Apple 2.0

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ChangeWave survey finds 'explosive momentum' for Apple and Samsung

January 9, 2012: 7:07 AM ET

Interest in the Galaxy Nexus is high, but the iPhone still leads in customer satisfaction

Click to enlarge.

The next few months should be very good for Apple (AAPL) and Samsung -- and not so good for HTC and Research in Motion (RIMM) -- according to the results of a survey of 4,000 North American early adopters posted Monday by ChangeWave Research.

More than half of the respondents who plan to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days are leaning toward an iPhone, down from 65% last quarter but far more than any of Apple's competitors.

As the report put it: "Apple has never dominated smart phone planned buying to this extent more than two months after a major new release."

Samsung, meanwhile, registered what ChangeWave called a "huge 8-point surge," nearly tripling its showing since the last survey. According to the report:

"The just released Galaxy Nexus – the first U.S. 4G phone running Android's new 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) – appears to be a major driving force behind the leap in Samsung planned buying. Samsung's 4.0 OS update to some of its most popular models during the 1st Quarter is also heightening consumer interest."

HTC and RIM both lost ground in the most recent survey. Interest in buying HTC phones fell from 6% to 3% and RIM hit a new low at 2%. Since it peaked in September 2008, interest in RIM's BlackBerry line has fallen in 9 of the past 12 ChangeWave surveys.

According to ChangeWave, the key reason for the iPhone's "extraordinary demand" is its "industry leading" customer satisfaction rating -- especially compared with Nokia, (NOK), RIM and Google (GOOG) Android phones. In the current survey, three out of four iPhone owners say they are "very satisfied" with their smartphone. None of the others come close. See chart below.

ChangeWave, a division of 451 Research, tends to skew heavily toward high-end buyers, but its surveys have proved useful in the past as early indicators of future mass market trends. To purchase the full report, click here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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