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AT&T Exclusivity Tops iPhone 4 User Dislikes

In keeping with Apple's assessment of 'antennagate,' most iPhone 4 users are satisfied with the device, though less so than the iPhone 3GS.

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The requirement to use AT&T as a service provider and the coverage, speed, and quality of AT&T's network top the list of complaints from iPhone 4 users.

A survey of 213 iPhone 4 owners conducted by ChangeWave last month shows that survey respondents more or less agree with Apple CEO Steve Jobs's assertion that the iPhone 4's antenna problems have been blown out of proportion.

That's not to say iPhone 4 users don't care that holding the device in a particular way can interfere with call signal strength: Antenna issues tie AT&T network quality problems as the second most cited complaint in the survey.

Reception concerns certainly help explain why the iPhone 4 hasn't fared as well as the iPhone 3GS in terms of user satisfaction. Seventy-two percent of iPhone 4 users reported being very satisfied with the device, compared to 82% of iPhone 3GS users surveyed in 2009.

But the issue isn't a deal-breaker. Two-thirds of respondents said they had not experienced any problem related to the antenna and 14% said it wasn't much of a problem. Another 14% said it was somewhat of a problem and 7% indicated it was a big problem.

Apple's efforts to address the issue -- free iPhone bumpers and a press conference in which Apple claimed that other mobile phones face similar reception challenges -- appear to have been sufficient for the majority of iPhone users. Only 18% of respondents reported being somewhat or very unsatisfied with Apple's response to the problem.

Respondents also noted quite a few things they liked about the device, particularly its improved screen resolution (41%) and its 5 megapixel camera (31%). The iPhone 4 appears to drop fewer calls than its predecessor (5.2% vs. 6.3%, even as the frequency of dropped calls on AT&T's network has been rising) and past dissatisfaction about battery life (41% in 2009 with the iPhone 3GS) has dropped to 15%.

"Despite the waves of controversy that surrounded the iPhone 4 within days of its launch, the latest Apple release is outperforming almost every other smart phone in the industry in terms of overall customer satisfaction and meeting owners' expectations," said Paul Carton, VP of research at ChangeWave, in the survey.

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