that in June, the International Data Corporation increased its tablet sales forecasts for this year, and 2013 as well. Predictions were boosted by strong sales predictions for the back half of 2012 based on the sales of Apple’s new iPad released earlier in the year, and on rumors of the iPad Mini.

At the same time, the Kindle Fire is the most popular phone on Android, which is constantly battling Apple for platform supremacy.

In April, a comScore report found that the Kindle Fire accounted for 54.4% of the Android tablet market, nearly double the 29.4% share it had in December 2011.

Amazon crushed the competition so badly it was barely even a fight. The Kindle Fire’s biggest rival was the Samsung Galaxy Tab Family, which held 15.4% of the market. 

With new Kindle Fires, including the Kindle Fire HD, debuting this week, it could be shaping up to be a great fight between the two companies this coming holiday season.

Other findings in the study

Beyond which tablet people like the best, there was a number of other interesting results from J.D. Power’s report.

The study found that people who owned tablets spend 7.5 hours a week on them, browsing the web, watching videos, listening to music and reading books. That is compared to 9.6 hours spend on a personal computer doing the same things.

While tablets still lag behind PCs, they have already outpaced smartphones. The study found that if a tablet owner also has a smartphone, they will spend 40% more time browsing on the tablet, and 56% more time gaming.

"As tablet computing, multimedia, display, and application offerings continue to evolve, their impact on usage patterns will continue to grow," Dr. Uma S. Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates, said in statement.

"Tablets are a force in the marketplace that offer a great alternative to laptops and netbooks." 

People who use their tablet to watch at least three hours of video a week ranked their ranked satisfation at 857, compared to 812 for those who watch less than that. Also, the people who watch more video are more likely to go out and buy another tablet. Overall, 37% of those in the study said that they are likely to buy a new tablet within the next year.

In addition, 25% say they use their tablet for business, and 61% say they share their device with at least one other person.

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