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Thursday, October 08, 2009, 06:15 pm PT (09:15 pm ET)

iPhone tops satisfaction survey for consumers, business users

Apple's iPhone leads the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey for both consumers and business users, dominating the smartphone segment it arrived on only two years ago.

Leveraging its strengths in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design, Apple's iPhone scored 811 points out of a possible 1000 with personal-use consumers. LG scored a 776 and RIM's BlackBerry came in a close third at 759. The only area Apple failed to secure with a perfect score was battery function, which earned an average score of two stars out of five.

Perhaps most encouraging for the company was the iPhone's increasing appeal to customers who primarily use their smartphones for business. Apple topped that list too, scoring 803, while the BlackBerry platform finished second at 724.

It's an improvement of 25 points over last November when Apple also topped J.D. Power's satisfaction rankings in the business smartphone segment. The iPhone didn't place in the firm's 2007 report.

The news comes on the heels of Apple's stepped-up efforts to compete in the enterprise market during the last several quarters. This spring, a study called the iPhone a better choice for business than BlackBerry. A few months later, Apple highlighted 18 new corporate-friendly features in iPhone OS 3.0 in the face of a business market dominated by devices running Windows Mobile or BlackBerry operating systems. And more than one year ago, Apple's SDK roadmap announcement set the stage for a beefed-up enterprise strategy.

LG, thanks to its industry-leading scores for battery function, ranked highest in overall satisfaction in traditional handsets, with a score of 723.

J.D. Power's report suggested Apple could attract even more users to the iPhone, based on its feature set. The survey found 22 percent consumer smartphone owners want Wi-Fi capability in their next device, 21 percent desire touchscreen capabilities, and 17 percent would prefer GPS. All three are already key features of Apple's iPhone as more applications have recently arrived offering to get more out of the device's built-in GPS capability (1, 2).

In addition, Apple's iPhone App Store was seen as a benefit for the handset. More than half of business smartphone owners reported downloading third-party games for entertainment, while nearly half said they download travel software like maps and weather applications.